Relaxation and Sleep
When many people are faced by a stressful
situation at work, they respond with complete
commitment, by working intensely hard at
resolving it. To do this, they may work
all hours, cancel vacations and cut back
on sleep, all to make more time to tackle
If this is short-lived, then negative effects
will be minimal and success will often be
spectacular. However, if this level of hard
work is sustained for a long time without
relief, people increasingly risk ill-health
We rest and sleep because we need to.
Rest and Relaxation
Rest is what we do to let stress subside.
Rest at the end of a day, and at the end
of a week, helps us to calm down.
Doing fun things that we enjoy in our leisure
time compensates us for the stress we experience
at work, bringing some balance back into
life. This is particularly important if
we routinely experience unpleasant levels
A good way of getting rest and reducing
long-term stress is to take up an enjoyable,
non-rushed sport or hobby. If you spend
all your working day competing, then can
be very pleasant to be completely non-competitive
for some of your free time. Slow physical
activities such as sailing or walking are
good for this, as are others where there
is little or no pressure for performance.
Reading novels, watching television or socializing
can also be very restful.
Vacations are particularly important, and
you really do need to take these. Where
possible, take two weeks off rather than
just one week: A common observation that
people make is that they really do not start
to relax properly until the end of their
first week of vacation.
Make sure that you take your vacations
and that you use them to relax. Also, make
sure that you get enough good quality rest
during the week, so that you can keep on
enjoying life to its fullest.
On average, people need around eight hours
sleep a night (although this can vary between
three hours and eleven hours, depending
on the person and his or her age).
If we are regularly short of sleep, then
our concentration and our effectiveness
suffer and our energy levels decline. We
have all seen and experienced this.
This diminishes our effectiveness in our
job, and can therefore increase stress:
As our concentration wanders, we start to
make mistakes. As our energy declines, we
become less proactive in what we do, reducing
our control over events. This means that
a situation that is already difficult and
stressful can become worse, needing even
more sacrifice to bring it back under control.
Make sure you get enough sleep. If you
have become used to being tired all the
time, you will be amazed by how sharp and
energetic you will feel once you start sleeping
When we are stressed and anxious,
we can often find it difficult to
get to sleep as thoughts keep on whizzing
through our heads, stopping us from
relaxing enough to fall asleep.
If you find this is the
- Make sure that
you stop doing mentally demanding
work several hours before coming
to bed – give your brain time
to calm down before you try to sleep.
- Try reading a calming,
undemanding book for a few minutes,
again to relax your body, tire your
eyes and help you forget about the
things that are worrying you.
- Write persistent thoughts
and worries down in a notebook and
then put them out of your mind.
Review the notebook in the morning
and take action if appropriate.
- Keep the same bedtime.
Let your body and mind get used
to a predictable routine.
- Cut back on caffeine
and alcohol. Some people find that
they sleep badly if they drink coffee
or cola after 4pm. Others find that
if they drink alcohol to excess,
they wake up in the middle of the
night and cannot get back to sleep.
If you are still having
trouble getting to sleep, meditation
scripts like Meditainment's Secret
Relaxation and Falling
Asleep can help enormously.
article helps you manage stress from
the chemicals you consume...
- To download
this site in PDF format for use at your
convenience, click here.
- Read the next article in this series,
and learn how the chemicals
you consume affect the stress you experience
- Find out how regular
exercise helps you manage stress
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