Many people have trouble settling down and getting right to sleep when they go to bed at night. If you feel like you are the only one who has trouble falling asleep each night, you are definitely mistaken. After all, many people have a hard time “shutting off” their brains and going to sleep at the end of a long, busy day.
Some would believe that when you have an active day, it will be easier to fall asleep. After all, you have been on the go all day and you are tired, right? The problem is that even if your body is quite tired, your mind may find this quiet, uninterrupted time as the perfect opportunity to think about things.
It may sound silly, but getting your mind into sleep mode can be harder than it sounds. Getting yourself to stop thinking about things can be difficult if you do not know how to properly relax yourself. When you have a lot of stress in your life, the problem can be even more difficult to fix, as you often go to bed with an overstimulated brain that is not ready to call it a night.
You know how when you work out vigorously, you do not simply stop sweating the moment you stop working out? It takes time for your body to cool down and for your heart rate to slow down to its normal pace. Similarly, it takes time for your mind to slow down so that you can fall asleep without having a million thoughts running through your head and keeping you awake.
One of the best tricks is to decompress your day and learn to wind down before you lay your head down on your pillow. With a few simple tips, you should be able to do just that. First, we will talk about some of the contributors to the problems many people have slowing their minds down for bedtime.
Technology’s Effect on the Brain
No rational person would attempt to debate against the fact that technology has made our lives easier. However, with the perks of technology also come drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is that technology has taken valuable “down-time” away from our brains.
For instance, when people used to have to sit on a train or bus on the way somewhere, they would have time to let their mind wander and just relax a bit. This is important, believe it or not. Now, it seems that in every idle moment, a person will pull out their smart phone and check their e-mail, update their social networking sites, or trade text messages. This constant activity does not allow our brains a time to rest during the day. The multitasking also makes it harder for people to focus on one thing or adapt to slower-paced situations, since every gap in activity presents a chance to get on your phone.
Also, while cell phones and other technology have made life easier in many respects, they have also given us new responsibilities. You are expected to be available for communication at nearly all times these days; in previous eras where you would simply check your messages when you got home or to work if you had been in transit previously. Many jobs and even personal relationships present situations where you are expected to be “in touch” at all times.
The end result is a mind that simply cannot settle down on demand at the end of a long and often complicated day. The following three tips will help you considerably if you find that you have this type of problem.
1. Create boundaries for e-mail/text communication
It can be tempting to check your e-mail or text messages at every instance of “down time” throughout the day. However, it is better to check these things in increments and then forget about them for a while, so you are not constantly distracted.
If you worked from 8 AM to 5 PM with a one hour lunch break, you could check your messages and e-mail when you get to work, before lunch, near the end of the day, and after dinner. Of course, these are just samples: if your job or life requires you to check your messages and e-mails more often, so be it. However, you should try to stick to a schedule instead of being in “refresh mode” all day.
2. Give yourself a mental break now and then
Many people picture meditation as sitting with your legs folded on the floor and chanting while burning incense, but meditation does not have to be complex and can be very helpful when it comes to disconnecting yourself from activities for a while.
You can do simple meditation at your desk by simply focusing on your breathing and relaxing your body. Fight the urge to let your brain focus on responsibilities or tasks that need to be done, and focus on your most basic body functions, such as your breathing. Peaceful music can often help, too. Even fifteen minutes of meditation during your lunch break can be very soothing and help you a lot.
3. Warm up for bedtime by slowing down the pace
There are some very simple techniques that can help you to get your mind ready to rest. For best results, you should begin with these steps about an hour before you would like to go to sleep.
To get yourself ready for sleep, turn off bright lights ahead of time. We all associate darkness with sleep, and going from a brightly-lit environment directly to the dark of our bedrooms can make for a very harsh transition. Also, turn off electronics before you go to sleep to avoid stimulating your mind right before bedtime.
Similarly to turning off some of your lights, putting on pajamas or performing other elements of a bedtime routine can be helpful, too. You can even take a bath every night before you go to bed. This will help you, as you will associate these tasks with going to sleep and you will naturally relax as a result.
Do not be discouraged if you have trouble getting your mind to quiet down when you shut off the lights. Many people who have had the same problem have used tips such as the ones we just discussed to improve the quality of their sleep, and you can, also.
|The information presented is not intended to, and does not in anyway, constitute or replace a medical advice, and it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. The information is provided for educational purposes only, and is based upon the authors’ personal experiences or point of view. If you think you have a health problem, please consult a qualified medical professional..|