The antidote to stress

Is sleep. If sleep were a pill it would be the most prescribed drug in the United States.

For one, it’s impossible to feel stress while you’re asleep. Sure, you might be so stressed that you wake up during the night, but those hours asleep are still stress-free. And they help.

Second, a full night’s sleep eases the thoughts that are creating your stress. A stressed-out person will still be stressed-out in the morning, but sleeping helps, even if its effects go unnoticed. It’s a small step in the right direction.

Some tips:

* If you’re using an alarm to wake up you’re probably not getting a full night’s sleep.

* Keep your phone away from your bed. The distraction may be helpful in the short run but it’s disruptive over time. One exception I’ve been experimenting with is listening to a Pandora comedy station if I’m having trouble falling asleep. It distracts me and has a relaxing effect.

* If you’re so busy you can’t get a full night’s sleep, consider that the opposite may be true: You might be willing to let tasks go undone once you’re more relaxed and thinking clearly.

* If you want more, here are some books I’ve been reading:

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps, and the New Plan to Recharge your Body and Mind

Sleep to Win! Secrets to Unlocking Athletic Excellence in Every Sport

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