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When you snuggle up in bed at night, does your mind begin to race? All of your worries rise to the surface and keep you awake for hours rather than letting you drift off into the sleep that you so desperately need? Sadly, it’s more common than you think and experts collectively believe that we’re more sleep deprived than ever.
So, how can you break the cycle and stop waking up tired every morning? Thankfully, we can do a few things to make a difference. Here’s a list of simple things that you can do that most experts agree can help to calm your mind before sleep. Of course, one alone probably won’t cause miracles but if you use a few of them consistently I’m sure that a good night's sleep will begin to come a little easier…
CREATE A RITUAL
Most of us do this for our children but forget that we can all benefit from a bedtime routine. Try spending at least 30-60 minutes - longer if you can - winding down. Use some of the suggestions below to create a ritual that supports your mind in slowing down and preparing for rest.
TURN OFF DEVICES
There are many reasons to do this but most importantly the blue light emitted from your TV and screens such as your phone has been shown to disrupt our circadian rhythms, this means that when we do get to bed it takes us longer to fall asleep and we enjoy less deep sleep than we really need. So, if you value your sleep, turn them off as early in the evening as you can - ideally an hour or two before bed.
While it can feel like caffeine gives us an energy boost, in fact all it does is hide the messages from our brain telling us that we feel tired, so that we can power through! It also has what is called a half life, so it sticks around in your body for quite a while; research shows that even in healthy adults it can take 4-6 hours to work through your body! So, when you reach for that 2pm tea or coffee, remember that it will still be impacting your body well into the evening. If you want to sleep well, then try giving it a miss.
WRITE IT OUT
It sounds simple but writing things down can be a big help. You can choose to put pen to paper and write out your worries or take a moment to work through tomorrows to do list. It doesn’t matter whether you write in a journal or on a scrap of paper, it’s never about perfection, the action is what makes the difference. Do this at least an hour or so before bed so that you’ve emptied your mind well before sleep.
This doesn’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment because something as simple as a lunchtime walk can make all the difference to the quality of your sleep. Getting outside helps even more by giving us an extra dose of sunlight but even moderate housework or some time playing with the kids after dinner is helpful.
I’m not sure if there’s anything that a sense of gratitude can’t help. It helps you focus on what’s going right, what you like about yourself or your life. This alone can help to shift your mind from thinking only about the negative factors that are the cause of your worries and anxiety. For tips on how to develop a gratitude mindset click here.
I read every evening and it never fails to help me drift off...often with the book still in my hand! It can help keep our mind away from ruminating over the day and worrying about the following one. Just be sure to read something that doesn’t trigger your fears or concerns...this is the time for one of those light hearted reads that we all love to enjoy on the beach.
So, there we go. None of them are that difficult are they? In fact you might even be thinking that they’re too simple to even make a difference. But, if you’re struggling to calm your mind before sleep then they’re worth a try, don’t you think? Remember, consistency wins over perfection every time and so the key is to get started tonight...sweet dreams x
P.S. To encourage an even more restful sleep, try using natural aromatherapy products in your night time routine - here's a few to get you started..
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.