Shutting your brain off to sleep should not be a frustrating task. Unfortunately, many people struggle with this on a daily basis. If you have to toss and turn for hours every night, you will benefit from strategies that help you stop thinking and start sleeping. People who experience difficulty falling asleep are at a high risk of developing sleep deprivation. Additional side effects from poor sleep include weight gain, chronic fatigue and mood swings. To avoid these problems, it is important to learn how to turn off your brain and get adequate sleep.
Shutting Your Brain Off to Sleep: Tips
It is not uncommon to go over the day's events in your mind before falling asleep. However, when the time spent thinking starts taking up an hour or more, you likely have some difficulty shutting your brain off to sleep. You can tackle this issue by experimenting with techniques that help you fall asleep faster.
You don't have full control over what may happen during the day. Although these events can keep you up at night, there are some ways you can train yourself to shut your brain off. By controlling your sleeping pattern and evening routine, you can make a big difference in how fast you fall asleep. With small adjustments, you may be able to shut your brain off faster once you hit the pillow.
Leave Work Out of the Bedroom
Avoid taking work with you to finish in bed or contemplate the things you still need to finish. Although it is easier said than done, it is important to make an agreement with yourself to leave work - and the rest of your day - out of your sleeping routine. If you are worried about unfinished work, either finish it before bedtime or decide not to think about it until you can sit down and complete it.Reserve your bedroom for the activities that should take place in the bedroom. This means leaving those last few documents you need to read before morning on your desk. If you have a laptop, don't be tempted to bring it to bed to finish some last minute emailing. Once you close your bedroom door, you should close the door on your day and focus on recharging for the next morning.
Create a "Worry Hour"
When you don't have time to address your worries during the day, they will come back to haunt you at night. Set a fixed time during which you think about, and address, your day to day worries. This can be anywhere between ten minutes and an hour, depending on how long you need. It is useful to set this time when you are close to a phone, computer, or notepad. This way you can write tasks down that need to be completed later. If you are close to a phone, you can often get a quick resolution for a problem that has been bothering you for some time. Keep a small notepad beside your bed. If, shortly after getting into bed, you remember something important, simply write it down. By writing it down you eliminate the worry of forgetting.
Turn the Television Off
Remember, your bedroom is for sleeping. It is best not to watch any television in bed. Stop using your computer at least thirty minutes before you plan to get some shut-eye. The light from your television or computer screen provides enough sensory input to make your brain believe it is still daytime. Instead of your favorite program or surfing the Internet, try reading a book or listening to music before going to sleep.
Enjoy a Hot Shower or Bath
The main purpose of all these strategies is to help your brain unwind from the day, and get ready for sleeping. Helping your muscles relax will also help your brain shut down. Keep a few hours between your bath and bedtime though, as an elevated body temperature can also prevent you from falling asleep.
You can help yourself fall asleep faster by participating in some relaxing activities before bedtime. While you should avoid vigorous exercise, yoga or Tai Chi helps your brain prepare for sleep. Deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises can also be helpful.
Never Sleep Angry
Relationship stress can be a cause for sleepless nights. Going over and over an argument in your head, while you should be sleeping, does not resolve the conflict. Try and talk things out before getting under the covers. If you agree to do this at a time when you are not fighting, there is a better chance you will both follow this rule when a conflict does arise.
Get Some Rest
Sleep is incredibly important. As pressing as your thoughts and worries may seem, you have to make your sleep a priority. Without adequate rest, you cannot handle the issues keeping you from shutting off your brain.
If you are unable to get to sleep for a prolonged period of time, you may have a sleeping disorder and should seek treatment as soon as possible.