Reducing stress through improved sleep: experts have their say

The quest for quality sleep has become more crucial than ever, particularly in its role in managing and reducing stress. Experts, including Dr. Ranj, in collaboration with Furniture Village, emphasise the profound impact that improved sleep can have on stress levels. This article explores expert recommendations and practical tips for enhancing sleep quality, thereby contributing to a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.

1. The science of sleep and stress reduction

Understanding how sleep affects our stress levels is key. Quality sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When we are deprived of restful sleep, these hormones can remain elevated, leading to increased feelings of stress and anxiety. Experts suggest establishing a regular sleep schedule and ensuring you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night as foundational steps in creating a stress-reducing sleep routine.

2. The bedroom environment

Transforming your bedroom into a sleep-friendly environment is critical for good quality rest. This involves more than just a comfortable mattress and pillows; it’s about creating an atmosphere that signals to your body it’s time to wind down. This includes using calming colours in your bedroom decor, maintaining a cool room temperature, and eliminating noise and light disturbances. Dr. Ranj advises that a well-optimised bedroom environment can significantly improve sleep quality and, as a result, reduce stress.

3. Evening routines to encourage restful sleep

Developing a relaxing evening routine can greatly enhance your ability to fall asleep and sleep deeply. This includes winding down activities such as reading, gentle stretching, or listening to calming music. Avoiding stimulating activities like intense exercise, heavy meals, or significant screen time before bed is also crucial. These habits, over time, can signal to your brain that it’s time to transition into a state of rest. Dr. Ranj has created a 24-hour sleep guide, which has an hour-by-hour breakdown of what can help you sleep.

4. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques before bed

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be powerful tools in improving sleep quality. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can help quiet the mind and ease the body into a restful state. These techniques not only help in falling asleep faster but also in achieving a deeper, more restorative sleep.

5. Diet and exercise

Diet and exercise play significant roles in how well we sleep. Regular physical activity, particularly earlier in the day, can promote better sleep. However, experts caution against vigorous workouts close to bedtime. Similarly, a balanced diet that limits caffeine and heavy, rich foods in the evening can also support better sleep patterns. Hydration is important, but try to avoid excessive fluids before bed to minimise nighttime awakenings.

Implementing these expert recommendations can lead to a noticeable improvement in sleep quality, which in turn, can significantly reduce stress levels. The collaboration of Furniture Village with sleep experts like Dr. Ranj offers invaluable insights into creating a holistic approach to stress management through better sleep. By prioritising and enhancing our sleep, we lay the foundation for a healthier, more relaxed lifestyle.

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