In this modern, high-powered era, stress seems to have become a normal part of our day. There are numerous articles, essays, and self-help guides that advise us on how to reduce our stress levels, why being too stressed is bad for us, and what we can do about it.
Indeed, stress attributed to the workplace causes about a million employees in the United States to miss work on a daily basis. Two-thirds of people say work has contributed greatly to their stress level and about a quarter have taken a sick day or “mental health day” to recuperate from work stress. Unfortunately, stress can also impact the way we interact with others, take a toll on our sleep, and manifest itself in physical ways. If you’ve found that you’re not sleeping as well or are suffering neck or back aches, try these tips for feeling better.
How Can I Get a Good Night’s Sleep When Stressed?
As recent studies are showing with greater emphasis, getting enough sleep is imperative for our health and well-being. Indeed, getting more sleep (getting eight hours has the highest reward) has a positive association with having a feeling of greater well-being, though seven to nine hours per night is the general recommendation. Unfortunately, over 40% of adults usually get less than seven hours of sleep per night and around 60 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. Some of this can be due to increased stress.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, you should stop trying to make yourself go to sleep and get up. Do something that’s relaxing — listen to soothing music, read, put an aromatherapy neck wrap or lavender heat wrap on — and once you’re tired again, go back to bed. Stressing about falling asleep actually might make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
You should also check out how your mattress and pillows are holding up. If they’re old, you might want to consider swapping them out for newer versions. The National Sleep Foundation commissioned a survey that showed that nine out of 10 people said that having a comfortable mattress and comfortable pillows were very important for getting a good night’s sleep. In the same poll, 85% of people said that having sheets and bedding that felt comfortable were also important to getting to sleep and having a good night’s rest.
Try washing your sheets and bedding more often — over three-quarters of respondents said that they were more excited to go to bed with fresh-scented sheets and that they got a better night’s sleep with fresh bedding.
Try avoiding screens before bed as well — the blue light can affect the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that sends us to sleep! Plus, checking your work e-mail right before bed isn’t going to help those stress levels.
How Can Something Like an Aromatherapy Neck Wrap Help?
Essential oils, which are used in aromatherapy, and for items like an aromatherapy neck wrap, have been used for therapeutic purposes for almost 6,000 years. They’ve been in cosmetics, perfumes, drugs, and medicines for years, for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic uses.
An aromatherapy neck wrap, neck heat pad, or shoulder heat wrap can also relieve tension and pain in stiff or sore muscles and relieve stress and anxiety, which often exacerbate muscle soreness or stiffness. Whether you opt for a lavender scented heat wrap or add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, the heat and scent may help you further relax and even lull you into sleep! Even better, these are very portable, so you can enjoy their benefits even while traveling, a time that may further increase stress.
Remember to take “you-time” as a way of combating stress and anxiety. Try to find time during the day where you can do something that you enjoy that relaxes you. Prioritize your sleep and make your bed a safe haven from the worries of the day!