Over half of Britons claim that their sleep is affected by worry and stress, according to The Great British Bedtime Report. With so many of us suffering, it’s really important that we understand the science of stress, how to recognise the symptoms, and how to soothe the suffering.
In a Nutshell: The Science of Stress
When we are stressed, the brain sends signals to our adrenal glands, inducing the release of the three major stress hormones: adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. In the short term, these ‘fight or flight’ hormones can help us cope with stressful situations and actually research suggests that a little bit of stress every now and then can actually be good for you. However, too much can send our bodies out of kilter and become a living nightmare.
These heightened feelings of anxiety and alertness can be particularly problematic when you’re trying to get to sleep. So if you’re feeling wound up, make an effort to de-stress in the evening and calm your body and mind.
10 Ways to Unwind After A Stressful Day At Work
1. Eat Well
Stress can go one of two ways: over-indulging in comfort foods or not eating enough. Both cases are detrimental to our health. To beat stress, try a stress reduction diet or try to incorporate these top 10 foods for stress relief into your diet.
2. Listen to Music
Music has an extraordinary effect on our mind and body, with the power to influence and change our mood. Classical music, in particular, is thought to have a relaxing effect on the body: slowing our pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure and inhibiting the release of stress hormones. So on your journey home from work turn on your favourite ‘feel good’ song and let the relaxation commence.
3. Change Your Clothes
When you’re home, it’s time to kick off those work shoes, loosen the uncomfortable shirt and tie and get changed into something more comfortable! By changing your clothes, you are mentally and physically switching gears and laying the foundations for a chilled-out evening.
4. Turn Off Electronics
According to The Huffington Post, those of us who constantly check our electronic devices after work hours are more likely to experience stress. So try switching off your phone and other electronic devices after work. If the thought of going cold turkey is too scary for you, start the process slowly by having a technology-free hour. Once you’ve experienced the bliss of an evening free from phone’s ringing and messages pinging, you’ll wonder why on earth you’ve never tried it before. Trust us, we’re converts.
5. Spend Time With Friends
Taking time away from your busy schedule to see friends is a great way to manage your stress. Friends can listen to you vent, make you laugh so much you cry and take your mind off the things which are worrying or upsetting you.
6. Take a walk
Even if you’re not feeling particularly sprightly, a 10 minute walk in the evening after work can help to clear your head and boost the release of feel-good endorphins. If you live near some green areas, such as fields or a park, that’s perfect. These natural locations help to ease the body into a state of relaxation and calm.
7. Do Some Deep Breathing
Practice deep breathing in short sessions 2-3 times a day. Slowly inhale through your nose, hold for 5-10 seconds, and then slowly breathe out expanding your diaphragm as you do so (your stomach should expand). Deep breathing increases oxygen levels in your blood, making your brain and muscles feel refreshed and relaxed. Deep breathing is a common technique used to relieve some of the common symptoms of stress, including high blood pressure, anxiety and headaches.
8. Have a Bath
There’s nothing quite like a warm soothing bubble bath. For the ultimate de-stress experience, use bubble bath and soaps with these essential oils in them. These scents in particular are well-known for their relaxing influence:
- Ylang Ylang
9. Read a Book
According to research, reading can help reduce stress levels. In fact, reading for just 6 minutes a day can drastically alleviate stress by up to 68 percent. So pick up a book or magazine and get into the routine of reading in the evening – or even better, just before you go to bed.
10. Sleep Well
When it comes to our mental health and well being, sleep is so important. Scientists have found that during our REM sleep cycle, the levels of stress hormone norepinephrine are reduced, helping us to wake up feeling less stressed and better able to cope with the day ahead. So to deal with feelings of stress, a good night’s sleep is top of the list.
Follow the tips above to relax yourself, soothe your mind and prepare yourself for bed. Ensure that your mattress is supporting and comforting your properly, without piling pressure on your hips or causing aches and pains in the morning. If you think it’s time for a new mattress, check out our range of UK-made memory foam mattresses. You’ll be amazed at the difference a quality mattress can make to your night’s sleep. Click here to browse.
If you think you might be suffering from Sleep Deprivation, click here to see the 10 most common symptoms. If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of a memory foam mattress, click here. Or if you’d prefer a chat and some personalised advice, click here to see our contact details. We’d love to hear from you!