Stress Less, Sleep More

It's midnight, you've had a crazy day and happily crawl under the covers and get a good night's sleep. You close your eyes, and then they come...
Did you forget to press send before you shut down your computer?
Did you lock the door?
Is your alarm set for AM not PM?
Don't forget to take out the trash tomorrow - that tuna can will stink up the whole house.

Welp, it's now 2AM and you have to wake up at 6 - so much for a good night's sleep...

Despite the fact one of the few things we were born doing is sleeping, it's still something many adults haven't quite mastered - in fact, it seems the older we get the worse we are at sleeping. The more stressed we are (and when we need sleep most), the worse we are at sleeping 🙃

However, like all skills, we can train to
sleep better...

Often times, feelings associated with stress keep us up at night. Fortunately for us, Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has an antidote to stress, coined the "relaxation response."

There are many ways to achieve the relaxation response, but we'll start with mindfulness meditation, or bringing your focus to the present moment.

This doesn't mean you have to sit and meditate. It simply means breaking the stream of everyday, stress-inducing thoughts however you're able to.

Did you forget to press send before you shut down your computer?
Did you lock the door?
I'm cozy in bed...
Snuggled up with my dog...
This feels nice...
😴 😴 😴

This isn't something that can be achieved overnight. But, practicing mindfulness throughout the day makes it easier to trigger the same relaxation response at night. The more consistently you practice, the more you'll strengthen the neural connection that helps your body find a state of relaxation.

Like with any habit, it'll take diligence to make it part of your every day life. But once it does, you'll be sleeping like a baby 😴

Relaxation Response Tactics

Body Scan


Observation


Deep Breathing

Start from head to toe and relax every muscle one by one. Notice where you're holding tension

Look around and mentally note what you see around you in as much detail as possible

Take slow, deep breaths. Feel the air moving in and out.

Be part of the movement.