Think about that one time you got to climb into bed earlier than usual and you couldn’t seem to stop your mind from running through various thoughts. Many people often struggle with turning off their brains before falling asleep; you think about what had occurred that day, the stress of the activities that are coming with the next day, and just about anything else that pops up in your mind just as you close your eyes. Did you do this? Did you do that? Minutes upon minutes go by and it ends up you laying in bed for almost an hour, struggling to shut your thoughts off.
When counting sheep doesn’t seem to be helping you power down for the day, here are some suggestions on how to help turn your brain off before bed!
1. Create A Bedtime Routine
Often times, your behavior can have a pretty major effect on how well you can get to sleep at the end of the day.
“Children and adults alike need to mentally prepare to go to sleep with ritualized behaviors,” says neurologist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Brandon Peters. “By engaging in specific activities, we can better make this transition and improve our rest.”
By keeping a steady bedtime routine, your bodies natural circadian rhythm will learn to wind down and reinforce relaxation in preparation for sleep. A few basic bedtime behaviors to consider making a regular part of your nighttime routine might include: changing out of your everyday clothes and into clean pajamas; brushing your teeth and washing your face; taking a warm shower or bath to help your muscles relax; putting away all electronics; dimming your lights; curling up with a good book; and meditating.
2. Do Some Yoga
Just like there are yoga movements that help wake you up in the morning and get your blood flowing, there are also one’s that promote relaxation and help you unwind. Taking ten minutes out of your bedtime ritual to do a bit of yoga is one easy way to calm not only your body but your mind. Try a few of these sleep-enhancing yoga poses next time you’re having trouble dozing off.
3. Say Bye Bye To Your Electronics
This may be hard, but could be the most effective way to adjust your sleep routine. Dr. Susan Blum, an expert in functional medicine, states that, “The light from the screens and the stimulation of watching them literally keep your brain in the ‘on’ position.” Plus that “one last skim” through your phone can go from an intentional two-minute to a 20-minute adventure through the technological world. For most people, going onto our phones causes something like a domino effect: we start just wanting to take one last look at our email, but end up checking Facebook, clicking on a video to watch, reading an article, etc. Although it’ll be tough, try to silent your phone and keep it at bay during your bedtime routine.