Electric blanket

4 tips to sleep better when stressed

22 Jun, 2024
Johnno van den Brink

Almost everyone suffers from poor sleep due to stress at one time or another. Possibly the biggest cause of poor sleep. In this article, we dive deep into the causes and solutions of sleeping with stress. We are pleased to offer you 4 proven tips to sleep better when stressed.

Negative effects of stress and sleep

Stress and sleep never go well together. Excessive stress almost always causes an inferior night’s sleep: your body is active, your heart rate is high and stress hormones are coursing through your body. Falling asleep at that time is very difficult. If stress becomes chronic, it is necessary to discuss it with your doctor.

Moreover, poor sleep can be a factor in creating burnout. When recovering from burnout, good sleep is also crucial: sleep is recovery.

4 Mindthebed tips to sleep better when stressed

To sleep better when stressed, it is important to actively address the problem. Just continuing as before will not solve the problem. A planned vacation may help for a while, but not in the long run. Check out our 4 tips to take immediate action:

1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Our first tip is actually not about stress at all, but it is about something that can make your poor sleep due to stress even worse. Alcohol and caffeine negatively affect our sleep. By eliminating these factors first, you can continue to work on resolving the stress.

You might be tempted to grab a drink in a stressful situation, or reach for the coffee because you slept poorly the night before. As for almost everything in life: use in moderation. Drinking coffee or tea in the morning and moderating from noon is wise. Don’t overdo it with the amounts, either. It takes a while for the effects to leave your body. Scientific studies indicate that not everyone is sensitive to caffeine. But in stressful times, it’s best to limit its use. That includes alcohol and especially in the evening hours.

2. Schedule a moment of rest

It may sound like a simple solution, and it is. You mainly have to deal with a mental challenge to actually start doing it and stick with it.

One of the most effective ways to get better rest is to schedule a moment of rest during your busy day. This allows you to completely relax your body. By actively scheduling a moment of rest, such as a short walk, reading a book, a power nap or yoga, your body will be better rested during the day.

schedule a rest

Starting is often easy, sustaining is something else. So don’t make your approach too big. Think about what you can easily schedule. And take a moment to think if you could use some help. For example, getting your colleagues something to drink every morning is often feasible. You stand up, move, breathe in and out quietly and interact with your colleagues for a moment. A little break is a fact … and so perseverance often becomes easier.

It also has a side effect. If you relax during the day and think about the things you are stressed about, you often see them as less big. At night, things often get bigger and harder. It’s quiet, you have no one to talk to, and in the dark you seem all alone in the world. Your body is set up to process stress during sleep, but if your stress level is so high that you can’t sleep, the stress builds up all the time.

3. Constructive Worry method

By thinking about things you worry about before you sleep, you do so less during the night. Thus, you will fall asleep more easily and will also experience a quality night’s sleep.

  • Take a notebook and divide the page into two columns.
  • On the left, make a list of things that worry you.
  • On the right, write down the solution to the problem.
  • Is there a solution? Then you don’t have to worry.
  • Can’t think of a solution? Then you can work on accepting it or explore how to resolve it by seeking advice, for example.
  • Put the notebook on your nightstand to remind you that you have already written down the solutions, and you can go to sleep peacefully.

This method is best done a few hours before you go to sleep. Do it alone or with a partner or friend.

For example, download & print this PDF file to fully perform the exercise.

4. Sports and vocational therapy

Do you have long-term insomnia due to stress? Then you might consider sports or vocational therapy. Exercise has a positive effect on sleep and is almost always prescribed as a complementary treatment for insomnia. Be careful not to exercise intensely in the hours immediately before sleep. Best during the day!

Occupational therapy involves more than just physical activity and we speak of mindfulness, meditation, dancing, music or yoga, for example. Practicing this has been shown in multiple studies to help with insomnia.

Rest and sleep

Are you tired all day? Then you probably blame your sleep. This is not always the case. You may also simply need to rest rather than sleep in. Below we list the different types of rest.

Do you recognize that you don’t get one or more forms of rest enough? If so, that could possibly cause the fatigue you might blame on your sleep.

1. Physical rest

Physical rest is the rest our body needs. Passive physical rest is sleeping or taking a nap, while active physical rest is, for example, yoga or massage. Both forms of physical rest contribute to a healthy body.

2. Mental rest

Irritable, forgetful and having trouble concentrating? Then you probably don’t have enough mental rest. This causes your sleep, despite sleeping 8 hours, to be insufficient. Assessing daily moments and how we react to them can significantly reduce our stress levels, according to Darria Long (Physician).

3. Sensory tranquility

Computer screens, background noise or lots of light can overstimulate our senses. Intentionally experiencing sensory deprivation for a while (a moment of nothing at all, silence, no screen) will allow you to rest better after a day of being overstimulated.

4. Creative rest

Busy with a creative process or lots of ideas in your head about how to tackle a problem? Then you may find yourself lying awake at night because of this creative restlessness. It may help to keep a notepad next to your bed to write down your ideas. That way you can take note of what is going on in your mind and let it go.


Sleep stress occurs in many people and it is crucial to actively address it. We’ve put together some great tips to help you with this. It is also important to consider whether your fatigue is purely due to your sleep. In fact, you may also need rest in other ways.