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Are you struggling to sleep when you are stressed? I have experienced sleepless nights from stress many times. My mind won't stop spinning even if my body is tired. There have been times where my body has so much anxious energy that I can't stay asleep.
The stress may be for an interview, or a conversation you are not looking forward to having. Or, the stress may be long term from a bad work environment or turbulence in your relationships. We all will have stressful days to stressful seasons in our life. But, one thing we can't afford to miss out, regardless of the season, is sleep.
Stress is proven to disrupt our sleep. You can experience insomnia or wake up frequently. Quality of sleep is poorer and that can lead to a cycle of worry. This cycle of worry only leads to more stress. You think about how many hours of sleep you will get, and if you will be rested for the next day.
I will be the first to admit that my thoughts race and I have a hard time controlling them. This can lead to a cycle of stressful sleeping. I worry about whether I will be able to sleep well the coming night. I have counted how many hours of rest I will get then worried if it would be enough for the next day.
So, how do you get a good nights rest when you are stressed? Well I hate to over simplify this, but you need to destress. I know, before you bite my head off for starting with the obvious, I have a list of easy, short ways to destress before bed.
This list includes options that take less than a minute like breathing in lavender essential oils, to acts that take 15 to 20 minutes, only if you want to take that long. Lets start with one of the quickest ways to relax.
Smell Some Lavender Essential Oils to Increase Your Calm
I didn't actually try this specific idea until after experiencing lavender soap. I used to shower daily with lavender soap, when I studied for the bar. I was still working full time and I stressed constantly over time and money.
I had limited time to study and felt like every minute of every day had to be planned in order to get to the most out of each day. It made me completely neurotic, and constantly anxious ridden when things didn't go as planned.
Every day was exhausting. But every night ended with me washing with lavender soap. I had bought it just to see if if it would help calm me, and it worked!
First, I am not going to lie and say that I love the smell of lavender. It is okay, and the soap of lavender was like a punch in the face every time I used it. I wasn't excited to use something that was so potent. But, it relaxed me. Plane and simple it did what I needed it todo. So, I used it every day till the bar was gone.
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How To Add Lavender Oil To Your Nightly Routine
There are two ways to add lavender essential oils to your routine.
1. Rub the lavender oil with a carrier oil (to dilute the essential oil) on to your hands, right before you go to sleep.
2. Diffuse lavender for 20 minutes during your nightly routine. If you have a diffuser that can be set to a timer, set it to go off for another 20 minutes about 2 hours after you are asleep.
Believe it or not this small additions to your routine can make a huge difference in lowering your stress levels and creating better conditions for you to sleep. They also take less than a minute to do each night.
I have used this method to sleep. It is has kept me calm and relaxed through out the night. You may require your diffuser to go off a couple more times through out the night, depending on your stress levels.
Practice A Relaxation Technique
There are a few techniques below that I have used to get some excess energy out of my system before bed. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can help wind your body down.
Yoga is a great way to release stress and relax the body. When I focus on correctly performing the positions my mind doesn't have time to think about work, relationships, or money. The only thing it can worry about it making sure I stay balanced and don't fall on my face.
These are a few poses that I find require focus and challenge me to stay engaged with the task at hand.
1. Downward Facing Dog - where your feet stay touching the ground. Your arms are stretched straight out in front of you and your butt is in the sky. You should keep your legs as straight as you can. You should look like and upside down V.
2. Raised Arm Pose - you take your arms and are reaching back behind you. Your back is bent and maintaining balance is always the issue and the focus.
3. Legs up the wall pose - this pose helps relieve pressure from the lower back. If you sit all day you will definitely enjoy this one. Place your legs on the wall, straight. Lay on your back on the floor.
Darebee.com has a great graphic for a set of short quick poses for better sleep.
Meditation is a great way to clear the mind before bed. It is the process of stepping back from your thoughts, and quieting the mind. It can create inner peace and calmness.
When I have been able to do it for a couple of minutes, I have felt the immediate release of stress. If you haven't tried meditation and are interested in some beginner help, read How To Meditate. It will give you some easy steps to try for your first few meditation sessions, plus a free printable workbook to help you in your journey.
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The How To Meditate Mini Workbook has 3 different meditation exercises, 6 meditation tips, and 4 resources for meditation knowledge and help.
I have also used and enjoy headspace the app. It is a guided mediation app that can help you better understand the process of meditation.
When our body is stressed or anxious we have a physical reaction to it. Usually our breathes become shortened and shallow. Our fight or flight instincts kick in and we lose the ability to think clearly. When we can realize this, and start taking deep slow breathes our bodies relax.
You can feel tension release. It can help you regain clear focus. If you would like to learn breathing exercises for before bed or to learn more about them read 7 Simple Breathing Exercises.
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Discard Your Thoughts Before Bed, Journal
One of the best ways to get rid of your excess thoughts, is to write them out. Journal all the worries, what ifs, and feelings on to a piece of paper.
I am a great believer in journaling. Physically write out your emotions to experience a better release of emotions. If you want to learn about the benefits of journaling read, Why You Should Journal Daily. Make sure that you wrap up each journaling session focusing on the positive, and things that you are grateful for. It will help redirect your mind before bed.
These are quick, easy methods to help you fall asleep after a stressful day. Add them to your nightly routine and watch how much easier it is to fall asleep. Let me know in the comments below what you have in your nightly routine to help you destress before bed.