After a long day of hustle, going to bed to relax and recharge might be exactly what your body needs. However, if you are part of the 27% of Americans who have trouble falling and staying asleep regularly, then you may discover that your brain kicks into hyper-speed the moment it touches the pillow. But as frustrating as those racing, disruptive thoughts might be, understand that you do have the power to silence them. There are several fundamental activities/exercises that you can do to relax and calm your mind so your body can obtain the quality sleep it deserves.
1. Ditch the Screens
While it may be enticing to turn on the TV in your room at night or scroll through your phone while lying in bed, this can actually do much more harm to your circadian rhythm than good. This is due to the fact that looking at screens means you are being exposed to artificial blue light, which has been known to suppress your secretion of melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleepy. Furthermore, absorbing information online or across social media gets your mind turning instead of relaxing, making it hard to switch off when you try to go to bed. With all that being said, avoid screen time about 30-60 minutes before going to bed and try more relaxing activities instead, like reading, writing, or meditating.
2. Leverage a White Noise Machine
White noise machines have gotten a solid reputation for being a fantastic sleep aid over the years. In fact, the Sleep Foundation lists a study that found 40% of hospital patients slept better with a white noise machine than without one. All in all, these machines are able to help you ease racing thoughts and anxiety by protruding meditative sounds that promote relaxation. In addition, if you happen to live in a nightlife area, white noise can help drown out the outside world that may be keeping you alert, allowing you to cocoon yourself in an optimal sleep environment.
3. Do Nightly Stretches
Stretching before bed might sound strange, but it is a pinnacle way for you to become mindful of your breathing, your body’s tensions, and it guides you in letting go of the day’s stressors that could keep you turning at night. Along with this, stretching activates your parasympathetic nervous system, increases muscle blood flow, and is known to release endorphins that influence better moods. With stretching being so powerful towards encouraging relaxation and wellness, taking just 5-10 minutes to loosen up your body to reduce anxious thoughts and promote a calmer mind sets the stage for a restful night’s sleep.
4. Use Visualization Exercises
Taking on visualization exercises is an effort to ground yourself. Grounding yourself allows you to redirect your thoughts about the past and/or future and focus on the present. Being in the here and now is what will help you fall asleep because you are acknowledging where you are, what you need to do, and are not steering away to the other tenses that hinder mind relaxation. For this one, try doing a mental body scan in conjunction with deep breathing. Start with your head and work your way down to your feet and take in all the sensations you feel. Notice the tensions in each body part you are scanning and visualize them disappearing each time you breathe out. This will help your mind and muscles relax and ease into a deep slumber.
Conclusion – Power Down Your Brain
In summary, a good night’s sleep is a critical element for your overall health and wellbeing. Waking up rested and rejuvenated is how you will be able to take on your days at your highest potential, obtain a balanced mood, and run on full capability because it repairs your body to be fit and ready. This means that you cannot adequately function when you are not getting enough sleep, a catalyst that is strongly linked to the obstacle of an unsettled mind. So, next time you are getting ready for bed, consider the mind-calming tips above to optimize your chances of sleeping soundly. Doing so will support you in combating your racing mind and give you the ability to finally wake up in the morning confident, relaxed, and above all, rested.