Simple Steps to Reduce Stress and Sleep Better

The Stress and Sleep Connection

When sleep is inadequate, everyday life literally seems more stressful because the brain has less time to process the events from the day before. REM dreaming sleep in particular supports emotional health. And…when the human system is over-stressed, sleep gets interrupted by hormones like cortisol, shifting internal processes from parasympathetic (rest) mode into sympathetic (react) mode.

Five Ideas to Reduce Stress

While a spa day is certainly beneficial for a reset every so often, it isn’t a sustainable strategy for day-to-day maintenance. There are many easy ways to reduce stress, here are a few ideas.

  • Interrupt stress with mindful breathing, a walk or journaling
  • Choose stress-busting foods and cultivate awareness around eating
  • Incorporate mindfulness techniques into the day
  • Spend some time outside in nature (take the next phone call outside)
  • Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity, even just a walk

Seven Steps to Sleep Better

Sleep is the pathway to mind and body restoration every night. Humans have been programmed to sleep for 1/3 of their lives, not by mistake, but intentionally. Sleep puts the constant onslaught of stimuli on hold and allows for every single system in the body to do repair work, including a complete “brain wash” with cerebrospinal fluid. Talk about a spa day (or night)!

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime and rising time
  • Dim lights and eliminate screens one hour before bedtime
  • Engage in relaxing activities before bed such as stretching, a bath, reading a book and meditating
  • Expose the eyes to light first thing in the morning; get outside during the day
  • Get physical activity on most days and finish three hours before bedtime
  • Limit caffeine to one cup, before lunch time
  • Finish dinner two hours before bedtime



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Beverly Hosford

Beverly Hosford

I’m a fitness writer, editor and educator. I love living in the mountains of Montana with my husband, son and two pups.