If you’re suffering from anxiety and insomnia? Tiered of Sleepless nights? Don’t worry, there’s some good news: simple stress-relieving exercises will help you sleep easier and feel more relaxed.
According to a new national survey, 44% of adults said stress had caused them to lose sleep at least once in the previous month. The next day, all that tossing, turning, and looking at the ceiling will leave you exhausted and stressed.
Anxiety and Insomnia: What You Need to Know If You Are Suffering From Sleepless Nights
What’s the correlation between more stress and less sleep? “If you repeatedly stimulate the stress response, your body never returns to its baseline,” says Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M., a sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins.
According to Buenaver, “stress and sleepless nights are closely linked.” “If you’re in pain, worry a lot, or are dealing with a stressful situation in your life, your body could be producing more stress hormones than normal. A bad night’s sleep adds to the issue. And it’s possible that those hormones will never be fully broken down. It’s like driving in fifth gear all of the time.”
Activate the Relaxation Response in Your Body
“To relieve tension, we suggest scheduled relaxing activities. “Watching a ballgame or a movie on TV isn’t the same as taking the time to completely relax,” says Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M., a sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins. Consider the following strategy:
- For two weeks, practice gentle breathing and gradual muscle relaxation every day for 20 to 25 minutes. Before and after, score the emotional and physical stress on a scale of 0 to 10 (totally relaxed to fully tense).
- Select the workout that works best for your anxiety and insomnia after two weeks and do it every day. Buenaver says that with practice, the body and mind can learn to relax more easily and profoundly, resulting in fewer sleepless nights.
Techniques for Stress Reduction Come to the Rescue
“Activities that trigger the body’s natural calming response are fantastic,” says Buenaver. “And they’ve been shown in studies to help people sleep better. They work by lowering stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, as well as slowing the heart rate and breathing. Relax the body and mind.”
Yoga, tai chi, and meditation are all effective stress relievers. These two simple exercises, which Buenaver recommends to patients who are having trouble sleeping, are also effective.
- Sit or lie down in a relaxed spot in a peaceful place and practice gentle breathing. Closing your eyes can be beneficial.
- For about five minutes, slowly inhale and exhale. Breathe down into your abdomen as you inhale. Concentrate on your breathing.
- “Breathing in, I am calm, breathing out, I am coping,” you should say to yourself.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- Sit or lie down in a relaxed position in a quiet environment.
- Take a few deep breaths in and out slowly.
- Begin tensing muscle groups one at a time while breathing. Inhale and hold the stress, then exhale and let it go. Take a few deep breaths while noticing (and appreciating) how relaxed each muscle group is.
- Begin with your head, neck, and face muscles. Work your way down to your elbows, hands, and ribs, as well as your back, chest, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.
- Repeat for any remaining tense places.
“Feel the intensity and absence of tension when you go through this exercise so you can detect residual tension and address it,” Buenaver says.