How To Switch Off Your Mind and Get a Good Night Sleep
Sleep – we all love to talk about it, yet many of us don’t do it enough. Lying in bed wide awake with worries whirling through our mind, stopping us from dropping off, is not an uncommon phenomenon. With many of us plagued by night time worries that prevent us from falling asleep, it seems we may need a helping hand to rise above these worries in bed.
Lots of us also tend to check our social media accounts on our phones or tablets throughout the evening, and the blue light emitted from these devices can cause our minds to stay on full alert.
But whilst we can’t erase the many worries and thoughts we have, there are a few small things we can control to help reduce your sleep problems. Bach™ Original Flower Remedies have pulled together some top sleep tips to give yourself the best chance of a good night’s rest.
Switch off electronic devices:
Ban all electronic (laptops, televisions, phones) at least one hour before bed. Not only do these devices interfere with your body’s internal clock, but with easy access to news sources and social media, it’s easy to increase your stress levels and racing thoughts before you try to wind down for bed. Try creating a relaxing bedtime routine by reading a book, having a bath or practicing mindfulness or meditation an hour before bed instead.
Stick to a sleep schedule:
Having a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Having a bedtime routine and going to sleep at a similar time every night is a good place to start. It’s also so important to maintain a routine and separate work from downtime. If you’re working from home, make sure you set up a separate workstation in your home and keep a clear demarcation between work and sleep. If you’re in the office, make sure you switch off that computer at the end of the day, and if you take it home with you, don’t open it again!
We all know that caffeine is a stimulant and shouldn’t be consumed before bed, but it’s sometimes hard to resist that 2pm urge for a quick fix when your energy levels are getting low. But, the less you consume caffeine in the afternoon, the more likely you are to get a better sleep, and the better-quality sleep you get, the more energetic you’ll feel the next day. Remember fizzy drinks often contain caffeine too so try to limit those later in the day! Though getting some aerobic exercise during the day can help you with a restful sleep, make sure to avoid exercise directly before going to bed as it raises both your heart rate and core body temperature. A cooler bedroom can also help you get to sleep faster and get a better-quality sleep.
Mindfulness and meditation:
Being mindful and focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can be an important step in helping you feel relaxed before bed. Learning how to meditate could bring benefits such as staying positive, balancing your emotions, reducing stress, helping your ability to introspect, and helping productivity. A quick YouTube browse for ‘guided meditation’ will give you plenty of free options if this is something you’d like to try out. There are also some meditation apps on the market such as Headspace, Calm and Aura that are great options if you want to set a reminder or build towards a certain goal.
Don’t chastise yourself for having fears or worries, but instead take note of these concerns and write them down a few hours before bed. Observe the thought and acknowledge that its normal to feel like this, but then let it go. After you’ve written down your worries, try writing down three things that you were thankful for that day; these could be small things like hearing your child laugh, the sun shining or a nice home-cooked meal.
Physical techniques and muscle relaxation:
If you’re feeling particularly tense before bed, try these breathing exercises from The Stress Management Society to help settle your mind before you fall asleep:
- With a deep breath in, raise the shoulders towards the ears and hold them raised for a few seconds (you will be able to feel the tensions that may be accumulating in the shoulders), now take a long slow breath out and drop the shoulders down. Repeat this several times.
- Place the fingers of both hands at the base of your skull; apply slow circular pressures from the base of the skull to the base of the neck.
- Now close your eyes and relax the muscle of the face. Be aware of your eye muscles, your jaw and your forehead. Place the fingers of both hands on each side of the temples and slowly massage in a circular motion. Repeat several times.
- Finish by cupping your hands over your eyes and holding for several seconds. This helps to release tension and tightness in the face.
Create a calming environment
Blackout curtains and a weighted blanket are great items to have to help you sleep a little better, but there are a few other things you can do to create a calm environment before you go to sleep. Listening to some classical music, a podcast or relaxing sounds and meditating before bed can help you switch off. White lights can be quite harsh on the eyes so opt for some warm yellow bulbs instead. You could also light some scented candles while you cuddle up with a book, just remember to blow them out before you get to sleep!