How to Sleep Better Naturally: Science Says Mental Breaks After Work
7 minute read
So, you’ve had a tough day at work. Your boss was extra demanding, or maybe a certain colleague was rude. Bad days happen. What matters is stopping them.
The more you think about what happened, the more you allow the “bad” to spread. It can even spread into your sleep if you let it. And a bad night’s sleep will mean another bad day.
You need to break the cycle. Letting go of the difficult day or experience you had is the only way to clear your mind.
When your mind is clouded and keeps rerunning the same thoughts, it cannot rest. If your brain is not resting by the time bedtime rolls around, you won’t be sleeping.
Sleeping is necessary for your body to recharge and refresh, so a bad night’s sleep can take a toll on your health, if you’re not careful.
Letting It Go Lets You Sleep
Research has found that relaxing after a hard or bad day at work allows your brain to let the negativity go.
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Sleep is important because it impacts the way you think and perform. If your brain is not fully alert and functioning, your performance at work the next day will not be good. What this means, is that you could end up having another bad day.
Because our world is hectic and demanding, it is important to stay on top of the game. And this means getting optimal rest.
A recent study of 699 individuals were surveyed regarding having a negative experience at work. They were asked to report how often they thought about the event, whether they are able to relax after work, and if they experience any insomnia symptoms.
Symptoms of insomnia included repetitive thoughts, fidgeting, inability to get comfortable, and waking frequently in the middle of the night.
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Those who reported more negative experiences at work also showed more symptoms of insomnia, showing that your day can affect your night. On the contrary, those who took part in relaxing activities at the day’s end, regardless of a bad day, were able to sleep better.
When you can take a mental break, through listening to music, playing video games, taking a walk, doing yoga, or by having a hobby, you are able to detach from the negative experience.
When You Miss Out on Sleep
As an adult you are generally supposed to get between 7 and 10 hours of restful sleep a night. These recommendations are given for a reason; your body needs it.
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Your brain and body work hard all day too, allowing you to perform well at your job. You need to allow time for your body to rest, but constantly thinking about what happened interrupts this process.
When your mind isn’t relaxed, you won’t be either. And the impact can be harmful to your health. Poor sleep can lead to numerous problems, including:
Memory Issues: As you sleep, your brain forms new connections to help you remember what you learned that day. Interrupted sleep can negatively impact both your long- and short-term memories.
Concentration: Your ability to think and concentrate is limited when you have not had enough sleep. This will impair your performance at work the next day, which can cause even more negative experiences.
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To stay focused and productive through the day, you need to get the required amount of sleep.
Mood Changes: Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, making you more irritable and emotional. For prolonged periods of time, sleep deprivation can contribute to the development of mood disorders and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Weak Immune System: When you are not able to recharge, your immune system can weaken.
Without a strong immune defense, which you can try boosting with proper diet and nutritional supplements, you increase your risk of infection and illness, as you will not have the ability to effectively fight of bacteria and viruses.
Hypertension: If you regularly sleep less than five hours a night, you risk developing high blood pressure. Over time hypertension can damage arteries and contribute to serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke.
Inflammation: A lack of sleep interferes with your immune system in a way that promotes an overactive inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation has been linked to several serious illnesses, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.
Weight Gain: When you do not sleep well, the chemicals in your brain become unbalanced. One important chemical is the one regulating your appetite.
No sleep means this hormone is unable to properly let your brain know you are full, and as a result you eat more. Not sleeping enough increases your chance of weight gain and obesity.
Diabetes: Poor sleep habits affect your body’s ability to produce and release insulin, which is the hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar levels. The higher blood sugar levels associated with poor sleep increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Low Sex Drive: Studies have shown that a lack of sleep interferes with sex drive, so if you regularly get less that the required amount of sleep, you may notice your libido starts to falter.
Balance Issues: The less sleep you have, the less time your body has to heal from the day’s work, which means you are more prone to balance and coordination issues. This increases your chance of falls and serious injuries.
Accidents: Little to no sleep does not give your brain the time it needs to recharge, so your functioning for the next day will be impaired. Cognitive and physical impairments can increase your chance of accidents, be it driving to work or operating machinery at work.
The Bottom Line
Sleeping is essential to your overall well-being.
Troubling thoughts can prevent your brain from shutting down for the night to recharge. A lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems, so if not corrected, you could be at risk for serious illness and disease.
Learn to relax, find a way to let go, because that bad day, that rude coworker, and that demanding boss are not worth losing sleep over. They are also not worth losing your health over.