I have a lot of sleep anxiety. There are some nights when I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow, but many other nights where I lie awake unable to turn off my mind. I’ve found a few tricks that (when I remember to do them) work every time.
- No screen time for at least an hour before bed. Studies have shown that exposure to back-lit devices surpresses the production of melatonin, which make it harder for your brain to turn off. This means no cell phone, no iPad, no TV, no laptop… Everything gets put away. No, seriously.
- Tidy your house for 10 minutes before getting into bed. There’s something about putting the dishes in the dishwasher and putting your shoes in the closet that feels calming. Perhaps it’s just one less thing to check off the to-do list in the morning.
- Count backwards by 3s starting at 5,000. This one you have to be mindful about; it’s not a test or a contest to see if you can get all the way to zero. You just have to let your brain get tired of all the math and give into it.
- Relax each part of your body from your toes up. Try to send your full attention to each body part, focusing on relaxing each muscle as you go.
- Take the pressure off. Sometimes when I’m awake in bed, I get myself so wound up about still being awake, there is no way I will fall asleep. When this happens, one of the best tricks for me is to tell myself that I don’t need to fall asleep. What’s the worst that can happen? I will just be tired in the morning and that’s okay. Somehow releasing myself from the “ohmygod I’ll never fall asleep” pressure helps me let go and finally get some Z’s.
Do you have other tips for falling asleep quickly? Share them in the comments below!