Do you lie awake at bedtime with thoughts running rampant in your mind? If you’re busy or stressed, then your mind is likely to be on overdrive much of the time. Then when you lie down in bed at the end of the day, your racing mind is still on autopilot, chattering away to itself, thinking of anything and everything it possibly can.
Sometimes the thoughts that keep you awake are somewhat useful to you, such as remembering the groceries that you need to buy tomorrow, or your plans to catch up with friends on the weekend.
Yes, these thoughts are worthy of your attention, but not when it’s time to sleep!
If overthinking is keeping you awake at night, here’s 5 easy tips to empty your mind before going to sleep.
- Write down your thoughts
There are a number of ways that you can document your thoughts and get them out of your head so that they don’t bounce around up there keeping you awake all night. The old-fashioned pen and paper do a fine job. But if you have a device in your bedroom then you can use a note-taking app, like Evernote to get your thoughts into a safe place and store them for later.
If you’re bombarded with thoughts as soon as you hop into bed, a simple visualization can help calm your mind. Imagine that next to your bed is a big basket, and every time a thought pops up and tries to hook you in, imagine that thought floating out of your mind and into the basket. Know that the thought is safe, that you can review it at another time, but for now the only thing that you need to focus on is getting that thought out of your head!
Regular meditation has a multitude of benefits, including improved sleep and a calmer mind. Meditate daily to reduce your predisposition to having a racing mind, or meditate by focusing on your breathing when you hop into bed to relax your mind and body, ready for sleep.
- Promise to continue your thinking at another time
Your mind is persistent. It will keep spinning around ideas, worries, problems and solutions as long as you allow it to. If you notice a recurring idea or thought, try making a deal with your mind, saying to it “I promise that I’ll make some time tomorrow to give this thought the time and attention that it deserves, but for now, I need to get some sleep.” You will, of course need to fulfill your promises!
- Do all of your thinking before you get into bed
If you’re notorious for busying yourself or indulging in screen-time right up until bedtime, then maybe your mind comes alive as you hop into bed, going over the day and planning for tomorrow. This can become an unhelpful habit that interferes with your ability to get to sleep on time. Try switching off your devices and creating some quiet time prior to bed to set your mind free and get your thinking done. Once you’ve finished, you can go to bed with an empty mind and sleep soundly every night.
Naomi Goodlet is a Best-Selling Author, Spiritual Rebel, Happiness Hacker and Mindfulness Crusader. Find out more about her and her free meditations here.