If your mind goes rushing about from thought-to-thought and you find yourself problem-solving when you should be sleeping, it's time to guide your brain into sleep mode.
There is no point wasting away precious hours at night, especially on things that you cannot change. Instead, help your brain wind down so that you can think more clearly in the day-time when you can make sound decisions and can actually make any necessary changes.
Use the tips below to help you fall asleep (or get back to sleep) so that you can rest your body and brain...
This may sound obvious, but if you are able to calm your mind by breathing from the abdomen, and focusing on your breathing, you will be able to get to sleep
To do this, ensure the room is as dark as possible (remember to switch off any devices that emit light, like your cellphone or digital clock), and close your eyes.
Place your hands on your stomach as this will help you focus on your breathing. It gives you a physical point of focus to bring yourself back to when your mind starts to wonder.
Breathe deeply and slowly, allowing your abdomen to fill up, and then empty out with each breath. Listen to your breathing and bring your mind back gently to your breathing when it starts to wonder (this is normal by the way, so don't try to fight it, just master the art of bringing yourself back to the physical).
After breathing deeply for a few minutes, you will feel your mind relax. You can then add an image of something calming while you keep breathing. This is very personal for everyone so it could be waves splashing and spraying onto a rock beach, a forest of tall trees swaying in the wind, a mountain range, bubbles in a pale blue sky, water ripples, etc.
Emerse all your senses in this imagery, imagine the sounds and smells, and let your feelings drift towards a sense of calm.
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The art of letting go
Take your mind back to the first thing you did after you woke up in the morning, focus on it for a couple of seconds then let that thought go, move onto the next thing you did, until you've run through your entire day. The real trick is to let each one of those moments go.
For some people, writing this all down in a journal is more helpful before they get into bed. If you tend to problem-solve in bed, planning your next day, or writing down your goals will help you let go of your to-do list for the night.
Focus on a point on the ceiling while lying in bed, breathe deeply and hold your breath, before breathing out slowly. Do this five times.
Then imagine you're walking down a flight of stairs in the sky or a gentle hill. With each step, count down as you exhale and imagine sinking deeper into a state of relaxation - or sleep.
Use these powerful but simple tricks to get back to sleep - or to relax yourself to fall asleep at bedtime. You'll be surprised how effective they are!