Too often, people are thinking about work, school, or family as they lay their head down and night, and it leads to the inability to sleep. When you can’t wind down to fall asleep at night, it can lead to hours lying awake with your mind just racing about pretty much everything, and sleep doesn’t come when you want it to. Here are some tips that work for me to get a restful sleep at night when your mind doesn’t want to put you into sleep mode.
Put away work and school materials at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Trying to complete a thesis or organizing items for a work meeting right up until you go to bed will likely leaving you thinking about nothing but work or school, even if your head is nodding off right at your desk. Even when you think doing these things will exhaust you into sleep, your mind doesn’t work that way, and leads to anxiety and thoughts about going over the tasks that you had just put away as you are trying to fall asleep. In putting away your to-do list hours before bed, you are giving your mind time to wander elsewhere and forget about the daunting things, so you can sleep.
Avoiding stimulants that keep you awake prior to bed help your mind and body reach an agreement before bed. Avoid smoking right before bed or drinking coffee or caffeine drinks. Also avoid a large meal or snack prior to bed, which can leave you trying to fall into sleep without success as well. Instead, drink a calming herbal tea or relax with a small snack in front of the TV as you wind down.
Recognize that tomorrow is a new day, so you can worry later. This is a tough one, but if you place a “time limit” on the stresses that are keeping you awake, like your bills, your child’s failing grades, or your broken down car and realize that you have all day tomorrow to deal with them and there’s nothing you can do about your worries right now at bedtime, it helps to calm your mind down.
Do “boring” things before bed, like listening to calming music, watching the History Channel, or reading a book that distracts you in a good way. In doing calming activities before bed, your mind has a chance to shut off temporarily, giving your body time to take over and lure your body into sleep.
Don’t bathe or shower right before bed. This raises your body temperature, which naturally lowers to ready for sleep, making falling asleep naturally that much more difficult. Turn down your thermostat as well, as snuggling up in warm blankets in a cold room is a more natural setting for your body to adhere to for sleep than the heater roaring all night.
Snuggle up with your honey to help relax you. This may lead to some very stress-relieving activities, or it may not, but just knowing that you are not alone can help your mind relax. Rub your sweetie’s back for distraction or play with their hair as they snooze away. These little distractions can lead you to sleep before you know it. Don’t just lie there by yourself with your mind reeling while they slumber away.
Avoid sleeping on your back, which can leave you staring at the ceiling in the dark. Curl up into a fetal position on either side, whichever is more comfortable, or lay on your stomach, giving you that feeling of security and comfort. Lying on your back can make you feel exposed, and doesn’t help to put your mind and body at rest.
Sleep with a fan, light music, or a small nightlight on. Any type of distraction that helps lure you into sleep is a good thing. Often, it’s a quiet room that makes your mind scream the loudest. Sleeping on the couch with the TV on mute with the soft glow of the TV encompassing the dark room can help you fall asleep as well, as does the change of sleeping rooms. Sometimes, the bedroom is just associated with thinking, and simply taking over the couch can lead you into slumber without trying too hard.
personal experience with sleepless nights