Six ways to clear your mind for restful sleep
Do you feel like your brain is always thinking about something just as you get into bed? Many people have difficulty sleeping due to racing thoughts or worries. If you have a busy routine or are a worrier by nature, sleep may not always come easily to you.
Rest is fundamental for a healthy mind and body. But regardless of how tired we are, sleeping well is not always possible. If stressful thoughts plague your mind or if you’re always preoccupied with the future, it’s hard to achieve restful sleep.
To sleep really well, you have to free your mind of all the thoughts that keep it occupied. Below, is a list of 6 ways to help clear your mind for restful sleep.
The benefits of meditation include helping you to clear your mind and get a better night’s sleep. If you make this a daily habit, those thoughts that have been stopping you from sleeping at night will slow down, and your mind will become more peaceful.
Meditation doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just focus on your breathing, counting each breath from 1 to 100 will be enough to relax your mind and body and leave you ready to fall asleep.
Visualise your thoughts disappearing
When our head hits the pillow, many of us will be thinking about our days as we drift off naturally, but for others, these thoughts can stop you sleeping. Visualisations may be the key here.
Imagine your thoughts are leaving your head, and dropping into a big box by the side of you to rest themselves. Once all of your thoughts and worries for the day are inside the box, you can mentally lock them safely away. Using this technique may seem simple, but it really works. Transferring your thoughts to the box means they don’t go away, they will just be safely tucked away until morning.
Write down your thoughts
Sometimes our thoughts can be persistent, or we are worried that we might forget something urgent, like remembering to ring the dentist tomorrow. Sometimes, we suddenly have a great idea about a project we want to start, or an idea for work tomorrow. We don’t wish sleep to stop the flow of these thoughts, these thoughts are creativity working at its best, but we can write them down.
Keep a notebook by the side of the bed and when these thoughts arise, write them down. This won’t fix any problems, but it will let your mind rest peacefully knowing you’re not going to forget that little detail while you’re in a deep, and restful sleep.
Set aside time to worry
It may sound strange, but if you're a chronic worrier, allowing yourself specific times to focus on your troublesome thoughts may help you better manage your anxiety and sleep patterns. Try journaling your thoughts before bed.
Set aside 10 to 15 minutes to jot down anything that's bothering you or anything that frustrated you throughout the day. Emptying your thoughts on paper before bed can help to keep the natural flow of the brain as it processes the days’ events, (ignoring them can make things worse) but can prevent them from interfering with you falling asleep at night.
Create bedtime habits
Some habits like taking a warm bath, or reading before bed can help us to fall asleep. When we make bedtime reading a daily practice, it helps us to clear our minds from the racing thoughts of the day and sends a message to the brain that it’s time for bed, which will help you to fall asleep easier.
However, blue light emitted from a screen on things like smartphones and tablets can have the opposite effect, so avoid reading on your phone, or anything work related that may increase your stress levels.
Use exercise to enhance your sleep schedule
Regular exercise can help your sleep cycle immensely. However, you need to make sure you plan workouts in ways that do not interfere with your sleep.
One of the reasons exercise is so great for improving sleep is that it's perfect for reducing stress and anxiety. Between twenty and thirty minutes of daily physical activity, even light aerobics like a brisk walk, can help curb anxiety and this could result in a clearer mind before sleep.
You should always exercise a few hours before bedtime however, especially if your workout routine is vigorous. The adrenaline released from intense physical activity can be stimulating and might result in you having difficulties falling asleep.
“Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains”