Most of us have experienced it. The difficulty of falling asleep past midnight knowing that we have to wake up early for work the next day. Suffering the mental stress of insomnia is the worst in a work week. There are many things that could compound the effects of insomnia. The stress of not being able to fall asleep soon, ruminating and worrying about work or family matters keep us awake. Singaporeans are amongst the most sleep deprived nation worldwide. Here are 7 ways you can calm your mind before going to bed.
There could be a deluge of work or commitment to meet that keeps your mind busy. This busyness may make you worry about forgetting things you need to do. The best way to counter this is to put down a list of to-do things in your notebook. Get these out of your mind and feel assured that you have these things planned out will help you fall asleep.
If you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep. It is no use trying to force yourself to fall asleep. You may be attached to falling asleep at a certain time of the day. Not being to do so could add a level of stress to your mind. Rather, it is better to accept the fact that you can’t sleep and get up from your bed. Do anything except lie on your bed. You can read a book or just look out of the window and relax.
If you are suffering from insomnia and decide to get up from bed as suggested in point 2, the thing to avoid doing is to switch on the TV or surf the internet on your mobile phone. Stimulating your mind with light and rapid image movements will not contribute to a relaxed mind. Rather you will be causing your mind to ruminate further thinking about what you just watched. So, avoid any screen time before bed if you want to fall asleep.
Meditation has gotten much attention globally in a world mired in uncertainty from the fall out of the covid 19 pandemic, economic woes and geopolitical tensions. Meditation is the exercise to calm one’s mind by sitting in a lotus posture and training your mind to pay attention to the present moment. You can start by putting aside any goals in your mind such as “I am doing this to fall asleep.” Rather, tell yourself that you are just doing this exercise to relax yourself for no particular reason. While sitting, you will find yourself having many thoughts. All you have to do is to bring your mind’s attention to your abdomen every time you feel it rising and falling while breathing in and out. If you are suffering from insomnia or mind wandering often, you can consider signing up for a mindfulness course. Mind wandering has been associated with depression by psychological studies and research.
Many people are worried about something but they are too busy with things to do in their lives they do not notice that they are worried. The easiest way to calm the mind is to start labelling your worries. Sit up in your bed comfortably or you can move to your couch. Think about what is bothering you. If you are worried about bills, worried about your future, start calling them out. This helps you identify what is bothering you. It may not rid you of your worries, but it brings them out and gives you a perspective on it, rather than having your mind wandering over it.
If you find meditation difficult, you can work on a series of simple body stretches. Or you can search online for short yin or restorative yoga poses. These forms of yoga stretches your body without needing to warm the body up. Each pose usually lasts 2 to 5 minutes. Restorative yoga poses can even last up to 10 minutes. As the name suggests for these forms of yoga, it helps to calm the body and the mind down. They also improve blood circulation.
Most yogis would be familiar with this exercise. At the end of a yoga practice, the instructor often gets participants to lie down in a corpse pose. A corpse pose is where you lie down flat on your back on the yoga mat. From there, you bring attention to different parts of your body from the soles of your feet, to your calf muscles, things, lower back, upper back, chest, shoulders, both arms, up to your neck, cheeks, eyes, back of your head to the crown of your head. As you bring attention to each part of your body, focus on any sensations of lack of sensations you feel there. From personal experience, I can assure you that even before you complete the body scan exercise, you would probably have fallen asleep.
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