After a long and exhausting day, do you find that you still have trouble falling asleep? If you’re so tired, you would think that you could be fast asleep within fifteen minutes. As you lay in bed, you might replay conversations from the day or go over your to-do list for tomorrow. Maybe you even worry about the rest of your week and what needs to get done. You might try watching some TV for a few minutes or start scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, but that doesn’t help distract you either. It’s possible that anxiety is keeping you up at night. Here are some tips to help you fall asleep faster.
Visualization: If you feel anxious, you should consider creating a visual for your thoughts. Imagine that you are placing all of your thoughts into a box. Take all of those thoughts and worries from the day, and push them down into the box. Then close it and tape it shut. Imagine placing the box on the shelf. Now, your thoughts are contained, away from the forefront of your mind; they can always be re-opened tomorrow.
Body scan: If you’re not a visual person, you can try this physical exercise. You can relax your muscles, from your toes to your head. Start by curling up your toes tightly for a few seconds, and then release them. Slowly move up your body, tightening and releasing your muscles section by section (ankles, legs, torso etc). Keep going until you get to the muscles in your head (like your eyebrows). This is a very helpful exercise to relax your body, so that you can settle into sleep for the night.
Deep breathing: Practicing your breathing is a good short-term distraction to slow down your thoughts. Count four slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you count the number of breaths you take, you are shifting focus away from your anxieties. You can even count how many seconds you breathe in and out for, if you need an additional distraction. It can be a temporary reprieve to rest your brain.
Whether you struggle with anxiety or just need to relax, you can use these tips to decompress at night. Practicing these exercises can ease your mind and body for a quality night’s sleep.