What happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. Except it keeps you awake all night long, and you can’t function the next day. I mean a busy brain! What did you think I meant? So, how do I calm my mind so I can sleep?
Night, worries, and… Little sleep
Sleep has become, for many, a rare luxury. Indeed, for a lot of people, it’s almost impossible to switch off the mind before going to bed.
As a result, you can find yourself lying in bed for hours, knowing time carries on its slow progression throughout the night while you can’t fall asleep.
As for what is keeping you awake, it’s your personal list of worries, likely. You know, the thoughts that you can’t shake, the ones that affect your mood.
Ack, but it’s night now and time to rest! You ask, how do I calm my mind so I can sleep?
The short answer is learning to relax. Really, it’s a long answer though as it’s a delicate art to master.
But it isn’t impossible.
The key to a good night’s sleep begins in your mind. Here is how to take back control once and for all.
For a calm mind to sleep, cut down on screen time
There is so much you can do with your smartphone. You can pass an order in a few clicks.
You can keep in touch with your friends and coworkers. You can check on your business.
But, there’s one thing your phone can’t do for you, and that is sleep. In fact, the blue light from your screen can affect your sleep dramatically.
The blue light convinces your mind that it is still daytime, which means that your brain fights off the urge to sleep. Ug.
Additionally, excessive screen time can increase stress levels before bed. That’s especially true if you’re checking the news or your work emails.
In that case… Make a rule of putting your phone down at least one hour before you intend to go to sleep.
Don’t fall into extreme numbing strategies
I can’t relax. I worry too much!
You’re not the only one to feel that way. However, don’t be tempted to use extreme measures to put your mind to rest.
It’s not uncommon for women who have to handle high levels of stress to relax in the evening with a glass of wine. But, when the glass turns into a bottle, you miss out on the relaxing benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.
Drinking too much has a numbing effect, which ultimately makes you believe that you can let go of your worries. Even though you fall asleep, though, your brain can’t go through full sleep cycles, which means you wake up feeling tired.
Additionally, relying on alcohol is the quickest way to build an addiction that will require alcohol rehab treatment. Help yourself to herbal tea instead, you’ll feel a lot calmer from it.
A more effective and less potentially troublesome strategy can be to give your body what it naturally produces when it comes time to sleep. You can instead look at a sleep aid supplement that provides things like melatonin, L-theanine, and L-ornithine, the hormones that your body produces when it’s time to sleep. That way, you might be able to more gently get yourself into that sleepy state where you can fall under more easily.
How do I calm my mind so I can sleep? Stop dwelling on the past
Holding grudges or worrying about your past actions serves no purpose. You’re wasting your energy dwelling on things that bother you about months or even years ago.
The more you think about those events, the less you sleep. Things can seem so much worse after you replay them over and over at night while in bed too.
The more you think, the more you lose yourself. Learning to let go is not easy. But as you practice mindfulness, you can find a path forward.
Focus on the bright side
Happiness is in everything if you know where to look. As such, practicing gratefulness and keeping track of your happy and positive memories every day can gradually soothe your mind.
Journaling is a fantastic tool to build a happy place, for instance.
Do happy people sleep better? The answer is yes.
Not because they are luckier than you, but instead because they understand how to ease their minds. Soothing your mind every day can improve your sleep.
And when you wake up energized the next morning, you’re ready to tackle what life has in store for you!
14 thoughts on “How do I calm my mind so I can sleep?”
Light is an indicator of day/night cycles and we’ve probably evolved with sleeping during the night.
Exposure to light before bed is basically telling your brain that it’s day time. Then you expect to go from “it’s day, it’s day, it’s day, it’s night, sleep now” by having lights on (and TV/phone!) up until we go to sleep.
Blue light blocking glasses helps, I’ve been using them for years and have seen measurable improvements to my REM sleep as measured by the Oura ring (one of the best sleep trackers).
Additionally, by the same principle, it’s important to wind down before bed. No food near sleep time (3+ hours, ideally), cool temperatures (whatever works best for you, EXPERIMENT), and no straneous exercise (2-3 hours, ideally) 🤔
Just a few of my own findings from personal experimentation. I take sleep very seriously 😊
Thanks for sharing your findings as well 😄
Great article on good sleep hygiene! Sometimes, sleep hygiene alone isnt enough though. Make sure to reach out to your doctor if you still struggle to calm your mind.
Thanks for the post! Many can use this type of info right now. EFT tapping is another technique that’s effective for sleep. Sweet dreams!
All good suggestions Christy and I am a total believer in relaxation and mindfulness. Luckily I have always been a good sleeper and for that I am very thankful.
That’s wonderful you’re enjoying good sleeping time. Mindfulness helps, as you say!
I’ve so been there Christy- woke up in the middle of the night worrying about what I did that day, or need to do the next one. It takes effort to put the worry out of mind, though focusing on something pleasant does help me.
So does making a list of what I need to do; if it’s written down I don’t have to worry I’ll forget something important.
I have lots of those lists too, Amy! They can help ~ Just don’t let me misplace the list! ;)
Woohoo, great to hear that!
I would recommend meditation apps to aid with sleep – many have assorted meditations to help with sleep, struggling with pain, positivity outlooks, confidence, and focus. I use Let’s Meditate and Pathways (which is targeted for people like me with chronic pain), the latter only has partial free content but there is enough of it to provide some really good meditations, including a fab body scan, a good long one for sleep, and a relaxation and healing one.
If you’re worried about phone blue light for kicking off the meditation then select the meditation so that it is read to play before you go to bed; you can also install a filter app on most phones to reduce blue light at a certain time in the evening… though this doesn’t then mean you should continue using them right until bed time.
Thanks for sharing the meditation apps – and how to reduce blue light, Andrea!
Great tips, Christy!!
Hi Samantha ((waving)), hope you’re doing okay xx