Calm Down Before Sleep In 5 Simple Steps

Calm Down

Calm Down before Sleep in 5 Simple Steps- written by Alan Anderson

How often have you put you head on the pillow ready to sleep and your brain just keeps processing? This was me for years and it drove me crazy.

The more I tried to will my brain to stop, the more awake I became. The more I wanted sleep, the more my mind was flooded with random thoughts about the day. Also, thoughts about tomorrow and later in the week would shatter any possibility of sleep.

Losing sleep occasionally is not a problem. However, left unchecked, long term lack of sleep can create health issues. That’s why I want to share how I calm down before sleep. Here are the five simple steps I still use today.

Calm Down

Calm Down Before Sleep in 5 Simple Steps

Step #1 – Getting Drowsy

It’s important to develop habits that help you calm down before you try to sleep. The first step is to dim your lighting at least an hour or so before bed time. This helps tell your brain that it nearly time for sleep and it starts to naturally produce a sleep hormone called melatonin. So, become aware of the lighting level around your home and form a great new habit of turning most lights off before sleep time. This sleep ritual alone can be enough for some people to switch on their natural sleep process. Within an hour or so lowering the light levels, you have triggered the natural sleep response and may begin to feel drowsy.

Step #2 – Unload the Mind

As mentioned above, it’s important to understand our brain and to find ways to help it calm down before sleep. It’s really natural to have memories from your day and your plans for the future to pop up into your mind. So one great way to calm your mind is to take five or ten minutes before sleep to write all these down in your planner or journal.

This is a great way of giving your brain permission to slow down, because you have captured all the important information that it has been dwelling on. When you give your mind time and space to unload like this, you also allow the opportunity for insight. Therefore, using a journal is a great way to capture these powerful ideas before they are lost.

Step #3 -Tough Love

You’ve dimmed the lighting and unloaded all the recurring thoughts of the day.  Now it’s important to allow the natural sleep process to take hold. Unfortunately, we are all now so connected we often amp our brains up with television, smart phones and tablets.

The key here is to remove all sources of distraction so that our brain can continue towards sleep. So, it’s time to remove all sources of visual stimulation that distract our mind from sleep.

Calm Down - mind stress

Step #4 – Calm Down Your Mind

Now that you’ve created a healthy sleep environment, its time to work directly to calm down you mind. In step #3 you unloaded your dominant thoughts about your day and tomorrow into your journal or planner. Over time, you mind will begin to accept this process.  The most powerful and powerful way to calm your mind further is to sit quietly for a few minutes and complete a simple mindfulness exercise.

Mindful Preparation

A mindful body scan exercise is a great way to prepare your mind for sleep.  Simply allow your mind to scan or observe every part of your body. As you find areas of tension, feel them melt away on each out breath    Any mindfulness exercise will help you to bring your mind away from the thoughts of the day and onto a single point of focus.

This allows your brain to slow it’s level of activity and accept the signals that it is now time to relax and sleep. This simple act of observing what is happening right now is a very effective way to calm down your mind before sleep.Understand that at first, your mind will wander. So, be gentle with yourself and recognize that a wandering mind is quite normal. Like any exercise, the more you do it, the easier and more effective it will become.

Step #5 – Like Counting Sheep?

Once you have completed a five or ten minute mindfulness exercise your mind should be calm and focused. Now it’s time to hop into bed and prepare for sleep. Once comfortable in bed, close your eyes and shift your focus onto your breathing. As you gently inhale and exhale, simply observe the movement of your breath. It may help to count each out breath as your exhale. Continue to observe each breath as it becomes slower and slower. As the heading suggests, this may feel like counting sheep, but it works.

If you have followed these five steps, you are now in the best state for the natural sleep process to take over.

Moving Forward

Please don’t fall into the common trap of trying these five steps once and then giving up. It’s important to give yourself time to practice these steps.  It took me several weeks to form powerful new habits that helped be calm down before sleep.  In fact, any habit will take at least thirty repetitions before they become second nature.

So please remember the old saying…’practice makes perfect’, and don’t give up.

You may also benefit from exploring these previous posts about sleep.

How to Go to Sleep

Getting No Sleep – 6 Key Factors for Great Sleep

Also, you may also like to check out my book on Amazon- Go to Sleep – Powerful Solutions for Great Sleep

 

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