How to Manage Stress and Get Better Sleep in 5 Easy Steps
Improving Your Health and Sleep with Stress Management
Although it may sound strange at first, stress has its benefits in small doses. It’s designed to help us react, survive, and learn from events that cause stress, so it can improve our performance, alertness, and memory.
Despite this, large or extended amounts of stress are more than just unpleasant to experience. Stress can have a very serious impact on both your overall and oral health. It can cause a range of issues, including bruxism and TMJ disorder, not to mention a bad night’s sleep, which can cause its own problems as well. Stress has a lot of potential causes, including health issues like sleep apnea or chronic pain and factors in your life like a full schedule or major changes.
Thankfully, there’s good news! Finding ways to reduce and manage stress can ease symptoms of bruxism and TMJ disorder while helping you start to get better sleep at night! It might take a little experimenting with different stress-relieving tips to find the most effective methods for you, but the results are more than worth it! Here are five simple stress management tips to get you on track to get better sleep.
1. Address health problems.
Health problems can be a major cause of stress, especially if these issues are undiagnosed or aren’t being treated effectively. Getting them diagnosed and treated can make you feel worlds better, which in turn will relieve a lot of stress. If you aren’t sleeping well, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of issues like sleep apnea, TMJ disorder, and bruxism. These issues can all interfere with the amount and quality of sleep you’re getting and can even affect each other.
Sleep apnea is particularly dangerous to your overall health, so if you think you may have it, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist. Similarly, the best thing you can do if you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder or bruxism, such as jaw pain and muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, and back, is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rozensky to have your teeth and jaws examined.
Once you’ve received a diagnosis — in sleep apnea’s case, from a qualified sleep specialist — Dr. Rozensky may even be able to help treat bruxism or mild to moderate sleep apnea using a specialized, custom-made sleep appliance that you wear to sleep. No matter what health problems you’re facing, addressing them can reduce your stress, help you get better sleep, and improve your health — each of which makes it worth going through this process!
2. Get plenty of fresh air.
Over the years, many studies have made it clear that spending time outside, especially in an area with a lot of green space, works wonders for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Amazingly, a study by a team at Cornell University found that after just 10 minutes of being outside in nature, self-reported stress levels decreased and there were measurable physiological benefits, including a lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
Plus, spending time out in the sun is a great way to get natural vitamin D, which is also essential for your overall health. Those are a lot of benefits for such a little amount of time! It’d be ideal if you could manage more time, such as 30 or even 50 minutes, but if you can’t, that’s okay. If all you can manage is a 10-minute walk outside at a park or around your neighborhood, it’s worth doing!
3. Establish a regular exercise routine.
Exercise is incredibly important for your overall health, but did you know it’s just as beneficial for your mental health and stress levels? It’s true! Exercise can help relieve stress in many ways. It releases endorphins, which are often called your brain’s feel-good chemicals, giving your mood a boost and helping reduce feelings of anxiety or depression. You’ve likely experienced a sense of almost giddiness alongside your sense of accomplishment after a good workout — these endorphins are the reason!
Plus, exercising imitates the effects of stress, such as an increased heart rate, without the actual stress. It also gives you something else to focus on, so much so that you might completely forget about whatever is stressing you out while you’re exercising. You can even combine exercise with other stress-relieving methods! You can exercise outside to get a little fresh air, take up yoga to combine exercise with mindfulness techniques, or pop in your earbuds to enjoy your favorite music or podcast while you work out, further helping you relax and escape lingering thoughts of anything that might be stressing you out.
4. Follow your dreams.
Working at a job you don’t like or don’t want to be at, even if you don’t outright hate it, can add a lot of stress and negativity to your daily life.There are plenty of reasons you might be choosing to stay at a job you dislike, from good pay and great insurance benefits to being afraid that you won’t succeed in the career you really want.
You might be surprised, however, by how much following your dreams and working a job you truly enjoy can lower your stress levels in addition to changing your mindset and your daily life. Plus, enjoying your job has a ton of other benefits, including building confidence and keeping your mind stimulated, which are crucial for your long-term overall health. It might take a little effort to get to where you want, but it’s so worth it!
5. Take time to wind down at night.
If you’re still wound up from a busy day when you lay down to go to sleep, chances are that you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep. Thankfully, taking at least 30 minutes to an hour to wind down and relax before you try to sleep – ideally away from phone or TV screens – is a simple method you can use to help you get better sleep.
Spend this time prioritizing yourself and whatever it is that helps you feel truly relaxed. This could mean reading, journaling, painting, taking a bath, listening to your favorite music or podcast, or even spending time talking to a loved one. Even though it’s so simple — and downright enjoyable — this method can be incredibly helpful, easing you into a state of peaceful relaxation by the time you lay down for bed. It’s also simply good for your mental health to spend a little bit of time doing something you love every day, so this is a good way to dedicate time to yourself while helping yourself get better sleep.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Learning how to lower your stress levels is sometimes a process of trial and error, discovering what works well for you and what fits into your schedule. Thankfully, there are a lot of methods out there to help you manage your stress, and the results are often beyond worth it for both your physical and mental health. If you’d like to learn more about stress and how it can affect your TMJ and your sleep from a sleep dentist in The Villages, FL, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rozensky at any time!