You have just crawled into the comfort of your fluffy, warm bed on a chilly winter night. You snuggle up next to your loved one, exhausted from a long day of work and responsibilities, relieved that now you can finally rest. Or can you? As soon as you close your eyes it begins. Your mind starts racing with intrusive thoughts about your to do list, worries about your friends and family, and anxiety about how much work you have to do tomorrow. It can be hard to turn your brain off at night. Follow these 3 simple steps and you will find it easier to fall asleep.
- Don’t look at your clock
If you are reading this article, you are unfortunately all too familiar with the anxious thoughts that rear their ugly heads when you’ve been lying in bed trying to fall asleep unsuccessfully:
How long have I been laying here?
I’m going to be so tired tomorrow.
I can’t afford another night of not sleeping.
While these thoughts are completely natural, they are also completely unhelpful. These thoughts often cause you to look at your clock. Now on top of everything else, you are likely lying in bed calculating the amount of sleep you are or aren’t going to get. The take home point here is: don’t do it! Turn your clock around or cover it with something so you can’t see the time. Then use other techniques to help distract your mind from worry thoughts and fall asleep more easily.
- Make a to do list before bed
Often times what keeps us up at night are thoughts about what we have to do or remember. To remove this from the equation, take 5 minutes before you go to sleep to write down everything you have to remember to do the next day, the next week, etc. If you remember something when you are trying to fall asleep, sit up for a moment and write it down. This allows the worry thought to go out of your head and onto the paper, freeing up precious brainpower to focus on sleeping.
- No eating or exercise within three hours of bedtime
When you eat, your body goes to work immediately moving the food through the digestive process. If your body is digesting food, it is awake and it will be more difficult for it to turn off and allow you to fall asleep. When you exercise, you similarly wake up your body. You know that post workout high? Well that feeling is your brain releasing positive hormones and your metabolism speeding up. It takes a few hours for both of these processes to slow and you to return to normal. Avoid eating and exercising within 3 hours of bedtime to improve chances of more easily falling asleep.
Follow these 3 simple tips and that warm, comfy bed you love oh so much will be oh so much easier to fall asleep in!