Too Stressed To Sleep? 11 Relaxation Techniques to Try

stressed too sleep

Struggling to sleep due to stress can seriously affect our mental well-being, and when stress levels rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the rest we need. Whether it's managing the demands of school or work or dealing with personal challenges, there's no shortage of triggers that can disrupt our sleep patterns. But here's the bottom line: sleep is essential for our overall health and functioning. So, if you find yourself experiencing several sleepless nights in a row, it's crucial to address the issue.

Thankfully, simple adjustments to your daily routine can help you calm your mind and promote better sleep. Here are 11 ways to de-stress and improve your sleep quality.

1. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Creating an environment that promotes sleep has proven to affect the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can establish a sleep-friendly environment by taking the following steps:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can establish a sleep-friendly environment by taking the following steps:

  • Make your room as dark as possible. You can use blackout curtains for this.
  • Reduce noise as much as you can.
  • Keep the room’s temperature cool.
  • Avoid reading, watching TV, or working in the room where you sleep.

Combining these steps to form a sleep-friendly environment should help you mentally prepare for a good night's sleep.

2. Engage in Stress Relief Practices

Methods for handling stress have the potential to affect the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as elevated heart rate and tense muscles. Activities like breathing exercises and meditation can lower heart rate and assist in resetting the nervous system when it enters fight-or-flight mode.

A few excellent stress management techniques to try before bed include: 

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Body scan meditation 
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga

3. Exercise Regularly

woman exercising

Consistent physical activity can positively affect mental and physical well-being and improve sleep patterns. Medical experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine suggest regular exercise can help reduce stressful thoughts and promote bodily stability.

Studies conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins further affirm that regular exercise facilitates the transition into the slow-wave stage of sleep, known as the deepest level of sleep. During this phase, the body and mind undergo complete rejuvenation, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to continue the day ahead.

4. Reduce Time Spent on Screens

We all know the blue light from phones and computers can mess with sleep, but that's not the only problem.

Your phone, especially social media, is full of stuff that keeps your brain buzzing, which isn't great when you're trying to wind down for bed. Checking social media, emails, or texts can make you worry more and stress you out just before you attempt to sleep.

5. Reduce Intake of Stimulating Substances

Stimulating substances can significantly affect sleep quality. They increase dopamine levels, affecting both the slow-wave and rapid-eye-movement (REM) stages of sleep.

According to researchers, sleeping and waking up are controlled by chemical changes in the brain, which are disturbed when you introduce stimulating substances. Substances to avoid before bedtime include:

  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate

6. Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Consistency is crucial in enhancing sleep quality. Establishing a regular sleep routine, where you go to bed and wake up simultaneously every day, helps your body develop a routine, signaling when it's time to rest and when it's time to rise.

To implement this effectively, consider your peak productivity times. If you thrive in the early morning, aim for an eight-hour sleep window from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Alternatively, if you're more of a night owl, adjust your bedtime accordingly, ideally from midnight to 8 a.m., provided your sleep schedule permits.

7. Buy a Comfortable Mattress

If you need help falling asleep, consider the importance of comfort, starting with your mattress. A quality mattress can constantly improve your sleep, increase happiness, better health, and enhance productivity.

Blissful Nights improve restless nights. Our mattresses adjust to your body's movements dynamically, providing comfort with every shift. If stress interferes with your sleep, look for a mattress that helps improve it.

8. Write Down Your Worries

Writing in a journal is another excellent way to ease stress. Making it part of your bedtime routine can help relax your mind and make it easier to fall asleep when you want.

A study from 2013 found that people dealing with depression felt better after writing about their feelings for a month. By discussing the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety head-on, you'll find it easier to both fall asleep and stay asleep.

9. Avoid Long Naps

We understand that sometimes the day's events can leave you feeling drained, or a rough night's sleep makes it challenging to stay awake. But taking long naps can throw off your sleep routine and impact your ability to sleep well the next night.

According to the CDC, the ideal nap duration is 15 to 30 minutes. Naps of this length boost alertness, while longer naps can make you sleep deeper, leaving you groggy and less productive when you wake up.

10. Listen to Relaxing Music

woman Listening to Relaxing Music

Music and sleep sounds can calm worried minds on restless nights. A study found instrumental music lowers stress hormones, helping surgery patients relax quicker.

If you struggle to sleep, try playing gentle instrumental music or soothing sounds at bedtime. It helps you sleep peacefully.

11. Take a Warm Shower

Not only can this help you relax and de-stress, but it also lowers your body temperature, helping you fall asleep faster.

How Stress Impacts Sleep

Trying to sleep well while stressed is like making a half-court shot while blindfolded. It's hard.

Here’s why: When stressed, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone increases your blood sugar, which makes your blood pressure go up, causing:

  • Your muscles tense
  • Your heart beats faster
  • Your mind to race

If stress persists for several weeks, it turns into chronic stress. Stressful jobs, money worries, personal losses, or anxiety about global events can cause this.

As your body gets used to having more cortisol, it can keep you from getting good sleep and lead to serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

The Benefits of Relaxation Techniques

You might think about something other than relaxing when busy with daily tasks or dealing with health issues. But, if you skip relaxation techniques, you can take advantage of their many health benefits.

Relaxation techniques can help:

  • Slow down your heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Make breathing easier
  • Help your stomach digest food better
  • Keep your blood sugar stable
  • Reduce stress hormone activity
  • Improve blood flow to your muscles
  • Ease muscle pain and tension
  • Help you focus and feel better
  • Improve your sleep
  • Reduce tiredness
  • Decrease anger and frustration
  • Increase your confidence in handling problems

To get the most benefit, combine relaxation with other good habits like:

  • Thinking positively
  • Laughing
  • Solving problems
  • Managing your time well
  • Exercising
  • Eating healthy
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Spending time outside
  • Talking to supportive friends and family

Adding relaxation to your daily life can significantly improve your health and help you handle stress better.

Practicing Relaxation Techniques Requires Patience

As you familiarize yourself with these methods, you can take advantage of how your body responds to stress, including muscle tension and other physical symptoms. Once you recognize these stress signals, you can apply relaxation techniques promptly to prevent stress from escalating and affecting your well-being.

Additionally, it's important to note that some individuals, particularly those with significant mental health concerns or a history of trauma, may experience emotional din handling when practicing relaxation techniques. If you feel emotionally distressed during relaxation exercises, stop the activity and seek guidance from your healthcare provider or a mental health professional.


Can loneliness make stress worse?

Yes. Loneliness adds to significant levels, affecting sleep quality. The 2023 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report highlights how loneliness increases the risk of health issues like heart disease and diabetes. 

How many hours of sleep should I aim for each night?

Most adults typically require 7-9 hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed.

Why is sleep important for overall well-being?

Sleep is essential for overall well-being. It allows your body and mind to rest and recharge. Quality sleep supports physical health, mental clarity, emotional balance, and optimal functioning in daily activities.

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