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How to Reduce Stress Before Sleep: Expert Advice from The Joyful Coach

How to Reduce Stress Before Sleep: Expert Advice from The Joyful Coach
Do you often find yourself stressed and unable to get a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone! Research has shown that high levels of stress can reduce your time spent in REM sleep (the deepest sleep stage), as it triggers your ‘fight or flight’ response. This causes your heart rate to elevate, your breathing to quicken, and prompts a surge in cortisol (your stress hormone). Not the ideal environment for a peaceful night’s sleep! That’s why it’s so important to prioritise your evening routine, making the hours before sleep as stress-free as possible.
The Sleep/Stress Cycle

To mark the beginning of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve teamed up with Sophie Cliff, aka The Joyful Coach, to share some of her top tips for reducing stress to achieve your best night’s sleep.  

1. Write a "done" list

Feeling overwhelmed is often why we’re left stressed at the end of the day, as we focus on the things on our to-do list we didn't manage to complete. But how often do you take the time to give yourself a pat on the back for all the things you have done? That's where a done list comes in! End your working day by writing a list of everything you've achieved and allow yourself to feel good about the progress you've made. This also helps to give a clear end to the working day (particularly useful if you're still working from home!).

2. Do something to relax your body

When we're stressed, we hold a lot of tension in our body which can make us feel uncomfortable. Try ease into your evening with something that will help you to relax. A good stretch, some gentle exercise, or a hot bath (my personal favourite!) can all do the trick.

3. Practice gratitude

Stress goes hand-in-hand with negative mood, and a great way to invite positive emotions is to practice gratitude. Try identifying the best parts of your day and think about everything you're grateful for. You can jot it down in a list if you’d like, but just thinking about it will help bring a little joy into your evening.

4. Swap tech for a good book

If you're feeling overwhelmed, one of the best things you can do is swap your phone for a good book. When we're stressed, we're more vulnerable to experiencing comparison or anxiety when we scroll through social media, so try getting lost in a good book instead. I particularly love to read fiction in the evening as I find it helps me to wind down. 

5. Create a little ritual before you sleep

Stress can interrupt our ability to drift off peacefully but having a little pre-bedtime routine can really help. By doing the same thing every night, you'll start to signal to your brain that it's time to wind down. For me, that looks like brushing my teeth, spritzing my pillow with some lavender spray, and setting my Lumie Bodyclock to sunset mode - I'm usually snoozing away within minutes!

We’d love to know if you’ve found these tips helpful! If you’re looking to invite a little more joy into your life, head over to Sophie’s Instagram. You can also find her From Burnout to Blooming Programme if you’re struggling with feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. Want a little more inspiration for perfecting your evening routine? You can discover Sophie's stress-free evening routine here