We’ve all had nights where we lie awake in bed with a mind that just won’t stop chatting. Sometimes the cause is obvious – a tight deadline at work, a recent break-up or an important upcoming event.
But what do we do if a restless mind becomes a regular occurrence? For most people, switching off a busy mind before bed is an irritating battle that is difficult to conquer. Why is it that all of our thoughts seem to flood in just when we need to unwind? The reasons behind this are different for each of us, however, managing all of our thoughts is an important factor to consider, particularly when it comes to the quality of our sleep.
- Write your thoughts
Thoughts related to work, bills and our ever-growing list of things to do, can all contribute to overthinking. This is why writing a to-do list before bed can be a simple yet effective strategy, as it transfers the uncontrollable chatter from our minds and puts it somewhere more useful – on a piece of paper. Although writing your thoughts may not seem that profound, its therapeutic benefits have long been used by psychologists for stress and anxiety. Other forms of writing that could benefit you before bed include; free-writing, gratitude lists and expressive writing.
- Have a relaxing bath with a cool-down period.
There is something about having a bath that is incredibly therapeutic. Most mothers will tell you that a warm bath is an effective remedy for putting their baby to sleep, so it makes sense that the same tactic would work for us adults. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of an evening bath is due to the alteration in body temperature, but not for the reasons you may think. When you take a bath your temperature naturally rises, however it’s the cool-down period immediately after your bath that relaxes you. This is because the body’s temperature naturally dips at night, and creating a sudden drop in temperature helps your body fall asleep faster and achieve a deeper rest.
- Pick up a book
You can’t stop your brain from thinking but you can distract yourself by focusing on something else. Immersing yourself in a book can occupy your mind and help you fall asleep faster -the key here is to read a book that you’re not overly interested in. Stick to a book that you find interesting, but not so interested that you find yourself wanting to finish it all in one night. Reading a book will also help you avoid the lights and stimulation from your phone, iPad or TV and pick up an old-fashioned book instead.