You’re tossing and turning from one side to the other. It’s 2am and you can’t turn your head off. You have too much on your mind!
What can you do to turn off your head and get that needed rest?
In your toolbox, you want strategies which both relax your physiology and calm your psychology.
1. Left nostril breathing
Even if you have a lot on your mind, you can cut through the noise and go right to accessing the part of your brain that will help you feel relaxed.
Do Left Nostril Breathing! Cover your right nostril and breathe exclusively through your left nostril. This activates your vagus nerve, it’s the center of your relaxation system.
2. Warm foot bath
A warm foot bath before bed brings soothing energy to your feet and takes the emphasis away from the swirl of thoughts in your head.
3. Dump your thoughts
Thoughts run through your mind as a way of reminding you what you have to do. Once you get them out of your head, your mind won’t need to keep circulating the thoughts in order to remember them.
Keep a pad and pen by your bed, list all the things swirling in your mind onto the paper. (Yes you can do this with your phone but it’s not optimal. The LED lights from the smartphone will activate parts of your brain that keep you awake).
Even better, make it a routine to make this ‘to do’ list before you leave the office, or before bedtime. Then you will prevent the swirling of thoughts before it happens.
Try to organize this brain dump into a plan so you feel organized about it. Having the sense that all your chaotic thoughts are ‘contained’ will help you feel calm about leaving them to rest as you sleep.
4. Worry until Resolution
If you are up night after night worrying about a problem, it’s a sign that your worries are not helping you solve the problem. So you are wasting a lot of mental energy worrying but you are spinning your wheels not moving forward.
Instead what you want is to set aside a brief time during the day to “worry about your problems.” And I mean worry about them constructively – to the point you actually come up with solutions to resolve the problems. Feeling you have control over your overwhelming concerns will reduce your stress and keep your worries from taking over.
5. Trust yourself
When you have built a solid sense of trust with yourself, you know that you will wake up on time, you will carry out the plans you’ve made, or get through your ‘to do’ list. Instead of worrying about all the things you have to do, you will have a sense that no matter how overwhelming you can count on yourself to get it all done. Now that’s peace of mind for a good night’s sleep!