Sleep is so important! It is so crucial that you give your body and mind time to recover. A regular good night sleep is important to your physical and mental health, as well as your happiness levels, so I'll keep reminding you that sleep is essential for good health!
Sometimes, you can be kept awake at night because your mind is busy replaying conversations, events and worries from the day. Then there are also compounding problems that are causing you to lose sleep, which I'll explain soon.
It is SO hard to fall asleep when it feels as though your mind is racing, especially when you’re not sure how to clear the clutter and just fall asleep. It can also be easy to fall into a negative pattern or cycle, whereby your mind becomes 'adjusted' to staying awake at night, so the sooner you get on to the problem and address it, the sooner you can break this unhealthy pattern.
I'm going to help you TAKE ACTION for a better sleep. Give these strategies a try.
Clear Your Mind
If you want a better night's sleep, it's important to slow down that speeding mind of yours by spending a little bit of time clearing it and letting it calm down.
Your mind is like a 'To-Do' list at the end of every day. You lie awake thinking of what happened, what you still need to get done, things you could have, should have, would have done differently; that person who is making life hard for you (and what you'd like to say to them), and any other problems you have to deal with, how ever big or small. There's a whole task list jumping around in your brain, with the different items coming at you in a jumbled, unconstructive way.
A great approach to dealing with this irrational mind is to compartmentalise anything you don’t need to worry about until tomorrow. I choose to make a task list each night, so I'm ready for action the following day. It allows me to write down anything that I’m thinking about for tomorrow, so that I feel like nothing's forgotten, and will be addressed without fail, the following day. When you write those thoughts down, it gives you 'permission' to 'let go' of those thoughts, so that you can better relax for a good night's sleep. It's like being at work, and handing over tasks for someone else to take care of in your absence. When you do so, you're giving yourself permission to let go of those, but you still know they will be addressed which is the peace-of-mind you need. I suggest you try this very simple approach because it can be transformational.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Blue light exposure is a huge contributing factor to being awake at night, and compounds an overactive mind. Blue light from displays including tablets, smart phones, televisions and computers - is all around us. The reason for your eye strain and lack of satisfactory, revitalising sleep is blue light exposure!
I don't know about you, but I'm hardly about to give up my computer, smart phone, television and tablet - which are all sources of blue light - for better sleep. However, I acknowledge it's a problem and take empowered action by using my own blue light blocker glasses, which are incredibly effective in aiding better sleep. For me, they definitely reduce eye strain and alertness in the evening, leaving me much more refreshed with a long, peaceful sleep. I put these glasses on an hour before bed every night, to bust all that blue light that is responsible for insomnia. If you'd like to get your own pair, visit the shop at AlanaHuxtable.com.
Something else I like to do is have a soothing cup of herbal tea an hour or so before bed because I find it really relaxing. My favourite tea is peppermint. Drinking a cup of peppermint tea before bed can help you sleep better. It is known as an anti-stress tea and contains anti-inflammatory properties that relax muscles and encourage calm. It's one of the most popular bedtime teas because it can help to settle your stomach and relax you for an early bed time. While I have my tea, I write my to-do list so that I can detach myself from my thoughts in preparation for sleep, and watch some relaxing or funny TV shows with my blue light blocker glasses.
Follow a proactive night-time routine
A healthy sleep pattern starts with a regular and early bedtime routine and if you want to clear and calm your mind down for sleep, doing something methodical really helps! You’ll be focused on getting some relaxing downtime with an uplifting TV show, getting your clothes ready for the next day, applying your moisturising routine and getting into your pyjamas instead of thinking about the stressful day you've had, or all those 'to-do' items that intrude on your much needed sleep time.
Clear your mind of negative thoughts
Once you climb into bed, do you find your mind giving attention to negative thoughts? It's dark, you're alone, and those negative thoughts show up and run round and round, keeping you from a restful sleep. It makes it impossible to relax!
First of all, I want to point out that everyone has negative thoughts at different times. Sometimes, these negative thoughts creep in when you’re trying to fall asleep and can take over your mind. This is called Rumination - it's the focused attention on the symptoms of your distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. In short, this means that it has no constructive purpose whatsoever, but is frustrating and tiring for the person who's experiencing it.
A way to stop this is by consciously replacing these thoughts with good memories and positive thoughts instead. This can help distract you while you relax and fall asleep. To help you focus on good memories and positive thoughts, try to build in more positive actions to your day, so that you can use these as your distraction at night. It can be as simple as doing some extra exercise or eating more fruit than what you'd normally have, which means that you've done something positive and helpful for your health; or it might be something kind that you did for another person.
Each night, by spending a few minutes before bed thinking about something good from that day, you can feel more strength and happiness, which stimulates peace-of-mind. If you're finding it hard to get in this positive space, you might consider writing a journal to remind yourself of everything you’re grateful for, or make a list of things you do well. This process helps you to re-focus on the positive moments of each day, even if they seem small. Taking notice of positive things you have done can help to build your self-confidence too — you can't lose!
Take a few deep breaths
We've all heard that taking some deep breaths does amazing things - and it's true! When you focus on your breathing, you distract your brain from ruminating. A different part of your brain is required to count as you breathe in and out, forcing you to clear your mind and put an end to that repetitive and unconstructive thought pattern.
To do this, draw in a long, SLOW, deep breath while counting to five. Pause for 3 seconds, then exhale SLOWLY and gradually by breathing out through your nose and counting for 5 seconds. Pause for two seconds before repeating. This is very effective at slowing your heart rate from its former stressed state, and placing your body and mind into a more relaxed state for rest.
Instead of just accepting your sleepless fate, know that there is always something you can do to change things. Even if you've been someone who has lacked sleep their whole life, it's never too late to break old patterns and improve things for the better. I know you'll find these tips super helpful. They're so simple, but collectively, they can make a HUGE difference when it comes to slowing down your mind, clearing your thoughts and relaxing to stimulate better sleep.
Give these tips a try and see the results for yourself.