How To Calm Your Mind Before Bed

Published on November 30th, 2018

Updated on January 2nd, 2024

How To Calm Your Mind Before Bed

We’ve all been there: after a busy day, you just want to lay down and fall asleep. As soon as your head hits the pillow all of these intrusive thoughts come flooding into your mind, preventing you from getting that good night’s sleep that you desperately need.

Thoughts like ‘I cannot forget to…’, ‘what am I doing with my life?’ or even about that awkward thing that happened today have the potential to be so intrusive that they keep you up all night reeling over what you have no power to change in that moment.

Many of us know all too well the feeling of just wanting to shut our brain off but all of these racing thoughts prevent us from getting the rest we need. Often you may feel hopeless in ever being able to just go to sleep, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you put those racing thoughts to rest and sleep soundly. Follow these tips to help calm your mind before bed and promote a restful night’s sleep:

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Take 30 minutes before bedtime to journal out any residual thoughts from your day. This will help you clear your mind from the thoughts that are demanding to be processed.

Set aside 20 minutes for deep meditation before bedtime. This will help calm and de-clutter the mind before you drift off to sleep. Remember, your brain is a muscle, and you need to wind it down before you can fall asleep.

Preparing for the morning. This helps because it ensures that your day begins with the least stress possible. If you know your morning will not be stressful, then you do not have to worry about it before bed. You can prepare by:

Leave a pad and pencil by the bed. Often when we finally go to bed we are left with thoughts that will prevent us from falling asleep. Leaving a pad and pencil by your bed is good because you can transfer all of your thoughts from your mind to the paper. You do not risk forgetting to address them later, but they still leave your conscious mind so you can fall asleep.

Focus on your breathing. Try your best to focus as much energy as possible on rhythmic sensations like your breathing. It can have a hypnotic effect that helps you drift off. This may take practice, but commitment helps make a difference.

Clear your sleeping space from any distractions. Set your cell phone on Do Not Disturb and keep it away from arm’s reach to reduce the temptation to web surf or check the time; such habits will prevent you from falling asleep soundly.

Remind yourself that there is nothing else you can do from where you are, in your bed, late at night, besides sleep. When you are in bed the best thing you can do for yourself is get a good night’s sleep and tackle the day refreshed. Remember, you worked hard all day. Whatever is left to do has to wait until morning.

Mistakes We Make With Sleep And Technology

Mistakes To Avoid After Bedtime

Technology has become a major part of our day-to-day lives. We depend on technology for many things, and we sometimes do not even realize when it is negatively affecting us. While technology like apps, phones, tablets, and means of communication brings many advantages, constant contact with devices can cause you to suffer from mental health consequences.

One of the biggest consequences we face is sleep issues. Constant use of technology can affect and worsen a case of insomnia. It can also cause bad habits, like prioritizing screen time over rest, and the need to constantly be connected with social media.

There are common mistakes that people make with sleep and technology. Three of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to sleep are:

Checking your phone in the middle of the night.

Have you ever noticed that every time you wake up in the middle of the night you check the time on your phone? This is a common mistake made with sleep issues and technology, and it has an impact on sleep quality. When you check your phone in the middle of the night, regardless of the reason, you cause your brain to start working. This causes challenges with falling back asleep.

Many people may have reasons for checking the time at night. Common reasons for checking the phone in the middle of the night include:

Despite the reasons, the habit you create may be more impactful on your sleep than you realize. This is especially the case if you check notifications or respond to messages when you are supposed to be resting your brain.

Instead of checking your phone in the middle of the night, set an alarm on an alarm clock and face the clock away from you. At first, this habit can be uncomfortable, but using an alarm clock can help with breaking the habit of checking the phone in the middle of the night.

If you are struggling to trust the alarm clock and not check the time in the middle of the night, you can set a second alarm as a backup. The habit of checking the time in the middle of the night can be diminished as early as 2-3 weeks. After the habit is broken you may find that you do not wake up in the middle of the night as often as before. If you do continue to wake up in the middle of the night, it may not take as long to fall back asleep as before.

Watching TV or using a phone or tablet while you are trying to fall asleep.

It is as boring as it is frustrating to not be able to sleep. Lying in bed and staring at the wall can be aggravating, but try to resist the urge to text or surf the web.

When you check your phone or devices you stimulate your brain, causing it to continue to work. This is the opposite of what you want your brain to do while trying to fall asleep. A goal for improving sleep is to get your brain to a resting point in which you can fall asleep. To do that you need to refrain from web surfing when you should be winding down to sleep.

Try focusing on your breathing or meditating when trying to fall asleep instead. You do not need to leave your bed to do this and it is a simple exercise to focus on without causing your brain to work too hard.

Keep in mind that habits are challenging to break. Despite the challenge, if you stick to the new sleep practice you will find yourself falling asleep more easily. You will be letting your brain wind down without staying stimulated by a screen.

Watching TV while falling asleep.

Many of us enjoy listening to a television program while falling asleep. While it can be pleasant, dialog TV shows can cause the brain to stay engaged in the content of the show. This can prevent it from winding down to fall asleep.

While you may fall asleep, there will still be a part of your brain that is tapped into the dialog it is hearing. Many of us have experienced dreams with dialog from the television actively playing in our minds. This means your brain is still activated into a level of consciousness that can affect the sleep cycle.

While having no noise in your sleeping environment is ideal, you can also replace the television with music, white noise, or nature soundtracks, which are soothing and do not cause the brain to stay partially engaged with what you are listening to.

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