We've all been there: lying in bed, wide awake, unable to fall asleep; this can be frustrating, especially when you have to get up early for work the following day. But what you may not realize is that your thoughts are keeping you awake.
Negative thoughts, in particular, can keep you up for hours on end. So if you're struggling with insomnia, it's essential to learn how to deal with your thoughts and clear your head before bed.
You will always have thoughts. However, most people allow their thoughts to take over as if they have no control. You do have the ability to manage your thoughts and quiet your mind at night.
Your mind and body are connected. They work together as a whole when it comes to sleep. You can't have a great bedtime routine, get good sheets and jammies, and listen to a lovely meditation or read but be unaware that you're allowing your thoughts to control your present sleeping situation.
You can do all these comforting bedtime rituals for yourself, and you should, but they will not work well as long as your thinking mind keeps thinking as if it were daytime.
We all have thoughts about sleep. Some are positive, like how wonderful it is to crawl into bed after a long day and fall asleep.
But others are negative, like worrying about not being able to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night. These negative thoughts can affect your sleep quality, so it's essential to address them head-on.
Before discussing how your negative thoughts can prevent you from having a good night's sleep, we need to address some basic steps. You cannot skip over the basic steps and get a good result. It is the same as baking a cake.
You cannot ice a cake if it has not been fully baked. Imagine you are baking a sleep cake. You need to get those first ingredients in the mix for the cake to become a real cake.
Here are some ingredients to check off your recipe to make sure you are starting in a mindful direction. These ingredients: steps are part of your more comprehensive sleep picture.
Establish a regular sleep schedule.
If you want to start small, the best place to start is to make sure you get up at the same time of day, no matter what happened the night before. You need to set your internal body clock. Your body will be very confused if you get up at different times.
Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
Nothing makes me happier than a cool, blacked-out room for sleeping. If the light is coming through your shades at 5:30 am, your brain will register that it is time to wake up.
We are supposed to be awake during the day and asleep at night—Black out your windows to sleep later in the morning. In addition, a cool room is better. Your internal temperature will fluctuate during the day but go down 1 or 2 degrees at night to help you have a good night's sleep.
Avoid using electronics in bed.
This one seems to be the Universal no-no. If you keep your phone or tablet or computer by your bed, look at the time, and then start to read the news in the middle of the night, your brain will be active.
Blue light from screens diminishes the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and wake up.
Limit or eliminate alcohol before bedtime.
Drinking an alcoholic beverage may help you fall asleep faster, but it will make sleeping very hard during the second half of the night. Drinking alcoholic drinks even hours before you go to bed can mess up your sleep cycles.
Alcohol is a sedative, and some people fall into a deep sleep fast. They think that this will help them sleep. The opposite is true. Alcohol decreases your sleep quality, causing you to have a shorter sleep duration.
Exercise is great for sleep! It promotes all the normal processes that lead to sound slumber. Exercising regularly can help you fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Exercise can help with stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety can create ruminating thoughts, which can interfere with sleep. If you want to jumpstart a good sleep routine, add some exercise to your daily routine.
Get plenty of fresh air during the day.
Get fresh air. A change of environment can help you sleep. Change your schedule up a bit. Go for a nice walk and take deep breaths in and out for at least ten minutes. Loving daily rituals can change the old things you have been doing over and over again.
Identify the thoughts keeping you awake at night.
Really take a look at what thoughts keep coming back to you. What is the best way to identify nighttime thoughts? Write them down in a journal. I believe you may be shocked by how negative the thoughts are. Write down what those thoughts are and why they're bothering you.
Challenge the validity of those thoughts - are they valid or worth worrying about? Replace negative thoughts with positive ones to help you sleep better. That seems very simple, but it is a fantastic practice.
Try it for a week, a real commitment, and see what happens. It is always helpful to practice relaxation techniques before bedtime, like deep breathing or meditation.
Commit to practicing these steps every night. Consistency will help you get a good night's sleep. It takes a bit of time before you see results, but sticking to a routine can truly change your relationship with sleep.
Once you start sleeping better, you may be surprised at how much more productive and creative you are during the day.