Can’t Turn Off Your Mind?
After a long day at work do you lay your head down on your pillow and find that you can’t shut off your mind? Do you lay awake thinking about the challenges you faced throughout the day or what you have to face tomorrow? When you struggle with insomnia their body’s want sleep, but their mind won’t turn off. Once your body notices that sleep isn’t going to happen your muscles tense up, breathing and heart rate increase (think fight or flight) and sleep is near impossible.
Lack of sleep can increase symptoms of anxiety. If you already live with anxiety and are not able to get adequate sleep you often feel irritable and on edge the next day. Also, if you are a new mother and not achieving consistent periods of sleep it can contribute to increased symptoms of anxiety.
Many treatments for insomnia include mindfulness. Try this grounding exercise, consistently, for a few weeks to see if you can train your brain to shut off.
Turn off Your Mind
- Dim the lights in your home at least one hour before you get ready for bed
- This cues your body into getting ready to relax mode
- Complete quiet activities outside your bedroom (bedroom is for sleeping not for using the computer, Ipad, or watching TV)
- At bedtime avoid looking at anything with a screen
- Turn over your phone at night so if the screen lights up it doesn’t wake you
- Turn off the TV
- 10-15 Before Bedtime Try a Mindfulness Activity
- If you mind wanders, notice it and get back on track focusing on the mindfulness exercise
- Get into bed and focus on your breath
- Notice your breath rising and falling in your body and the feeling it creates
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly trying to push the breath down to the tips of your toes
- If you sleep with a partner and they are already asleep try to match your breathing to their breathing