How Can You Sleep When You’re Stressed?

30 minutes

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Stress can be a major contributing factor to poor sleep. When we’re stressed, we can find it difficult to switch off and relax enough to get to sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to heightened emotions – stress being one of them. So how can we break this cycle and improve our sleep when we’re stressed?

In this episode, Dr Pixie McKenna talks to Professor Marc Jones from Manchester Metropolitan University who is an expert in understanding the causes, controls and consequences of stress and emotion, and Graham Allcott, an expert on how to be more productive and reduce stress.


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What’s discussed in this sleep and stress episode?

  • Dealing with stress
  • ‘Always on’ culture
  • Stress and productivity
  • Planning your day well
  • Recognising what causes you stress
  • Dealing with stress
  • Setting a good sleep routine

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Dr Pixie McKenna [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the Sleep Matters podcast from Dreams. Everything you need to know about how to get a great night’s sleep and why it matters so much. I’m Dr Pixie McKenna. And in this episode, we’re chatting about the impact that stress has on our sleep. And then, in turn, the stress that results from the lack of sleep, as well as sharing tips on how to combat stress at work. I’m joined by Professor Mark Jones, welcome Mark. Mark is a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, and he’s an expert in understanding the causes, the control and the consequences of stress and emotion. So definitely much needed here today. And we have Graham Alcott. Graham, welcome, Graham is the author of a number of books on productivity such as how to be a productivity ninja. Something I’m very interested in. And he gives masterclasses and presentations on how to be more productive and how to reduce stress. So before we get started with stress and sleep, how’d you sleep last night?

Professor Mark Jones [00:01:04] Not bad actually. I can’t say anything else though that’s the thing. It wasn’t a bad night’s sleep at all, a bit of an early start.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:01:11] How many hours?

Professor Mark Jones [00:01:11] I think seven hours which is not what’s needed. I know that but not bad.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:01:19] How about you?

Graham Allcott [00:01:20] Last night was very good probably eight hours the night before I was in a hotel. And it was terrible. So that’s my one weakness; being away from home, being out of my normal bed. That’s when I struggle with my sleep.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:01:33] You like your own bed? I could sleep anywhere actually I could sleep on the floor. I’m a good sleeper. But yeah it does make a big difference, doesn’t it? So we’re all reasonably sparky today then. So I suppose a good opener for discussion really is stress. How would you, as it’s your field of expertise, how would you define stress?

Professor Mark Jones [00:01:57] Well it’s a good question. I think the field of expertise sadly starts to go well that’s pretty complicated to define stress, but I think broadly we’re talking about situations where I guess the demands of the situations that we face will tend to exceed some of the resources that we have to cope with those particular demands. Now, that’s a good explanation and I think applies to lots of different situations whether they’re acute stresses or having to give a presentation doing a driving test examination through to some of those more chronic long term life events where things happen to us that we feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure how to cope with it. The one flipside to that is some of those demands that we’re faced with is we can respond to them in a positive way so they can be quite a positive response to stress. What people have termed your stress so we can do things that are or put ourselves in situations that are quite demanding or quite difficult but actually, we see it as a bit more of a thrill or we see it as a challenge and we are motivated to try to rise to that challenge. And I think the interesting thing about stress is the very individual nature that it has across people. So the types of things that people find stressful differ across us. So some of the things that you would do I think I couldn’t possibly do that. And you know some of the things I might do you think I’m not sure I’d like do that. And also they can change over time as well. So sometimes we think we’re able to deal with things and then over time our resources might get depleted for example if we’re not getting enough sleep we’re not looking after ourselves and giving ourselves enough chance to rest and recover and then we’re less able to deal with some of those things that in the earlier time we were able to deal with.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:03:36] But I think it’s everywhere, stress is everywhere I see people all the time in my clinic, and they’re stressed. You know people I know are stressed I feel everyone’s stressed. Are you stressed? You’re a productivity ninja so you should not be stressed.

Professor Mark Jones [00:03:47] Not right now. I mean of course. So Mike was saying there about particular situations I was really stressed running a half marathon a few weeks ago and that for me was a very demanding thing and so your brain’s going through all these thought processes of ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, why don’t you just stop now’, and you have to kind of push through that kind of stress to thrill-seeking is another way that people get stress. So I think even when you have your work really under control, there are stressful moments and situations in the work that we do right? So maybe it’s a conversation with a colleague that you think’s going to be a really awkward thing to talk about, you might feel threatened. I think stress at work can come from a number of different places.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:04:24] What would you say? I mean you’re obviously stress expert so are you? Do you feel that your stressed individual?

Professor Mark Jones [00:04:33] Well I think you know we all get stressed at some points in time and some periods of time but I think in general I would see myself as being a pretty relaxed individual but recognising that there are times in work or in our personal life where we do experience periods of stress. I would just like to follow on from one of those points though in terms. Stress is not necessarily in and of itself negative. Now we can have negative responses to stress, but stress can be a powerful motivator. It can be a powerful energiser, so when you’re put in situations if you think about some of the definitions of stress as a body’s nonspecific response to demands placed upon it, it’s really an energising effect is there to enable us to deal with something. One of the challenges with stress is where we are continually asked to respond to things over time then that can lead to some types of chronic stress. It can affect things that are important for us such as sleep patterns as well. I think it’s important to remember that stress is not necessarily in and of itself negative. And periods of stress are normal, and the body has evolved a mechanism to deal with some of those demands that are placed upon us. And that’s perfectly natural and normal for the body to respond in that way.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:05:46] And what about our productivity then because, you know how do you think that my stress, your stress, everybody’s stress, how is that impacting their day to day productivity?

Graham Allcott [00:05:55] I really like that thing about the stress being challenged so sometimes you can come out of those stressful situations and if something’s gone well and you felt really stretched and really pushed the limit but then you’ve pulled through, and you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve, that can be a really great thing.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:06:09] Like your half marathon?

Graham Allcott [00:06:11] Yeah like the half marathon, but also like when you do get up and give a presentation if it’s the first presentation you’ve ever done you feel terrified beforehand, but you feel elated afterwards. And so the payback that you can get from some of those very stressful situations I think can be quite good. But then I think on a sort of day to day level finding ways to deal with the negative aspects of stress, and you know for me a lot of it is about really recognising the patterns that you have. I think so much of our habits around our work and productivity are unsaid and unseen. You know we tend to have the same kind of morning routines every day. You know we have very similar sort of methodologies in the way that we work maybe we always start the day with email, maybe we always have meetings at certain times, certain things just happen in a rhythm. And because of that, you don’t necessarily notice which ones of those things are the things that are really causing you the negative kinds of stress, that are actually really going to affect you through the day. So I think a lot of it for me is about how to help people to be much more aware of those base level habits and that will help people to then deal with some of those patterns and kind of change that behaviour.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:07:19] And I heard before that with the guys that whole type of productivity and exactly as you said we’re sort of almost hardwired [to think] I’m going to do this I’m going to do that. This is how I’ve always done and I’m not going to change that. Some of the most successful and productive people actually have sort of mantras where they do emails for half an hour and the start of the day, the middle of the day, the end of the day, not like the rest of us going round the loop we’re looking at. And that actually by doing that and by structuring your day I guess your stress levels are putting them in, you know, different times of the day and really enhances your productivity. I’ve never tried it.

Graham Allcott [00:07:54] You’ve never tried it? Well, I have, so one of the things I try and do is I keep the mornings much more free for what I call ‘create time’ and then the afternoon is where I get onto email and messaging and what I call ‘collaborate time’. So, me as an author, as someone who’s writing books, as someone who’s developing courses, a lot of my work, It’s more successful if I’m uninterrupted if I’m on my own if I have kind of deep space to be able to think. And so all the things like email and WhatsApp messages and social media and all these things are just going to get in the way of that. So the thing that I like to try and do is just be bounded around the timings of that, so the mornings are much more about me and sort of delivering that creative work and in the afternoon is about me helping everybody else to deliver their work. So that’s when I’m in emails and meetings, and all that kind of collaborative kind of side of the work so I kind of try and structure it like that. For some people, it might be you don’t need the whole morning to be doing that creative work but you maybe need an hour or half an hour, and then you need to just be bounded around how you deal with certain types of communication. So again I think one of the things that because, like you know, if you’ve never set up a boundary around email for example because you have no boundary you’re gonna be any email all the time and you’re going to end up multitasking which in the 1980s in time management books was seen as the Holy Grail and now is actually it’s a complete fallacy. You know if you’re doing work that is involving adding value in creating value out of information if it’s thinking tasks then you can think about two things at the same time. It’s impossible it’s just actually just a very inefficient way of working.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:09:31] Women can, women multitask all the time.

Graham Allcott [00:09:33] I think you can multitask when one of the things is not a thinking task so I can multitask when I’m washing up and thinking about something, or if I’m on the hold queue and I’m typing you know that’s fine. But actually trying to switch your thought processes around to different things I think is a really inefficient way of working. You know all the studies kind of point to that.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:09:51] And a stressful way of working really.

Graham Allcott [00:09:52] Very stressful and you’re actually much more likely to let something fall between the cracks or make an error on something if you’re working in that way. Deep focus is the thing is at such a premium in the way that we work these days because we’re all in open plan offices, we’re all connected to so many different communication devices. It’s such a premium, but also the most valuable resource that we have is our thinking and our attention. So how you get into that deep sense of focus is, you know, I think the most important part of productivity.

Professor Mark Jones [00:10:22] I just want to pick up on what Graham says there actually because it is spot on in terms of lots of the work that we’ve done with companies and individuals. We started going to talk about stress, and interestingly on the back of some of that work, people came back and talked about e-mail. They were saying actually you know the work isn’t any harder than it was ten years ago. It’s just the pace of work is much greater. And in particular e-mail and that’s where some of our research has gotten is a big driver of that because the power of email lies with the sender, not the recipient. And you can see all different types of working practices where even if there’s a spoken norm that we don’t need to email outside of work hours. The unspoken norm in terms of the behaviours of the leaders and the colleagues that you work with drives people into situations where they very rarely get to switch off, and they’re engaged in their work habits, you know after they leave their work to go home. And what’s really interesting is that when we look and talk about recovery and rest and recovery that when people have explored the effect of two weeks holiday on rest and recovery. Yes. You know you feel better after you have your two weeks holiday, but that tends to dissipate very quickly. What really matters is being able to switch off and relax on a nightly basis that we get those periods of rest and recovery on a daily basis and not that we work really hard for two to three months and save up our rest for our holiday time.

Graham Allcott [00:11:39] Yes. Absolutely.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:11:40] And I suppose with the whole stress and that whole thing of being connected to your email all the time that has a massive impact on your sleep ultimately. I mean you know lack of sleep is one of the signs of stress, isn’t it?

Professor Mark Jones [00:11:54] Do you see all sorts of comments like a third of Britons would get up and check their emails in the middle of the night, there’d be many people watching and listening to this who will check their emails last thing at night before they go to sleep.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:12:06] They’ll be checking their emails now.

Professor Mark Jones [00:12:08] Checking their emails now and that’s understandable of course. And then first thing in the morning when they get up. So you have that period around sleep where you’re checking your emails and one of the difficulties with email is, of course, your technology. It’s not necessarily bad in and of itself, you could talk with the blue light to the effect that might have on sleep patterns but it’s potentially what arrives through that technology so it could be something you think ‘I have to deal with that tomorrow’ or you read a social media post to get you a bit angry you know you think ‘I really disagree with that’. And so it’s that stimulation if you like that makes it then harder to switch off and relax when you want to get to sleep.

Graham Allcott [00:12:47] If you’ve got emails anywhere near the bedroom you’re always going to lose. Yeah right. So if you’re having that final check of emails before you go to bed you’re losing because even if there’s something there that you see that you think I need to do something about it you can’t do anything about it because you’re about to go to bed and it’s just going to play on your mind. And if you then first thing in the morning check your emails then you’re going to lose because what you’re doing is you’re starting the day with everybody else’s to do list, not yours. What is email? It’s everybody else’s to-do list, right? So starting your day that way puts your focus, takes you away from the real thinking that you need to do about what does my day need to look like for me. So I just think, you know, separating emails and giving them as far away from the bedroom as possible I think is a really useful tip.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:13:31] It’s interesting that you say that actually that you’re losing when you look at the email before you read about at night and you’re losing when you look at it in the morning. Because most people think ‘I’m great and the boss is going to think I’m brilliant’, because I mean my husband would be sending emails at 06:30, thinking I’ve logged on. It’s a really good concept I think; you’re already on the back foot because you’ve probably ruined your night sleep or you’ve really stressed yourself out before you’ve even got into the office or started whatever you’re meant to be doing for the day.

Graham Allcott [00:14:00] Yeah. And I guess part of that it comes about because people want to appear like they’re switched on all the time you know people want to send those emails like your partner kind of, you know, late in the evenings, ‘hey look at me I’m online’, and people notice that email and the time that’s written against it. And what is never noticed is people getting really good rest and relaxation so that they’re really ready to go the next day, and like there’s just no public forum for that is there unless people start taking photos of their sleep and then suddenly get around and other impossible things. So because it’s unseen and unnoticeable, then it becomes, you know the thing that people don’t choose.

Professor Mark Jones [00:14:37] I just wanted to pick up on one point in terms of sleep and email are some of the work I’ve done has been with athletes, and that’s where I’ve done quite a bit of work, and they’ll talk about pre-performance routines. So, just to follow on in terms of some of the points around a sleep routine. So one suggestion is to have a pre-sleep routine so an hour beforehand you make sure that you turn off all those devices that you’re engaged in relaxing activities and that’ll help you then much more likely get to sleep a bit quicker. But this behaviour that we engage in when we’re doing lots of things busily and then going to sleep makes going to sleep a lot harder.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:15:15] So you better off to get all your stuff done and then sort of reboot for an hour rather than get all your stuff done and fall into bed because you won’t be able to sleep. For people listening who are thinking you know, they’re not particularly productive or they might be stressed what for you would be like the key things that you see when you go into workplaces and when you work with people in terms of the cardinal signs of stress?

Professor Mark Jones [00:15:40] So I think one thing to think about stress what you think about in terms of our feelings or how we are feeling we could think about in terms of behaviours in terms of whether we’re irritable with the people that we work with and maybe our personal relationships, whether we have difficulty concentrating. And then also in terms of our behaviours. So you know people who are stressed often engage in coping mechanisms that paradoxically have not been helpful in enabling to relax or that people tend to drink more eat more drink a bit more alcohol we know the effect that alcohol has on our ability to get to sleep and the quality of our sleep so it helps us get to sleep but the quality of sleep that we have after a couple of glasses of wine is much worse than we would have had, had we not had that alcohol, because alcohol, as you know, is a sedative. And so we go to sleep, but we get these micro weaklings after you’ve had a bit of alcohol to drink. So it’s about our feelings, about our behaviours in terms of irritability, it is our ability to concentrate on how we interact with people the behaviours that we engage in. And of course, there are physiological changes that happen when we are stressed in terms of you know constriction of the arteries because cortisol is being released and we saw all of these physiological changes as well.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:16:56] So in terms of our productivity how you know, if I’m feeling stressed how is that going to sort of translate into my lack of productivity? I’m unlikely if I’m hugely stressed to be incredibly productive.

Graham Allcott [00:17:08] Yeah I think so. So I think all of these things feed each other so if you can reduce stress you’ll improve productivity, that will actually help you to sleep better and then that sleep will also then drive productivity I think all these things are really linked. I would say that if you notice that you’re spending a lot of your day on email, if you’re having a lot of those thoughts that feel like I’m just the victim here and you know I’m just being thrown all these new things to do, and starting to feel like you’re powerless in that situation. I think that also for me is a sign of stress and often when I work with people that’s a really noticeable shift. They’ll start by saying ‘I’ve just got too much to do, my bosses must hate me because they give me all this stuff’. And then by the end of the day working with them they’re saying I feel in control, I feel like I’m empowered to have the right kind of conversations around this stuff and all that’s really changed is thinking you know they’ve just spent some time doing some detailed thinking about all those different projects they’re working on all the different actions that they have to do. And by the end of that, you know, you can start to see that that world in front of you if you like or you know there’s different products and actions as here’s the data that I’m now working with. Whereas if you don’t have that sense of data and it’s all just in your head then you just feel a bit like you’re out of control like you’re the victim and I think you know control is something that is very linked to stress. If you feel under control if you feel like you’ve got a really good handle on things if you feel confident then that’s likely to reduce your stress as well.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:18:34] And in terms of I guess the link between stress and sleep? I suppose we all know we don’t sleep well when we’re stressed. But in terms of the physiology and what’s going on internally, can you just like walk me through that. We all know when we’re wound up, we’re not going to sleep. But what’s our body doing internally?

Graham Allcott [00:18:55] So if we think about our physiological reactions to stress it’s about the release of adrenaline it’s about cortisol, it’s about preparing our body for action is not commensurate is not ideal for actually relaxing and going to sleep. So we’re talking about high levels of you know activation you know increased heart rate or a worry. If I am ruminating on things it becomes hard then to relax psychologically particularly for worried about things that might be related to work or personal life. And we’re running through those things, and in our mind now that’s why the old cliche of how to get to sleep. You come to the sheep and you know it’s a way of occupying the mind and distracting you from some of the things that you might be thinking of. And the link between stress and sleep is fascinating because it works both ways. I never understood, you know when parents appointed children, the children were behaving really badly, and they see that they are just tired until I had children myself. And then when you saw the effect of being tired on the child’s ability to regulate their emotions and make good decisions, and it’s there in a child in a perfect form. But we experience that as well. So when we lack sleep or when we haven’t slept particularly well we are more prone to respond emotionally the following day. So if we don’t have enough sleep we respond with much stronger emotional responses to emotional events or emotional things that happen or emotional stimuli the following day because the link between the prefrontal cortex which is the bit that kind of regulates our emotional responses and behaviours and tells us how we should behave in that situation is less effective after. In terms of dealing with our emotional responses after we’ve had a poor night’s sleep.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:20:48] It’s a good comparison I guess with the kids isn’t it because you know they’re like little tyrants.

Professor Mark Jones [00:20:52] Unbelievable. I never realised it until I had kids myself.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:20:55] Yeah we are like that.

Professor Mark Jones [00:20:56] A little bit better though.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:20:57] Yeah a little bit better. We don’t feel that we’re like that. You know, we’re tired, but we don’t really appreciate that we’re grumpy or we’re not productive. So what would your tips be on dealing with stress, what should we be doing?

Professor Mark Jones [00:21:17] Well, big question because there are lots of different ways. I think Graham made a good point earlier is about individuals and about recognising what causes them stress. I think there are lots of ways that we can regulate our emotional response to our stress responses you know, and people will have different preferences as well for the types of things that they would use. So there’s lots of good evidence that, for example, engaging with nature and being in natural environments has a positive effect on regulating our emotional stress. So when you go into natural environments, it has a stress-reducing effect. Physical activity is another good way of regulating our stress responses notwithstanding running the half marathon. Social support is a very powerful way and having good social connections is a very powerful way of being able to regulate our stress responses, we respond better to demands when we feel supported and when we feel we have those good social connections that better enable us to deal with those demands. You’ll know from your medical work about the consequences of loneliness and the effect that has. There are also different strategies to be able to deal with acute stress or when we’re faced with a particular demand, how do we manage that. There are three things that we tend to focus on in our sporting work in our performance environments need of confidence, control and an approach focus of thinking about what you want to achieve. So changing the way that we think about particular stressor and the instructions that we give other people can have a positive effect on the way that people respond. We’ve looked at that in our research. It’s not just psychologically, but physiologically the way the body responds to stress differs if we have a focus on confidence control and thinking about what we have to do, not what might go wrong. So there are many ways that we can deal with stress and many strategies. Some people like to come home after work they like to do a bit of cooking, listening to music, go for a walk, go for a run, engage with nature, interact with people socially. So lots of different ways that we can manage our stress.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:23:23] And in terms of our productivity you know if we are very stressed. What would be the best thing to tackle if you’re a stressed person and you are feeling your productivity is sliding.

Graham Allcott [00:23:35] Yeah I think the first thing to do is get all the stuff that you’re thinking about out of your head all right so in whatever way that looks.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:23:43] That might take a long time!

Graham Allcott [00:23:45] You can either just do that with pen and paper and just write that down. There are some really good apps that you can use and what these apps do is allow you to really get all those thoughts and actions just out of your head and into a place that you can start to then move them around, tick them off, manipulate them, categorise them, all that sort of stuff and so by being out to see all that stuff in front of you that will lead you towards that feeling of control and that sense of perspective around what you’re doing.

Professor Mark Jones [00:24:10] I think the writing is it is a really good example was a very nice study that was done where people at the end of the day would write down three things that went well that day and the reasons for them they trucked out over six months, and they found that actually they had quite a positive effect in terms of positive mood. So just taking that time to reflect on some positive things that have gone well and the reasons why I think writing also works in another way as well people have done studies or people have kept diaries or tend to have better psychological and physical health and those who do not. There is something about writing down your thoughts that means that actually the emotional part of your brain, the part of the brain that has these ruminations these worries and concerns has actually been listened to, and that you’ve actually taken some time to think and deal with. And there is something about the act of writing that that means that actually that those issues or worries or concerns have in a sense not been dealt with they’ve been listened to, and that’s enough.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:25:04] I have a gratitude journal, but I am so disorganised half the time I can’t find it. When you were speaking about lists there, I don’t know if it’s a disorder, but I have a lista-phobia. I hate lists.

Graham Allcott [00:25:18] Oh really ok.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:25:19] When anyone mentions writing a list. I don’t know why because I am very disorganised or actually what I need to do is embrace the list and I just I don’t know I’ve got let something about it that stresses me out. So imagine I’m listening to this now and you know I’m thinking I’m really really stressed and I can’t sleep. What would you say what would be their top three things that I should be doing? Like I can’t sleep, and actually I’m kind of thinking maybe I can’t sleep because I’m really stressed.

Professor Mark Jones [00:25:52] I’m tempted to go for the list again, but I’m only joking. I mean it depends why you’re stressed but I think one thing I would say that you know, often it’s work stress so it could be things that are happening you know in our work. So I think that ability to transition from work to home is an under neglected area so. So we think about you know having a shutdown ritual at work. What do we do when we come home is that we transition from one space which is our workspace. What role does the journey have when we go home. So in terms of things that we can do on the journey home two examples of gratitude that make us feel better, so we’re distressing from our work environment you know how we greet our loved ones when you come into the door 3D greeting, and we look at them in the eyes we say something we touch them, you give them a hug.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:26:37] 3D Greeting, I love it!

Professor Mark Jones [00:26:40] How often do you go home and just throw your bag in the corner and not say anything you know. So you know there’s a there’s just a way of connecting at home with our loved ones. Now, of course, flexible working is a bit of a norm so we might engage in some work but having a shutdown ritual before sleep. You ask me to do three things are probably giving about 20 at this point. But then there are different strategies in terms of breathing techniques in terms of relaxation techniques, keeping a journal where you write things down, or any worries or concerns might be a way of dealing with things that you’re particularly ruminating with. I think certainly engaging in things that take your mind off some of the worries, some of the things that are stressing you sort activities and hobbies and things that you might do whether it’s cooking things that engage you cognitively as well as physically can be ways of switching off. So switching off doesn’t have to go back and doing a breathing technique, could be going back and taking a dog for a walk, doing the cooking, doing something else that detaches you from what might be causing some of the worries and there are lots of techniques that would depend because we’re always after techniques, not the causes necessarily. I know what I know and I know we just want some techniques in this instance, but there are some techniques that you might want to do before, but that shutdown ritual before you go to sleep. In terms of laptops off emails off relax into sleep, have that shut down which would be something helpful.

Graham Allcott [00:28:08] Yeah I wanted to mention one thing that we’ve not really covered which I think is very much in and around the same wheelhouse as stress, which is caffeine. So generally when you get stressed you know like you’re having more of that time perhaps you know if you’re a smoker smoke a bit more and if you’re a tea or coffee drinker you really drink a few more of those caffeinated drinks, so I think you know caffeine has quite a long half-life and stays in the body. So thinking about maybe having a cutoff point during the day where you say after that point I’m going to drink decaf coffee I’m going to drink fruit teas or something else. So you know sometime early in the afternoon make that the last coffee and then don’t drink coffee for the rest of the day. So as you then get in the evening and the caffeine is going out of your system that’s going to allow you to sleep better and I think you know often we sort of neglect that as being something that is going to have that effect. We kind of know that it wakes us up in the morning. We don’t necessarily think about the long half-life the caffeine house within our system as well. So I’d think about that and then also you know as Mark was saying the kind of breathing techniques and meditations and those kind of things can be really helpful but just like leave the phone in a different room. I think if you can do that, that’s also going to make a huge difference. So you know putting the phone on charge in the kitchen moving the charger there is always the thing that that is the first step to then change that habit and making it happen.

Dr Pixie McKenna [00:29:27] Somebody always takes the charger though and then that causes huge stress. Well, thank you very much. That’s been really interesting. I’ve got a 3D greeting I’ve got something I want to do that I’m going to light myself up I might even start writing lists. I mean I’m in, I’m convinced.

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In this episode of the Sleep Matters Audio Series by Dreams, Dr. Pixie Mckenna speaks with Dr. Khaled Sadek, a GP with a long history of research into sleep health. Also joining the panel is Caroline...
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25 minutes

How Can I Stop Snoring?

If you or your partner snore, you’ll no doubt know what a pest it can be. Whether you’re the one tired and suffering with a sore throat come morning, or the one kept up all night...
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20 minutes

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