3 Secret Ways to Reduce Sleep Disorders during the GFC

We all know that stress and anxiety are factors in getting a good night’s sleep; so it’s no surprise that the recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC) could be affecting sleep disorders.  As if the GFC wasn’t problem enough!

We are worried about our debt levels, the security of our jobs, whether we could survive if our partner (or ourselves) lost our job, what if interest rates go up again, what if our superannuation savings take yet another hit, we’re asking when (and if) we can afford to retire, and worried that our children might not be provided for properly.

And of course, all this seems to present itself just when we are going to sleep, or worse, it wakes us in the middle of the night – when everything seems ten times worse.

We all know that physical pain is an indication that something isn’t right.  Somehow though, when it comes to mental pain, we aren’t so motivated to find out what’s causing the problem, talk to our friends about it, or “go and have it looked at.” Statistics vary on how many people suffer from a diagnosed anxiety disorder – but we ALL suffer from stress, some more than others.  On a daily basis everyone deals with some pretty big stressors, and we need effective tools to deal with them.

So what are some scientifically proven ways to reduce stress and anxiety?

1.  Daily Exercise

Yes, you’ve probably heard the before, but are you DOING it?

There is no point knowing how to solve a problem if you aren’t prepared to take the action to get the great result.  And ‘exercise’ doesn’t have to mean pumping out at the gym for 2 hours a day, a good walk for 45 minutes, 4 times a week will do wonders for your stress levels, and your good sleep.  At the end of a day we are often mentally exhausted, but our bodies haven’t really done a thing – walked to the train, sat at a desk at work, eaten food – that’s not really enough to tire our bodies and gain physical/mental equilibrium.

2.  Take a Nap or Meditate

Now before you think that I’ve “hippied-out” on you, have a look at the latest research.

It used to be that we were advised not to take a nap if we had sleep disorders, but the latest research would disagree.  In the “Take a Nap, Change Your Life” book written by Dr Sara Mednick the evidence shows that a nap during the day can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by 14%, increased the ability to stay asleep during the night by 12% as well as a raft of other benefits like increased learning and memory function, creative problem solving, stamina and alertness.  Siesta cultures have a lower rate of coronary heart disease (CHD), in fact, if people napped three times a week, their CHD reduced by a whopping 37%.  So forget the coffee, go have a little nap – and the benefits can start with as little as six minutes!

3.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Basically it’s a way to train your brain to start thinking differently – by first observing exactly what it thinks.  E.g. When you first start feeling stressed and anxious, do you find yourself thinking very negatively about the last time this happened to you, worrying that you will get a panic attack, thinking about the worst instances when you felt this way – or do you catch your mind doing this and decide to concentrate on something else instead?  It is this mental discipline that can change our lives significantly, and even permanently.  It can be learned, you can read books about it, there are online clinics, or you can visit a professional who can help you with cognitive behavioral therapy.

The greatest benefits from reduced stress and having a great night’s sleep, of course, are that the decisions that we make during stressful times are going to be better decisions, because they are not going to be emotionally charged decisions.

There are many other ways to combat stress and reduce sleep disorders, but why don’t you try these three simple steps today to change your mind into health, happiness and being more relaxed about the world economy and other issues in your life.  There are many opportunities (even financial) that are hidden from us when we’re tired, stressed and negative.

And for sure, some bad decisions are being made while we are tired and stressed.