In today’s bustling modern life, stress has become an unwelcome companion, disrupting our ability to achieve solace in sleep. According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, it is estimated that more than half of Australians (59%) experience at least one personal stressor. The constant demands of work, personal obligations, and social commitments often create a storm of worries that can stretch deep into the night, making it difficult to unwind and slip into restful slumber. As we deal with the challenges of balancing work, family, and personal responsibilities, finding effective strategies to counteract stress and ensure refreshing sleep becomes essential. Let’s explore practical measures and techniques aimed at overcoming the hurdles of sleeping amidst stress.

Stress and Sleep: What’s The Link?

It is important to understand the interconnected relationship between stress and sleep. They have an interdependent correlation and can influence each other in significant ways:

  • Stress Affecting Sleep: When you are stressed, your body produces a hormone known as cortisol, that elevates sensitivity and alertness. Increased cortisol levels impede sleep leading to insomnia or poor sleep quality. In addition, stress can cause fast thinking, worry, and physical tension all of which intrude on the ability to relax and de-stress before bedtime.
  • Sleep Affecting Stress: On the flip side, insufficient or poor sleep quality can worsen stress levels. When you don’t get proper sleep, your body’s stress response may trigger, leading to intensified emotional reactions, irritability, and trouble adapting to daily demands. Lack of sleep can also limit cognitive capabilities and decision-making abilities, making it difficult to handle stress effectively.

Overall, chronic stress and sleep disturbances can create a destructive cycle with each aggravating the other. It’s important to address both stress and sleep issues to improve overall wellness and the ability to withstand stressors.

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Best Tips for Relieving Night-Time Stress

To aid stress relief at night, establishing a calming bedtime routine that includes meditation or deep breathing exercises is an essential step. Making use of relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and visualization may also help to calm your mind. Writing about the situations that bother you while journaling can also help you organise your thoughts before you go to sleep. Avoiding heavy meals and caffeinated drinks is a must if you wish to sleep for a healthy amount of time. It also helps avoid screens and electronic devices before bedtime to promote better sleep. Take some time to relax with some light reading or listening to relaxing music. You may also try out aromatherapy which can help you feel more relaxed and at ease. Lavender and chamomile scents are famously known for their therapeutic tendencies. Hence, to improve overall well-being and stress management, self-care should be integrated into daily routines for consistent stress management.

What To Do During The Day To Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Improve Sleep?

Managing stress by opting for stress leave or take break from work and getting some fresh air can be helpful during the day. Here are some other steps that you can take to relieve stress in the daytime:

1. Eat Healthy

 Our bodies react negatively to unhealthy foods when we eat them. Regular consumption of junk food causes inflammation in our systems and makes stress management more difficult. On the other hand, the reverse occurs when we give our bodies and minds the resources they need to flourish by eating a nutritious diet, thereby reducing stress.

2. Daily Exercise

Exercise is one beneficial method to improve anxiety and sleep quality. Our bodies create feel-good chemicals when we do this, which improves our ability to handle stress and sleep. It’s important to exercise at the right time though, as it might function as a stimulant right before bed. Instead, make every effort to exercise as early in the day as you can. Exercises like walking, yoga, and swimming may help you to let loose.

3. Be Compassionate Towards Yourself

We are harsher on ourselves than we would be on a friend, coworker, or relative. It is common to occasionally feel overburdened by the problems in our lives but that doesn’t give us the liberty to be harsh on ourselves. Thus, it is important to be kind and encouraging towards ourselves as well.

4. Time Management

Dividing your work and allocating proper time to hobbies can help you maintain an ideal work-life balance. You can make use of to-do lists to prioritise your work and manage your time accordingly.

5. Set Boundaries

Practice saying “no” to unreasonable requests and tasks that might overburden you. Setting boundaries can save you time and energy.

6. Connect With Others

Ask your family and friends for help. Speaking about your emotions can help you see things more clearly and reduce stress.

7. Take Part in Hobbies

Make time for the things you enjoy doing, like reading, gardening, or creative activities. Hobbies can be relaxing and give you a sense of fulfilment.

What To Do Before Bed To Relieve Anxiety and Improve Sleep?

Here are a few tips to improve your quality of sleep at night:

  1. Mindful Relaxation: To reduce anxiety, try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscular relaxation, or guided visualisation. These techniques help to reduce muscle tension and the body’s stress response, which can help you sleep better.
  2. Limit Stimulants: Since they can interfere with sleep, avoid caffeine, nicotine, and large meals right before bed. Consuming caffeine and alcohol before bed can disrupt sleep patterns causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, try replacing caffeine with chamomile tea or hot milk to experience a more peaceful sleep.
  3. Create a Bedtime Ritual:  Following a regular bedtime can help your mind and body identify when it’s time to relax. Reading a book, listening to soft music, or taking a bath before sleeping are examples of activities that you can incorporate into your routine.
  4. Limit Screen Time: Switch off electronics at least an hour before going to bed to minimise blue light exposure, which can interfere with the generation of melatonin and cause sleep patterns to be disturbed.
  5. Herbal Remedies: Camomile and valerian root are recognised for their calming benefits therefore, sipping a caffeine-free herbal tea is a great way to relax before bedtime.
  6. Maintain a to-do list: Writing down tasks in your to-do lists for the following day might help you declutter and stop your mind from racing, which can alleviate stress.
  7. Mindful Eating: If you’re feeling hungry at night, have a little snack, but stay away from heavy or spicy meals as these may make you feel queasy or induce indigestion.

When To Consult a Doctor?

It’s necessary to see a medical professional if stress before bedtime continues to cause physical problems, irregular sleep patterns, or difficulties with day-to-day functioning. Intervention may be necessary if persistent stress increases symptoms of anxiety or depression. Medical assessment should be conducted if self-care strategies are not helping. Prompt action can enhance general health and prevent deterioration of physical and mental health, thereby improving the quality of sleep.

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Can a Telehealth Doctor Help with it?

 It’s possible to seek assistance from a telehealth doctor as they can evaluate your symptoms, talk about possible stressors, and suggest effective stress management techniques. Should the need arise, they might even recommend talking to a counsellor. Telehealth consultations provide easy access to expert advice from the comfort of your home.

So, how to fall asleep when stressed? Although stress may initially appear daunting and disrupt sleep, adopting feasible measures and techniques can significantly reduce its impact and promote peaceful sleep. By prioritising relaxation and implementing healthy sleeping habits, individuals can effectively address the challenges of sleeping amidst stress and reap the benefits of restorative sleep. Remember, discovering what works best for you may require experimentation and perseverance, but the rewards of a refreshing night’s rest are certainly worth the effort.

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This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.