Tips and Tricks to Fall Asleep Faster.


I don't know about you, but this is pretty much a constant in my life.  By the end of the day I am legit exhausted, and yet, when the lights go out, my mind starts spinning.  I'll reflect on the day, make a mental list of all the things I have to do the next day, obsessively worry about things that will probably never happen, or just lay there because I'm actually not as tired as I thought I was.  I can actually stress myself out doing this, which makes it worse and then I'm awake even longer.  Also, I am a true night owl- I am much more productive later at night so I can't generally go to bed too early or the wheels will just be spinning for even longer than normal.

For those of us whose brains have decided to run the hamster wheel once the lights go out, here's a few things I've been trying that seem to help:


Write it Out

When I have a huge amount of tasks/errands/ideas/to dos running through my head that I need to remember for the next day (or next few weeks even) I sit down and make notes and lists of everything I can think of that I need to remember.  By writing it down, I can stop worrying about trying to remember it by the next day, which seems to help my mind relax a little bit.  I also keep a notepad by the bed so I can write things down that pop up once the lights go out.

Get Up

If I find that I am really awake and getting worked up about things then I will actually get up and do something.  I'll get my computer and clear out my inbox.  I'll work on a book that I've been enjoying.  I'll do some small chores or go upstairs to my office and make something small.  Anything to give myself a little bit more activity to wear myself out a little bit more.  Like I said, I'm a night owl, so I think there are just days that I have energy to spare later in the day and I need to use it up before trying to sleep.

Relaxation

http://www.amazon.com/Calming-Collection-Worries-meditation-thoughts/dp/B0047WMPVO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408972125&sr=8-1&keywords=guided+meditation

If you really are tired and just want to lay still, you might want to try a guided mediation.  This generally involves some calming music with a soothing voice encouraging you to relax, let your muscles loose, and let your thoughts go.  You can find several sequences on You Tube, or you can look for a CD on Amazon or in a local store.  What's great is that this can be done anywhere- on the couch, on the floor, while lying in bed- and you can do it with headphones so you don't disturb anyone else.

Count

This is basically a form of mediation since you are guiding your brain to think of just one thing, but I've found it is helpful to count numbers.  Just start at one and keep going, and when you notice your mind wandering off, as you know it will, pull it back.  It helps to visualize the number to bring focus to your mind.  Eventually I think my mind gets bored of this and allows itself to drift off to sleep.

Read

You know they say to limit your screen time before going to bed because it can stimulate your brain, so a great alternative is reading.  Reading is not only relaxing because it pulls you into the story and hopefully helps you forget your running task list for awhile, but it also tires your eyes which can signal your brain that it's time to sleep.  However, if you are a Reader, like me, and have a particularly good book, this one can do the opposite because then you want to know what happens next and you just keep going.  Then it's 1am and you're really tired.

Cool Off Your Room

New England has been enjoying some perfectly crisp autumn evenings this August, which has been perfect for open-window sleeping.  I love being just a little bit chilly and being able to cover up with the blanket, as opposed to being a little warm and not having covers.  There's something about snuggling under a blanket that just aids with sleep, am I right?  When it's warmer and humid, we use the air conditioning to dry out the air and make it comfortably cool for sleeping.

Do you have a hamster wheel spinning in your head at night?  What do you do to help yourself stop the thoughts and get some sleep?

7 comments

  1. Paige @ Little NostalgiaAugust 25, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Ha! That comic is so my life. Last night I was wiped out from taking the nephews to Disneyland, but when did my brain decide to get stressed about life? At bed time. Of course. Reading usually calms me down, or lately I've been finding stuff to watch on my phone. It's all about distracting myself out of whatever is bothering me.

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  2. I definitely need to follow some of this advice as I'm always thinking about things before I fall asleep, while Andrew is completely passed out next to me. Sometimes I get texts from particular friends around 10:30 or 11, right when I'm preparing to go to bed. I've learned that I can't read them until morning of they will rile me up. I also ban anything that has to do with politics or current events and such as it might get me thinking too much too. I've been trying to set up a schedule for the next day every night before I go to bed. It's a way of letting me get all of my ideas out of my head and onto paper before sleeping. It definitely helps me relax knowing that I've purged all of that stuff and can come back to it in the morning.

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  3. I put a fan on my nightstand last week and it has been GLORIOUS.

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  4. I'm laughing because that's how we get the kids to sleep! It's both cool and it's noise. They each have one blowing on them. :)

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  5. Yea, email can rile me up- luckily not a lot of people email later in the day! Right now I'm blissfully watching old Project Runway on the computer. :)

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  6. It's like your brain knows you need to sleep! For real. But reading is good, and even if they say no screens before bed, being online is a great decompression for me.

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  7. I sing Sweet Baby James or You Can Close Your Eyes or something off the Kenny Loggins kids album in my head if I have to sleep in bed with my husband. Most nights though I fall asleep to the TV or my tablet.

    We both sleep better if we don't sleep in the same bed though. I'm a crappy and restless sleeper and he tends to sleep very lightly so I keep him up all night and make myself nuts that I'm going to and can't fall asleep.

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