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Have you ever gotten into bed at night to sleep but had trouble because you just couldn’t turn your mind off?
I used to have this problem all the time – and sometimes I still do. Whether I was too stressed, overthinking every little detail about the day, or my mind just wouldn’t stop wandering – it took me forever to get to sleep.
If you have the same problem, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, especially among people with anxiety.
The real problem is that sleep is super important so your stress or anxiety could get worse when you’re not getting a full, restful night’s sleep.
But no matter what’s causing this problem for you – your job, a personal problem, your anxiety, or something else – there are ways that you can work through it.
Here are some tips for turning your mind off at night when you’re too stressed to sleep!
• First, unplug from everything
Most people have heard this advice, but they don’t listen to it. Our laptops, phones, and tablets emit blue light, which isn’t good before bed. It suppresses our body’s melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep. Also, spending time before bed scrolling through social media isn’t the most positive use of our time. This brings me to the next tip…
• Take at least 30 minutes to unwind
It’s a good idea to spend at least 30 minutes (or maybe an hour, if you need it) unwinding before we go to sleep. Stay away from stimulants such as caffeine, try to stop thinking about work or personal problems, and create a little ritual full of activities that relax you and help you de-stress. Think of things like:
- Journaling about the day
- Reading a book
- Taking a bath
- Doing yoga
- Listening to calming music
- Drinking a cup of Sleepytime tea
• Have a (somewhat) regular sleep schedule
I know that a perfectly regular sleep schedule can be impossible for some people, but try to be as regular as you can about it. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is probably the most helpful way to be able to fall asleep easier. It’s healthy to try to make sure that your sleep is in sync with your circadian rhythms. This is good for both our physical and mental health.
• Make your bedroom cozy
Having a cozy bedroom environment is a great way to make yourself comfy and sleepy. I like to keep my room at a cool temperature and use a warm blanket and lots of pillows. Making sure that your room is dark also helps, but if your room isn’t dark for some reason then it’s a good idea to use a sleep mask and/or blackout curtains. Also, invest in a good mattress, good quality sheets, and anything else that will help. Using a weighted blanket can also help, especially if you have anxiety, ADHD, or other mental health issues.
• Try to focus on something mindless
Counting sheep isn’t just a cliche – it can help. When our mind just won’t stop, no matter what, it’s helpful to distract ourselves. Things like counting sheep, repeating a word over and over, visualizing yourself sleeping, or another mindless mental task can help us to stop overthinking and have an easier time falling asleep. I usually try to name all 50 state capitals or something and it actually helps me fall asleep!
What helps you fall asleep at night? Let’s chat in the comments!