Hey, it’s Devin Burke, the founder of Sleep Science Academy, and your coach and guide to your best night’s rest. Today we are going to be talking about the top daily habits to reduce stress and How To Improve Sleep, so let’s get into it.
Number one is daily mindfulness practice. Now, there is a lot of science and research that shows that a daily mindfulness practice can help improve your sleep and reduce stress. Mindfulness is a buzzword right now, and thank God, because we need more mindfulness. There’s a lot of different ways of practicing mindfulness, but essentially, mindfulness is just bringing more present awareness to whatever it is you’re doing. You can be mindful doing anything. Washing the dishes, or taking a walk and noticing the trees. Just essentially, it’s bringing your mind back to the present.
Now, I highly recommend that you have a daily mindfulness practice. This could look like, in the morning, taking time to do a mindfulness meditation, or in the evening before you go to sleep. Any time is valuable time, but training your mind to be in the present versus in the future or be worrying about or analyzing the past really can do wonders for your cortisol, which can do wonders for your sleep. I highly suggest that if you’re not already practicing mindfulness, that you start today, because it’ll make a massive difference in your life when you consistently practice it. That’s the key word there, is consistently.
The number two or the second thing you can do is create a stressless environment. We live in a hyperstimulated world, hyperstimulated. Our environments are hyperstimulating. Here’s the thing. You can’t control all the environments that you’re in, but you can control some of those environments, specifically your home environment. You want to make your home like a sanctuary. If your home is messy, if it’s chaotic, if it’s highly stimulating, hyperstimulating, consider creating at least a space in your home where you can go that is a sanctuary, a place where you can rest that is nonstimulating.
This is really not hard. It doesn’t take a lot of space. It could be just a little corner in your room, although I highly recommend, if you can, making your entire house a stressless environment. Even the colors you put on the walls, the things that you choose, the intentional choices of the types of furniture and where you put things, can either create this feeling of stress or they can create a feeling of rest and relaxation.
An example of this is if you open a drawer … and I know I have them in my house … that is unorganized, and you look at it and all of a sudden it just creates this tension, because it’s a mess. Versus you open up a drawer … and I have these also in my house … that are organized and they’re clean. It’s just less stress when I look at that drawer that’s organized and clean, versus the one that’s chaotic and you can’t find anything. I have both in my house, but the more you can stay organized, the more you can create this relaxed, stressless environment.
Even just choose the environments that you go to that have less stress. For instance, you can choose, if you’re going to dinner, to go to a place that is less stimulating than another place. You can create some intention around the environments you put yourself in. Obviously you don’t want to get super rigid about this, but with a little intention in your own home and in the places that you decide to go, it can do a massive, massive shift in your level of stress just from this one thing.
Again, more nature, less tech, organized, clean. Positive, supportive relationships in those environments would also help with the stress load. More nature. We are so connected to technology, and it’s really, really, really easy to get sucked into all the social media, to the bad news, the things that are going on in the world. We have to be so intentional to step out of that. When we’re in nature, that’s a great way of doing it.
The relationships, you’ve heard this before from … I’m not sure who said it, I think it was Jim Rohn … but who are the five people we surround ourself with the most. If you’re surrounding yourself with people that stress you out, that are stressed, and you are looking to reduce the amount of stress in your life so that you can get better sleep, well, you might want to think about how much time you spend with those people.
Be intentional about the people you surround yourself with and the people that you spend the most time with, because they are going to rub off on you. You can’t control people, but you can control your relationship with people, how you relate to people and who you choose to surround yourself with, so just be mindful of that.
Number three, laugh more. There’s so many amazing things that happen when we laugh more, when we bring more intention, more joy into our lives to laugh. “How can you bring more joy and lightness into your life,” is a question I like to ask our clients at Sleep Science Academy. It’s a question I like to ask myself, because sometimes … I’ve got to be honest … I take myself and my work way too serious, and that creates stress, and I really try to practice what I teach.
This is a great question to ask yourself. This is a question I ask myself and will continue to ask myself, because I would like to bring more joy and more lightness into my life because that leads to more laughter, which leads to more neurochemicals that get released that bust stress chemicals. Yeah, this is a great question. You might want to write this one down and start asking yourself how you can do that.
Here’s number four, a mental check-in. Now, mental check-ins are really important to check in with our thoughts, because our thoughts create our feelings. When we’re feeling stressed, the next time you’re feeling stressed … maybe you’re watching this and you’re stressed right now … check in with what you’re thinking about. Let’s just say about. Check in with what you’re thinking about, because again, our thoughts create what we feel, and oftentimes we’re not aware of the thoughts that are creating the feelings of stress.
That is a mental check-in. You can choose at any moment to have a calm, peaceful, and a stress-free mind and body. It’s a choice. Now, sometimes it’s a challenging choice and sometimes it’s easier than other times, but we have a choice. We have a choice of what we make things mean, and so we need to exercise that choice.
Healthy food, clean water, less sugar and caffeine and junk food, all these things make a huge difference when we’re talking about physical stress in the body. You want to make sure as much as you can to put clean water in your body, clean food in your body, less sugar, less caffeine, less processed food. All these things really do create stress in our bodies, and the more we make healthier choices, the less stress we’re going to experience physically.
Practice positive self-care. Self-care is healthcare. Right now we have sick care. It’s not really healthcare, but we can choose to practice self-care, which is really healthcare. Taking the time to de-stress, getting a massage, taking a walk, going on vacation, playing sports, doing things just to do them, for fun, not with really any utility behind it. Playing music, art, something. Make time for yourself. Whatever you’re into, make time to practice it. It’ll lead to less stress, which will lead to better sleep.
Treat your body like a temple. That’s just a really easy thing to remember because our bodies are our temples, and we only get one of them. Take care of your body, and if you’re not taking care of your body, you can choose to start to take care of it today. The amazing thing about our body is it’s resilient, and when you practice healthy habits, the body will respond. Start today. If you been abusing your body or if you’re in a downward spiral and you have a lot of stress in your life, just draw a line in the sand. Say, “Hey, today’s the day I’m going to make some changes.” Start treating your body like a temple and you will feel less stressed.
This last one is so simple, but often so overlooked. It’s breathing, taking deep, belly, diaphragmatic breaths. Now, there’s a lot of different techniques. We teach a lot of them at Sleep Science Academy in our program, but this one’s super simple, the 4-6-8 breath or the 4-7-8 breath. Sometimes that works for people, but essentially you’re inhaling for a count of four, you’re holding for a count of six or seven, depending on your lung capacity, and then you’re exhaling, a long exhale for a count of eight.
Do this a couple times and you will notice a shift in your stress and in your energy, and this is something that you can do in the car. This is something you can do as you’re getting into your bed, or as you start your day. We’re always breathing. If you’re not breathing, you’re not living. Oftentimes we’re breathing from our chest and not our belly, so learning to breathe from our belly. Practicing a simple technique like the 4-6 or 4-7-8 breath technique can be transformational for your stress.
Okay, let me know in the comments below which of these techniques you’re going to try this week. If you’d like help managing your stress so that you can sleep better, go ahead and click the link below. Schedule a consultation with someone on my team. We’d love to support you, and I look forward to seeing you in the next video. If you’re not a subscriber yet, please subscribe, and I will see you in the next video. Take care.