How to Get Better Sleep, Even When You're Stressed

Getting quality sleep is especially important when it comes to stress management. Sleep keeps you healthy, mentally sharp, and able to cope with stress more effectively. Poor sleep can actually make you more susceptible to stress, weaken your immune system, increase your appetite for high-fat, high-sugar foods, and make you less likely to exercise.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, falling (and staying) asleep can be hard when you're worried or can't stop thinking about everything that "went wrong" during your workday. Here are some tips on how to get better sleep, even when you're stressed.

1. Stick to a routine.

Having consistent sleep and wake times, seven days a week, will help you fall asleep faster and wake up more easily.

2. Give yourself time to wind down.

Take an hour or two before you go to bed to start your sleep routine. Dim the lights, change into pajamas, brush your teeth, and pick up a book.

3. Turn off electronics.

Electronics make it harder for your mind to relax, and the blue light emitted by screens suppresses the production of melatonin in your body, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle.

4. Limit alcohol consumption.

Alcohol results in poor sleep quality and can cause grogginess.

5. Avoid caffeine late in the day.

Coffee stays in your system for four to six hours. Eliminate caffeine (including coffee, soda and chocolate) from your diet at least six hours before your bedtime.

6. Cool down your bedroom.

The suggested bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.

7. Play with light and noise.

Sleep in a pitch-black room or wear an eye mask. Try using background noise by switching a fan or noise machine on while you sleep.

8. Don't eat a heavy meal at night.

Eating late at night can disrupt your ability to fall asleep, especially if you have heavy or fatty food like pizza or cake.

The bottom line is, you're never too busy for sleep. It's essential to both your physical and emotional health. Try implementing some of these strategies into your daily routine, and you'll start to reap the benefits of getting quality sleep.