How to switch off a busy brain before bed

Try one or all of these seven simple steps to help clear your mind so you can get a great night’s sleep!

With so many things to distract us every day, it is sometimes difficult to go home and just forget about everything. If you feel like your brain is constantly running on overdrive when you are in bed and you find it difficult to switch off, then here are some really useful tips to help you fall asleep that little bit easier.

1. Establish a routine

Designing a nighttime routine can be a great way to help you fall asleep hassle-free. Having a set of rituals that you do every day or at least most days before you go to bed can help your body start to develop a sleep schedule. A nighttime routine could be something as simple as showering before bed and doing mindfulness breathing exercises. Taking the time to clear your mind and naturally drift off into a pleasant sleep can be a really productive way of tackling any sleep issues you might be having. However, it is really important to keep to a schedule or routine until you body begins to get used to a new way of falling asleep.

2. Practice relaxation

Going to bed worried or anxious doesn’t always lead to the best night’s sleep, so taking the time to relax can be a really useful way to help your brain switch off from any of the things that are causing it any distress. Breathing exercises can be really effective and can literally be done at the side of your bed.

Try this exercise to clear clogged breathing passages:

From a standing position, bend forward from your waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor. As you inhale, slowly and deeply return to a standing position by rolling up slowly, lifting your head last. Hold your breath for a few seconds in this standing position. Exhale slowly as you return to the first position. After a few breaths, you should feel more relaxed and centred. This is also a great exercise to practice throughout the day to relieve muscle stiffness.

3. Unwind before you head to bed

Although it might sound difficult to some, refraining from using your phone before bed can help you fall asleep faster. Of course it is easier said than done and if you feel stressed often being on your phone can take your mind off any worries you might have. However, most of the time, technology like phones, tablets and computers are the reasons we are kept awake. All of these devices admit a blue light which can suppress the release of melatonin in our brains, which can lead to a lower quality of sleep.

4. Get out of bed

Do something productive for fifteen minutes to a half an hour to take your mind off what is it that is preventing you from falling asleep. Lying in bed and dwelling on the fact that you can’t fall asleep won’t help, so instead use your time wisely. Get on top of the piles of washing, spring clean your fridge or do whatever you feel will take your mind off things. After thirty minutes, try hitting the hay again and hopefully you might feel a little more relaxed and even accomplished. Top tip: resist the temptation to use any devices as you want to reduce the amount of blue light you are in contact with at night before going to bed.

5. Write it down

If you find it difficult to just fall asleep because there is something on your mind, the best thing to do is to get a journal and make a list of the things that are worrying you. By writing it down, you can then look at the problem and see how you can solve it. Once it is on paper, you can make a list and a plan to tackle it.

6. Pamper yourself

There is nothing more relaxing than taking a warm shower or bath before getting into your pyjamas and jumping into a cosy, warm bed.

7. Make your bedroom a sanctuary

Is your room a calm and clean space or a cluttered and chaotic mess? You might not realise it now, but how clean your sleeping space is can often have an effect on how easy you find it to fall asleep. If your room looks messy then things can seem unorganised and unproductive which can sometimes feel overwhelming at a time when you are trying to relax. By spending twenty minutes before bed cleaning your room, you are ticking off another thing on your mental to-do list! An organised room means an organised mind and you’ll find that it is easier to fall asleep as you know where everything is and your room looks neat and tidy.

Image source: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash