WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 29, 2014
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How to Overcome Stress Related Insomnia

If you're moving up the corporate ladder and earning a nice salary, you may feel that stress is a fair trade off. Typically, the more responsibilities you have at work (and the higher your income), the more headaches you deal with. But even if you accept this way of life, too much stress isn't healthy. Not only can stress raise your blood pressure and trigger depression, it can impact the quality of your sleep.

Whether you're an employee or self-employed, you might lie awake at night thinking about work. Since the average adult requires between seven and nine hours of shuteye, lack of sleep can affect productivity and even heighten your anxiety. However, the following tricks can help you relax and get the rest you deserve.

#1 Journaling Before bed

Keeping a stress journal can help you unwind and calm your nerves. Rather than stare at the ceiling, pull out your journal and put your thoughts on paper. Write down everything that's on your mind -- issues with your boss or coworkers, challenging assignments, the next day's worries, etc.

Writing your thoughts on paper may seem insignificant, but this technique has therapeutic benefits. Journaling can get these worries out of your head -- it's a healthy way of venting. And once these worries are off your mind, it's easier to calm down, clear your head, and fall asleep.

#2 Kick the Caffeine Habit

You might drink coffee and soda throughout the day to stay alert and awake, but these beverages can trigger insomnia and stress. Caffeine is a stimulant, and if consumed within six hours of bedtime, it can lengthen the time it takes to fall asleep. Also, caffeine can make you feel tense and increase your stress level. 

#3 Regular Exercise Before or After Work

You might have little time for exercise. However, exercise is a great stress reliever, and an excellent way to cope with insomnia and stress sans medication.

Squeeze in 20 or 30 minutes of exercise before work, if possible. Morning activity releases endorphins that can help you cope with stressful situations throughout the day; and if you exercise after work, these same endorphins can help you unwind after a busy day. The less stress you feel, the easier it is to fall asleep at night.

#4 Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Before bed, take a warm bath to clear your mind and unwind. Add a few drops of lavender oil to your bathwater. Lavender not only has a sedative quality to induce relaxation and cure insomnia, this herb has been proven to treat headaches, anxiety and emotional stress.

Also, a cup of chamomile tea before bed can relieve stress related insomnia. This tea is a natural relaxant that helps calms nerves and induces sleep.

#5 Don't Work Before bed

If you bring work home, commit to only working for one hour. Don't work up until bedtime. With this routine, there isn't an opportunity to unwind; therefore, no way to escape the stresses of the day. Avoid opening work emails right before bed. You don't want work to be the last thought on your mind before going to sleep. 

What techniques do you use to let go of the day's stresses and fall asleep faster? Have your say in the comment section below.

 

Image Credit: [Flickr]

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