Stress and the Importance of Sleep – Part 2

Three Apps that Help Stressed Out People Sleep Like a Baby

Stress has a way of making itself known when we want to go to sleep. Somehow, we can shove our stressful thoughts aside most of the day but the moment we try to clear our minds and go to sleep, BAM- stressful thoughts overwhelm us. There are times when it’s really hard to clear our head and go to sleep. Thankfully, there are ways to help.

Our smartphones are never very far away. They can be useful when it comes to reducing stress and helping us sleep. IPhone and Android have apps that help us better understand our sleep cycle and help us clear our minds and sleep better. Here are three apps worth trying.

Headspace – The Headspace app’s tag line is Be Kind to your Mind. This mantra is perfect when stress tries to rob you of your sleep. This app has a variety of benefits including help to assess why you may not be sleeping, functions for power napping, and being mindful. The app is free for basics and charges a monthly fee for advanced features.

Calm – The Calm app is one of the highest rated apps for relief from anxiety and stress. This app has a wide variety of meditations ranging from beginner to advanced and subscribers can choose how long and what type of meditation they prefer. This app also has an option for nature sounds which can be great as white noise for stress relief. This app is free and does offer some in-app purchases. If you have a credit card with a rewards program, you may have free access to the advanced features.

Dare – The Dare app is unique because its focus is helping you face your anxiety and stressors rather than distract you from them. This unique app helps you move through anxiety using guided imagery you can focus on while the audio portion helps you sit comfortably with your stress. This can help you overcome and move on from stress which can lead to better sleep and less recurring anxiety. This app is free with in-app purchases available.

Another tool I like to use is YouTube. There are a number of free soundtracks designed to help you sleep better. I particularly like the sleep music with specific solfeggio frequencies designed to help you relax, heal, or focus. Just search Solfeggio sleep music and you will find many great options,

Using your smart phone to help manage stress and sleep better makes sense. Having resources available that guide you through relaxing and letting go of worries is an asset at bedtime. Try various apps to see which ones meet your needs. Be willing to switch it up and try new apps when one feels too familiar, the variety will help. Be willing to invest in the small fees to upgrade and unlock the bigger and better features too.

Use Meditation to Overcome Stress and Fall Asleep Faster

Meditation is an ancient practice that uses mindfulness to center thoughts, reduce stress, and help calm the mind. Meditation emphasizes focus and self-awareness to rid the mind of stress. Meditating prior to bedtime can help prepare your mind and body for sleep and get control of stressful thinking.

If you haven’t experienced meditation in the past it can seem intimidating, weird, or even boring. Starting a meditation practice may feel awkward in the beginning, but soon you’ll experience the benefits first-hand and sing the praises of meditation. Learning to meditate is like working a muscle. The more often you use it, the easier it becomes. 

Here are some simple steps to meditate at bedtime and reduce stress and sleep well

Step 1. Commit to the practice- Making the decision to meditate is the first and most important step. Since meditation gets easier over time, committing to using it is important. It may feel strange at first but stick with it.

Step 2. Choose the type of meditation that works for you-There are three general types of meditation- mindfulness, concentration, and guided meditation.

  • Mindfulness meditation is focusing on your breath and body and being keenly aware of how you feel inside your body and how your body is functioning in the moment. The goal during mindful meditation is to replace any wandering thoughts with mindfulness of what your body is experiencing instead.
  • Concentration meditation is focused on a word, thought, or phrase. This meditation may include focusing on an object or repeating a mantra audibly or inside your mind.
  • Guided meditation includes listening to an audio that helps guide you into stress relief and sleep. The instructor may focus on physical aspects of your body or may share a story and guide you through the details.

Step 3. Extend the length of meditation until you experience relief – In the beginning you may not be able to meditate for very long. That’s normal. Thoughts wander and stress has a way of overriding intentions. Don’t judge yourself or worry that you aren’t doing it right. Over time, you can conquer your wandering mind and help it focus on your meditation practice and achieve relief and peace as you fall asleep. You can find two minute meditations on YouTube designed to help relax, release stress, and a number of other things if you would like something short and guided to help you get started.

Meditation is a wonderful tool to use to reduce stress throughout the day. It is especially helpful before bed if stress tries to rob you of your sleep. Find a meditation style that works for you and commit to trying it for a month and you’ll discover an amazing ability to regulate your thoughts and enjoy restful sleep.

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Did you add a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.

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