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Restless Mind at Bedtime? 8 Tips to Help You Sleep

chamomile tea helps ease a restless mind at bedtime

chamomile tea helps ease a restless mind at bedtime

Having trouble sleeping?

First of all, you need to realize you're not alone. A vast majority of people at one time or another, and perhaps regularly, have trouble falling asleep quickly because of an overactive and restless mind that keeps spinning and spinning. Maybe it looks something like this:

You lie down on your bed, pull up the covers, close your eyes. Your body is more-or-less still, but your mind is an absolute wild-thing: a hyperactive monkey, chattering away as it leaps and swings from branch to branch. You mentally replay events from the past, thinking about how you (or someone else) could have or should have done things differently. You excitedly plan or with mounting dread worry about the future. You wonder what so-and-so is doing, right now, and formulate an opinion about this entirely hypothetical event.

The good news is there are ways to settle the mind so sleep will come a bit more easily. There are ways to connect with your quiet center within, to find a natural source of comfort and ease. Here are some good ones to explore and see which works best for you when you have a restless mind at bedtime.

8 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Quickly

1. Write it down

Keep a small notebook or journal on your nightstand. When your overthinking mind is giving you a list of things you need to accomplish tomorrow—or solutions to a problem, or great ideas for your next novel—take a few minutes to write them down. It is like saying to your mind: Okay, thanks. I've got it now, so you don't need to keep repeating the message. Then lie down again, confident and relaxed in knowing your journal is remembering the important stuff for you.

2. Gently observe the flow of your breath

It is a classic meditation technique and an excellent one. It's quite simple: place your attention on the flow of your breathing—its inhalations and exhalations—with its natural rhythm and pace. As you inhale, become aware you're inhaling. And as you exhale, become aware you're exhaling. Directly observe your breathing, without changing it in any way. Feel how the breath is a little bit cool as it enters your nostrils and then a little bit warm as it exits your nostrils. Feel your lungs, ribcage, and abdomen expanding with the inhalation, and then relaxing back to their neutral position with the exhalation.

If your mind wanders away from your breath, no problem. Simply come back to it, observing its flow, feeling it in your body. If you'd like, you can mentally say the word "In" as you inhale, and the word "Out" as you exhale as a way of helping you to keep your attention with the breath.

And now, as you exhale, smile gently and softly say ahh. Feel how this helps to relax the muscles of your neck, face, and jaw. With each ahh, let go of any of your concerns. Convince yourself there's nothing you can do about these things right now (i.e., from your bed at 2:00 am) and just put them to the side. Ahh.

3. Give a little thanks

If your mind remains super-energized, you can give it something wholesome and relaxing to do to increase the possibility of your drifting off to sleep. A perfect one is to think of all the things for which you're grateful. Each time you consider something you're thankful for, smile gently, enjoy the sweet feeling of gratitude, maybe even say (silently to yourself) "thank you" to the universe. Then think of another thing you're grateful for until you drift off.

4. Imagine a comforting scene

Use your energy to visualize something comforting and uplifting creatively. For instance, you could imagine yourself stepping into a new identity: one that is in closer alignment with your deepest aspirations. Mentally see and hear and feel yourself inhabiting this new "you." Enjoy this playful creation fully like a playwright creating a new character.

5. Distance yourself from your thoughts

Observe the content of your racing mind as though it were an action movie or theatrical play. Distance yourself from the mind's drama by adopting this witnessing attitude. It will help you to relax and "enjoy the show” rather than becoming all worked up about it. Realize who you are essentially is not this hyperactive monkey-mind. There's always a calm place deep within.

6. Employ reverse psychology

If your mind is still racing and you're not able to fall asleep, don't care this is happening. Don't be bothered by being awake right now, instead of sleeping. It will immediately dissolve a layer of agitation which isn't necessary. And in fact, deep relaxation can be just as nourishing and restorative as falling completely asleep. The yoga pose known as Savasana is all about learning to relax the body completely, while the mind is still awake. So don't worry about being awake because you can always relax if you stop pressuring yourself to be asleep.

7. Invoke the assistance of the plant kingdom

Drink a cup of chamomile tea, a mild tranquilizer that decreases anxiety and helps to induce sleep. Or make yourself a cup of warm milk with a shake or two of nutmeg. Or even better, use a plant extract, which tends to be more potent than tea. These six herbs and extracts are known to help with sleep: chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, passion flower, and magnolia bark. Valerian extract is especially useful for calming a racing mind.

8. Take a hot bath

Add in your favorite mineral salts, or essential oil, or Dr. Singha's Hot Mustard Bath. Listen to soothing music, or read some inspiring poetry, while soaking. Then put on your most comfortable pajamas, and nestle in for a night of sweet dreams and deeply restoring sleep. (This one will take longer than five minutes, but is so very soothing.)

Sweet Dreams!

Chances are good one of these techniques will work for you. So have fun trying them out! With a bit of patience and an exploratory attitude, you'll find a way to fall asleep more easily.

And finally, for an eco-friendly mattress or bedding upgrade, feel free to contact us here at Nest Bedding. We'd love to help you create a comfortable and inspiring sleep environment for your restless mind at bedtime: one that supports restful sleep and the sweetest of dreams.