If bedtime for you is less counting sheep and more lying awake worrying over your seemingly endless work to-do list, Claire Wasserman can relate.
Yes, even the Well+Good Council member and founder of Ladies Get Paid (who advises women on how to be less stressed and more productive at work for a living) isn’t immune to work stress seeping into her snoozing hours.
“I’ve been having a lot of troubling sleeping recently, so I’m probably getting five or six hours a night,” she says. (FYI the recommended amount is seven to nine hours.) “I have a big launch coming up, and even though I’m not actively thinking about that while I go to sleep, it’s this thing looming over me.”
Millennials make up 32 percent of the stressed population, and 63 percent of stressed adults are female (color us not surprised).
Wasserman isn’t alone. A recent study conducted by Mattress Firm found a direct relationship between stress levels and sleep quality (AKA stressed out people are five times as likely to experience insomnia at least once a month). Plus, millennials make up 32 percent of the stressed population, and 63 percent of stressed adults are female (color us not surprised).
So where do you break the cycle? Wasserman has a few pieces of game-changing advice on how to diffuse stress from your life—starting with your bedroom.
Scroll down for Wasserman’s tips on for less stress and more sleep.
Take back your environment
In Wasserman’s experience as a career coach, she’s identified one common source of job stress: Your workplace environment, like a demanding boss or a company with an always-available work culture.
But what happens if many of those factors are out of your hands? “Start small, especially if you’re really overwhelmed,” Wasserman advises. “What things are in your control?”
She suggests focusing on turning the space you can manage (your own home, and more specifically your bedroom) into your personal Zen den. Not only will you sleep better, but looking forward to coming home to a totally relaxing retreat can help you cope with your daytime anxieties.
One of the easiest changes you can make that will have the biggest impact is upgrading your mattress. Did you know experts say you should replace yours at least every eight years? If it’s time for a mattress refresh, Mattress Firm is a smart place to start. With brands like Beautyrest, Dream Bed Lux, tulo, and Sleepy’s, you’ll find something comfy—whether you dream of sleeping on clouds or prefer something a little more firm. Bonus: Your budget will stretch further, too.
Declare sleep the ultimate power move
As the entreprenurial founder of a startup in New York City, Wasserman used to pride herself on working through the night (they don’t call it the city that never sleeps for nothing).
“When I first started Ladies Get Paid, I read too many articles that said CEOs operate off four to five hours of sleep,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t keep up and wouldn’t be successful if I slept longer than that.”
That worked for a while, but eventually she neared the edge of burning out—so she decided to flip the script. “I felt really proud of myself that I was getting that little sleep, so it was a whole mentality shift to accept that my business wasn’t going to fail because I got a full night’s sleep.”
Now, her goal is to prioritize sleep as a sign of what a strong, smart CEO she is (rather than considering it a sign of weakness) despite the busy-woman hurdles thrown in her away.
Create a nightly ritual
To turn sleep into a priority, Wasserman had to exercise a good degree of self reflection and find out how to to set herself up for a good night’s sleep—regardless of what any CEO articles told her.
“Be wary of all the advice you get,” she says. “What does your body need?” For Wasserman, that means starting the process of winding down for bed the minute she gets home from work. She’s turned that into a nightly ritual that includes turning on her diffuser, spritzing her face with green tea mist (“the scent smells like bedtime to me,” she says) and of course, snuggling into her comfy bed.
“I try to get myself to go to sleep by imagining I’m in a bed thats much nicer than mine,” she admits. Maybe it’s time to hit up Mattress Firm?
Top photo: Stocksy/Lumina