Stress-Proof Your Sleep!

Stress-Proof Your Sleep!

Experts at UC Davis say, because of all the extra stress in the past year, more people than ever are fighting a serious loss of sleep.

Angela Drake is a clinical professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. She says, it’s a problem across all age groups – and the increase is enormous. Basically, the added stress tells your brain there’s a threat in your environment, which keeps your brain on high-alert, which isn’t conducive to sleep. So, here are some tips to help you get the rest you need:

First: Don’t lie awake in bed or it could become a habit. Instead, if you’ve been in bed awake for 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing, like reading or journaling, until you start to feel drowsy.

Another sleep-booster: Exercise during the day. It triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to lower heart rate and blood pressure and increase feelings of calm.

Finally: Dr. Drake recommends what’s called “box breathing” to calm the mind. Just breathe in through your nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath for 4 counts. Exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 counts. Then, wait for 4 counts, and breathe in again. And visualize a box, tracing one side of the square for each four-second interval. And repeat box breathing until you feel calm, relaxed, and ready for sleep.