Stress – it’s an inevitable part of our lives. From career demands to personal issues, there is at least one reason to stress over every day. As a result, we become tense, anxious and even sleep-deprived. According to the London Sleep Centre Dubai, stress causes over-activity of the cortisol hormone (named “the stress hormone”) and increases adrenaline and anxiety. This suppresses our regular sleep initiation process and results in depression and dysfunction in our immune system. If you have difficulty falling asleep or waking up, it is most likely related to stress. Thankfully, Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim at the Dubai centre has provided 5 tips on how to tackle stress to finally get a good night’s sleep.
1. Do not take work home: According to Dr. Ebrahim, we’ve been tuned to become workaholics and often carry work assignments home and even tend to official calls after office hours. If you find yourself thinking about work while trying to fall asleep, you could be disrupted and wake up in the middle of the night as you transition between sleep stages. To clear your head before going to bed, read a book or practice meditation. Playing soothing spa-like tunes can also help.
2. Establish a regular sleep-wake up schedule: And no matter the work urgency, do not budge away from it. Dr. Ebrahim explains a person can only work as much as his physical and mental well-being allows. Over-scheduling a day with more than you can handle will cause stress and rob you of time you need to sleep. He advices not to push yourself late to bed in the name of deadlines nor wake up too early in the name of productivity.
3. Turn off before you tuck in: It’s important to stay clear of technology close to bedtime in order to sleep stress-free as its use has been scientifically related to stress, depression and insomnia. So keep your laptop and TV off and do not make calls either. In addition to promoting stress, light exposure from electronic gadgets promotes wakefulness and prevents our brains from releasing melatonin – the hormone which controls our sleep and wake cycles.
4. As painful as it sounds, lower your caffeine intake: Most of us reach out for a cup of coffee or tea when stress hits us at work. We see the habit as a way of helping us get through the day, but Dr. Ebrahim says large amounts of caffeine actually intensify stress levels and seriously affect the amount and quality of sleep you get. Replace coffee or tea with a non-caffeinated drink or soothing herbal tea.
5. If nothing works, visit a sleep specialist: There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help to maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep stress and sleep deprivation at bay, according to Dr. Ebrahim. The London Sleep Centre Dubai provides diagnostic and treatment services which tackle sleep disorders.