Can’t sleep? 5 steps to sleeping better (no. 5 can help you tonight)

It is the middle of the night.  Everyone in your household is sound asleep except for you. Turning off your mind seems like conquering Mount Everest.  Here are my tips:

  1. Set up a schedule!  Sit down and make a plan. Things to take into account: time you need to get up and number of hours you need to spend sleeping so you feel rested.  Subtract these numbers to find out your bedtime. 
  2. Give your mind time to get ready for bed.  If you have little children, you know how important it is to transition from one activity to the other.  You know how important it is for a smooth transition to say “Amanda, you have 5 more minutes of play time and then we go to bed.”  It works because it gives the child time to adjust to the idea that something is ending and something else is beginning.  In the same manner, our adult brains need time to adjust.  So, give your brain a warning.  In other words, set up a bed time and plan for it: remind yourself of your bedtime (set up an alarm on your phone).
  3. Change up your bedtime routine.  It does not have to be complicated, it could be as simple as checking the doors, the lights, brushing teeth, turning on a diffuser with essential oils, putting on comfortable clothing (or going naked), and reading a book.  The important part is to keep it consistent.  After a few days, your brain will know that following this routine sleep is expected.
  4. Avoid any activities that stimulate your brain.  Admit it, you were waiting for it; everyone is talking about the damaging effects of screens on our brains.  I am referring to anything and everything that stimulates your brain: for some people it is a shower, for others it is food.  If you find yourself worrying about the following day: keep a pad of paper and pen next to your bed and use it to write them down.  Find what is stimulating your brain and avoid it.
  5. Download an audio book (nothing mentally stimulating) or use a bedtime story from a free meditation app, put on your headphones, get in bed, turn off the lights, and… let the dreams come. 
Photo credit: Konstantin Dyadyun on Unsplash.