In the world we live in today, a vibrant and witty mind is a necessity. That is, during the time you wish to stay awake at least. It becomes another story when you wish to sleep.
In this regard, the mind is the biggest obstacle standing between you and that greatly restorative night’s rest you were dreaming of (no pun intended). As such, it is important for you to know some important tips and techniques that will help to take the load off of your mind before you hit the hay, and pick it up back in the morning.
These proven tips include:
- Clear your head– most people may argue this is not as easy as it seems; however, it is actually quite simple; to begin with visualize taking out the “trash” from your brain (which may include non important details such as a confrontation at work), and placing them in a garbage bag. This step by itself imbues the belief into the brain that these thoughts have no role in your mind, and are wasteful. Next, sleep is just a formality.
- Take a warm bath– taking a warm bath before bed, helps your body release substances known as endorphins. These substances elicit a “feel good” response, and prime your mind and body for the coming sleep. The addition of a pleasantly aromatic essential oil has proven even more useful than the bath alone. Good oil would be lavender or chamomile.
- Got Milk? – Milk helps you unwind in many ways; however for the purpose of demonstrating its effect on the mind we shall consider only one, which is tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that slows down the processing of data in the brain (similar to your lunch break). The result is a more relaxed you, ready to transition into sleep.
- Music– research proves that music can rev you up, or put on the brakes. Listening to serene, low intensity music before bed can help move the mind to a state of relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Another key factor to consider is the volume of the music itself; it should be loud enough to nullify your surroundings, but soft enough to lull you off.
- Counting sheep– this is a time proven method of helping shift your mind’s focus to less trivial matters. By focusing on sheep, your mind in essence becomes so bored that you’re forced to sleep.
- Reading– some people find that unwinding to a nice book( not too much drama!) will help put them in prime position to get a good night’s sleep, while others may become so engrossed in it that the opposite effect may be achieved. However, if you find yourself having difficulties offloading your mental burden, it is worth a shot. Other persons may find crossword puzzles or Sudoku to be helpful.
- Meditation– no other method is said to be able to clear the mind of distractions as well as meditation. However, proper meditation in itself is a challenge, as many persons do not know how to clear their mind of distractions. The practice of yoga when coupled with meditation helps you gain immense control over your mental self.
- Write– while generally not considered a good idea to do work in bed, writing down tasks that you strongly believe you will forget can help you sleep better. If a person doubts they will remember something in the morning, the mind is more compelled to hold on strongly to it. By jotting down a few reminders before bed, you help relieve some of the mental “bandwidth” your brain may be fetching.
- Practice deep breathing– deep breathing is believed to be able to improve oxygenation to the brain, among other things. Increased oxygenation to the brain is thought to help in processing of thoughts, and a better “arrangement” of things to do. Deep breathing also helps normalize the pulse and blood pressure which subsequently induces relaxation.
- Try Valerian– while not directly a method to calm the mind, this herb has the effect of relaxation. Valerian root is believed to have been used for centuries as a relaxation aid, and does live up to its belief in many cases. Valerian may cause next day drowsiness, however, so use carefully.
There are a million more methods under the sun that claim to help relieve your mental load before bed; however, nowhere near all of them have been proven effective or practical. The tips outlined here work for the majority of persons; should you feel the same please consult your physician for further professional guidance.