How To Relax So That You Can Sleep
Trying to get to sleep can be daunting from time to time. Overwhelming stress and everyday life make it hard to shut down when it’s time for bed. It is as if your brain is finally able to relax and all it wants to do is go over every minute detail from your day. It can be difficult to calm your mind.
If you find that your mind races when you lay down to sleep, you are not alone. Particularly at this moment in history, there are many, many people who have exactly the same issue. If there are some additional ways to calm your mind, you would want to know, right? Here are a few suggestions.
Institute a Routine
One of the best ways to calm your mind is to start a nighttime routine for yourself. This can be anything that fits your lifestyle, but your goal is to get to four or five habits that you practice nightly so that your brain can learn that the last one is falling asleep.
Consider something like this: say good night to the children, pets or loved ones and go brush your teeth. Watch a half hour comedy (no social media!) while playing solitaire (or some other one person game) and then you head to bed. Read a book for 15 minutes before lights out.
If you are like most people who have trouble calming down, you need to build in time to decompress. To be by yourself without the influences of everyday life. If you can help to focus your brain elsewhere and routinely, you’ll find it much easier to calm your mind.
Watch Your Breathing
Breathing is not always about doing breathing exercises. It can also be about paying attention to how you breathe. When you get stressed, your breathing can speed up or slow down, which will hinder your ability to calm your mind.
Throughout each day, if you happen to catch yourself in a stressful moment, try to stop and listen. Listen to the sounds around you for a second. Focus on how your breathing sounds as you breathe in and out. Try to push out the world around you and keep your mind from focusing on anything other than your own breath sounds.
Once you become familiar with how you sound when you are stressed vs. how you sound when you have calmed down, you can try to replicate what you’ve heard during bedtime. When you lay down to sleep, listen to your breathing. Much like counting sheep, this is a great way to get yourself focused out of your head and onto something soothing.
Sometimes the best thing that we can do to help ourselves calm down is to reframe the day. Get a journal and write down one thing that you are grateful for each and every night before you get into bed.
Each day can be incredibly stressful, but there has to be a silver lining. If you can find that lining each and every day, you’ll find that the way you look at each day is a little different. You’ll find yourself beginning to see the positives in the little things, which is something we all need if we’re trying to get to a calm enough place to sleep at night.
You don’t need to limit yourself to only one thing each day, so allow it to flow. If you have only one, that’s fine. If it was a particularly wonderful day, list everything you can think of so that you can look back and find some peace in the memories. Laying in bed and focusing on the positives is a lot more productive towards a healthy night’s sleep than focusing on the stress.
Drink Tea or Hot Milk
There are many herbal tea options that encourage restful sleep. Sleepy Time Tea is a popular brand of
bedtime tea that is said to help calm your mind and soothe your body so that you can get into bed feeling relaxed. In addition, any tea that has chamomile or lavender in it may help relax your entire body and mind to get a good night’s sleep. Just make sure that your tea doesn’t have caffeine in it.
If you aren’t a fan of tea, try hot milk instead. A warm beverage before bed may be soothing to you and allow you to calm yourself.
I know what you are thinking – do these really work or is it some kind of placebo? The truth is, the tea or milk may or may not help you relax and help calm your mind, but the process of making and drinking the tea or the milk can. When you put your focus on doing something soothing, your mind may follow, whether it planned to or not. And other than the possibility of needing to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it’s not going to hurt.
Create The Right Environment
If you are going to do anything well, you have to have the right tools. If you are having a tough time calming your mind so that you can get to sleep, see what you can do to help yourself. Does white noise help? Try running a sound machine or a floor fan through the night. Are your sheets a little too scratchy? Invest in a new set of softer sheets that meet your needs better (think sateen, flannel or a high thread-count cotton).
Is your room full of electronics, a television and phones? Maybe consider moving those to a different room. If you are having trouble centering your brain so that you can sleep, all of these different devices are a distraction from your goal. Create a space where the primary focus is getting some rest and escaping from the stress of the world and daily life.
Attempt Sleep Hypnosis
Whether you opt for a sleep hypnosis app or a meditation app, there are many free apps on both
Android and Apple phones that will help calm your mind when you can’t sleep. The trick is to try a bunch. Eventually you will find the right one for you.
Your goal when looking for the right app is to find one that speaks to you. You like the speaker’s voice, the music puts you at ease and the process helps you relax your mind. It may feel a little strange, but give it a chance. Listen to the app right before bed or make it part of your daily ritual during a time that works best for you. Anything that allows you to calm yourself at all during the day will allow you to relax a little more at night as well.
With everything happening in the world right now, it is no wonder that many of us are facing sleepless or restless nights. Sleep affects our mental health and our physical health, so it is extremely important. There are things you can do though, and you owe it to your own sense of well-being to try to do what you can for yourself. You can’t help anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first, so do yourself a favor and try to get some rest.