Stress blog

Under stress? Hit the sack

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. December 21, 2011

When you're under stress, it's easy to let healthy habits slide. But getting a good night's sleep is especially important when the pressure's on.

Try these tips for getting a better night's sleep:

  • Stick to your routine. You may be tempted to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends and holidays. But too much variation in your sleep cycle can make it difficult to get back on track when it's time to return to your regular routine.
  • Get some exercise. Physical activity is crucial for a good night's sleep. Just don't work-out too close to bedtime.
  • Enjoy moderation. Indulging in a heavy meal and alcohol just before bedtime almost guarantees interrupted sleep. Too many drinks just before bedtime can also mean nighttime trips to the bathroom.
  • Make time to unwind. If you're frazzled and hassled all day, it's not reasonable to think that within a few minutes of hitting the sack you'll fall asleep. Give yourself 30 minutes or so to wind down.
  • Clear the room. When you're stressed out and distracted, it's hard to fall asleep. So turn off the cell phone and the laptop at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Cat nap if you must nap. If you have the overwhelming need to nap, keep it to no more than 20 minutes.

If these measures don't help or you have health problems that affect your ability to get a restful night's sleep, ask your doctor for assistance.

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Dec. 21, 2011