I have a serious problem. Some would not think it is a problem, but it does interfere with my life. My mind does not switch off. It is hard for me to sleep because my mind is going a mile a minute. I have had this problem for as long as I can remember. There is just too much to think about.
It has been getting better. I have developed a few habits to help me be able to get to sleep easier. From what I hear, I am not alone in this problem. Many people are unable to unwind and just switch off and drift off to sleep easily.
Part of me doesn’t mind this “problem”. I get so many ideas every day. I love the getting ideas. I don’t love not being able to stop the flow. I’d love to be able to switch my brain and all its ideas on and off like a tap. Since I can’t, I will have to do the next best thing.
What is the next best thing? Well, the little habits I have developed to help me. Here they are
1.) Don’t do anything stimulating before bed. I don’t always follow this one. If I am online or furiously writing things out in a notebook before I go to bed, there is no way my brain will switch off. It is going to keep thinking about everything I have just been doing. This is extremely hard for me. I like to be doing something all the time.
2.) Keep a notebook handy. It doesn’t have to be specifically pen and paper, the notebook application in your phone is fine. Why have one handy? So you can write down any ideas you have. I cannot sleep if I have thought of something, but not written it down. If it is written down I can focus on it in the morning. If I don’t write it down, I am so scared I will forget it I can’t sleep.
3.) 30 minutes before bed switch off and do something that doesn’t require much brain activity. Read a magazine or a book. I can’t read finance books or anything before bed, as they just make me think more.
4.) Meditate. I find this helps a lot when I am trying to switch off. It was hard for me at first to learn how to do it, but now I know how it has helped so much.
I am not perfect and don’t do everything I’ve listed here all the time, but I do try. This is just what works for me.
There are a few other things I do to ensure I can get to sleep, they are not related to switching off mentally, but they are still good.
1.) Don’t eat too close to bed time. If my stomach is full and trying to digest whatever I have just eaten, I can’t relax and fall to sleep easily.
2.) No chocolate/caffeinated products after 5pm. I avoid them anyway, but if I do have them, I can’t have them in the evening or I will be up all night.
3.) Eat good food. The healthier I eat, the easier I sleep. It probably has something to do with my body actually getting nutrients it needs and not working overtime to get rid of junk it doesn’t.
4.) Exercise. Keeping active makes my body feel like it has done something and I am more likely to sleep better. The exercise needs to be done earlier in the day though, not right before bed.
Is there anything you do to switch off and sleep better?