Well we all survived Monday.  We dealt with the stress of tax day and the news of the bombing in Boston.  Now we have to deal with the lingering stress.  The problem with this is that it will keep your mind rushing and rob you of sleep.  That in turn will cause you to be more tired and more stressed and so the vicious circle goes. 

I never bring up and issue without a plan to deal with the problem.  In this case everyone is an individual and so you should pick and choose which items might help you. 

  • ·         The news is not your friend.  Keep in mind that the new is there to sell ads.  Watching it before bedtime will just increase your stress level.  If you wish to watch the news watch it 3-4 hours before bedtime.  This will give you enough time to process what you saw and will not be the last thing you think about before you go to sleep. 
  • ·         If you are a student (age does not matter) cramming for a test will not get your better grades.  It has been shown that sleep deprivation limits your ability to access your memories.  You have to create a study plan.  If you do not know it the night before the test you will not be able to learn and retain all the information by morning.
  • ·         Plan your day the night before.  Get rid of some of the stress and take the time to plan for the next day.  But leave some time for life to happen.  Plan things like your food, exercise time, family time and those things that are important to get done.  Remember it is okay to leave some things on your to do list if life happens.  The idea is to take some of the stress out of your day not to create more.
  • ·         If you know there is something stressful coming up like tax day plan your exercise time.  The time you take to exercise will help your to clear your mind and will give you an outlet for the excess stress.  Choose something you enjoy.  It can be a walk or a yoga class or even a jog.  It should not be something new or over strenuous or something that is going to leave your so sore you cannot move.   This is not the time to take your first Crossfit class. 
  • ·         Create that restful environment in your room.  This is a place that should be a refuge from stress.  It is not where you can hide the clutter when company comes.  Get rid of all the stuff and keep it simple.  Invest in comfortable sheets and new pillows.  Make sure you have curtains that keep light and noise out.  Do not put the cell phone next to your bed so you are not tempted to use it during the night when you do not fall asleep right away.
  • ·         Use some guided imagery to settle our mind.  There are some great mp3s and CDs out there that will take you through guided imagery exercises or progressive relaxation routines.  This will help you to calm your mind so you will be able to fall asleep easier. 
  • ·         Talk to a friend.  We are not islands and we will do better if we can talk it out.  This is especially true of women.  When you share your worries they do not feel overwhelmed by them.  If you are finding you are concerned or worried about a stressful situation there is a good chance that there is someone in your life is also feeling that way and not sleeping well also.

Stress is part of everyday life.  There are periods of time that we will experience increased levels that can interfere with your sleep.  With a little planning and trying one or two new ideas can help you to sleep better tonight.


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