​​How to Shut Your Brain Off Before Bedtime

We’ve all been there: you’re in bed, trying to drift off to sleep, when your brain starts racing about everything you have to do tomorrow. 

You might start thinking about your argument with your friend or that project you’re procrastinating on. 

Whatever it is, it’s preventing you from falling asleep, and you just wish your brain would power down already.

If this sounds like something you’re experiencing, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Importance of Good Sleep For Your Brain

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. 

Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your mental and physical health, safety, and quality of life.

The importance of sleep cannot be understated. 

For instance, sleep can:

  • Alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Make you feel better
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Boost your immune system to help fight off illness.
  • Enhance heart health
  • Help with weight loss
  • Foster healthy skin

How to Ensure You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

You can also do a few key things to ensure you get a good night’s sleep:

  1. Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so it’s best to avoid it after lunchtime.
  2. Establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This will help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
  3. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, including winding down for 30 minutes before sleep and disconnecting from electronic screens.

Following these steps can improve your chances of getting sleep every night.

Meditate

There are many benefits to meditation, with one of the most popular being its ability to improve sleep. 

So if you’re someone who regularly struggles to shut off your brain before bedtime, meditation can help.

Meditation is an ancient practice that can be described as mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is being in the present moment and aware of your thoughts, emotions and surroundings without judgment. 

For example, when you meditate, you direct your attention to your breath and let other thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them.

Regular meditation can help improve sleep quality, increase sleep duration, reduce insomnia, and even decrease the symptoms of sleep disorders like sleep apnea. 

For example, people who meditated for 20 minutes each day for eight weeks slept an average of 45 minutes longer each night than before the study.

If you’re new to meditation, don’t worry — there are loads of resources that can help you get started, like guided meditations and apps like Headspace and Calm. 

Once you find a meditation practice that works for you, stick with it — the more consistent you are, the more likely you will experience the benefits.

Turn the Lights Down Low

The importance of turning the lights low before bedtime cannot be overstated. 

Not only does it help you sleep better, but it can also improve your mood and energy levels during the day.

What are the benefits of sleeping with lowlights? 

For one, it signals to your brain that it’s time to start producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. 

Low light can also help reduce your body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can keep you awake at night.

If you have difficulty falling asleep or feel stressed and anxious at night, try dimming the lights an hour or so before bedtime. 

It might make a world of difference.

Write Down Your Worries for the Day

If you’re anxious about everything you have to do tomorrow and it’s preventing you from sleeping, try writing down your worries before bed. 

This way, you can tell yourself that you’ve already dealt with those worries, and there’s no need to keep thinking about them. 

This should help ease the anxiety in your brain and allow you to get better sleep.

Some people find it helpful to have a notepad by their bed to write down their worries as soon as they think of them. 

Others prefer to spend 10-15 minutes before bed brainstorming everything on their minds. 

Then, once it’s all written down, they can forget it until the next day.

There are many benefits to writing down your worries before bedtime. 

Doing so can help you become more aware of what’s causing your anxiety, leading to better problem-solving skills. 

You may also feel more in control and less helpless. 

Additionally, getting rid of worries can help improve your sleep quality.

If you’re struggling to sleep, give this method a go and see if it makes a difference.

Listen to Relaxing Music

Listening to relaxing music before bedtime can help improve your sleep quality. 

The right music can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly. 

It can also help you stay asleep for longer.

There are various genres of music that can be beneficial for sleep. 

For example, some prefer classical music, while others find soft rock or nature more helpful. 

Try different types of music to see what works best for you. 

Some apps even create personalized sleep-inducing playlists based on your preferences.

Read a Few Book Chapters

If you’re tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep, reading a few book chapters before bed might help.

Reading for only six minutes can lower stress by 68%. 

So if you’re trying to relax and prepare for sleep, you need to find something to take your mind off the day’s anxieties and calm you down. 

A good book can do just that.

So, finding a book that you like—for example, a detective novel, beach read or historical fiction—and reading a few chapters each night could be the key to finally getting some shut-eye.

Focus on Your Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the most useful ways to de-stress and calm yourself. 

When you concentrate on your breath, it will help to silence your intrusive thoughts and slow down your heart rate. 

This relaxation method can be done anytime, anywhere.

Get started by finding a position you’re comfortable in. 

You can sit in a chair with your feet on the ground or lie in bed. 

Once you’re settled, close your eyes and take deep breaths through your nose. 

Imagine the air moving down into your lungs and to your stomach. 

Slowly exhale through your mouth, letting all the tension leave your body with each breath.

Keep breathing deeply for 10 minutes or for as long as you have. 

You might not feel relaxed, to begin with, but deep breathing will become simpler and more effective the more you do it. 

Make this relaxation exercise a part of your nightly routine before bed, and you’ll sleep better than ever in no time.

Do Some Light Yoga

If you want to shut down your mind and ease into sleep, try doing light yoga to stretch and lengthen your body before bedtime. 

Different types of yoga suit different people, so find one that meets your needs and won’t get you too excited before bed. 

If you’re unsure where to start, look for a basic restorative yoga class or some gentle yoga poses online.

Conclusion

If you’re having difficulty falling asleep, there are a few things you can do to ease your mind. 

First, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. 

It’s also helpful to maintain a regular sleep schedule. 

Finally, keep work and electronic devices out of your bedroom, and create a calming environment.