Shutting Your Brain Off At Night
Sometimes your body may feel ready for bed, however your mind may be telling you otherwise. Theres nothing more frustrating then having your body feel exhausted after a long day, however your mind just does not seem to want to calm down and turn off. For some, laying down to go to bed can mean your brain begins to turn on rather than shut off. All of your worries or stresses can come flooding into your mind, and the next thing you know you are wide awake far past your initial bed time. While there may not be a cure-all, or a button you can press to turn your mind off, there are a few things that you can do to try and shut off your brain at night.
When To Talk To Your Healthcare Provider About Racing Thoughts
Everyone has a sleepless night once in a while, but if you find that your thoughts are keeping you up on a regular basis, it’s time to talk to your healthcare provider. A medical professional can help you evaluate whether any current medications or lifestyle habits are contributing to your insomnia and can also offer some solutions.
Your healthcare provider may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, CBT is a type of therapy in which a mental health professional can help you identify and overcome thought patterns that might be interfering with your shuteye.
Sleep medicationsâeither over-the-counter or prescriptionâare not recommended as a first-line treatment, and they’re not meant to be taken long-term. According to MedlinePlus, your body can become used to over-the-counter medication easily, thus making it ineffective. And prescribed medications, such as Ambien, Sonata, or Lunesta, have a risk for misuse and dependency.
Healthcare providers may suggest medication to help patients get through particularly stressful times but lifestyle remedies and CBT for insomnia should always be tried first.
Make Unwinding A Routine
Whether you decide on getting some exercise at the end of the day, changing into more comfortable clothes when you sign off or taking a warm shower to transition from theworking portion of your day to the relaxing part, itâs important to make a point of switching modes when you get off work.
Make sure that whatever it is you do is something you genuinely enjoy, but try not to use junk food or alcohol as your main tool to disconnectâyou want your routine to become a healthy habit you do consistently after work to help your brain understand that itâs time for a break.
Over time, this habit should become something automatic. Learn more about how to get healthy habits to stick here.
@freestocks via Unsplash
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Take Action: Give Yourself Permission To Sleep
Struggling to give yourself permission to sleep 8+ hours per night? If you feel like that much sleep is simply a luxury you cant afford, the following Tech Insider video with neuroscientist Matthew Walker may make you afraid to get any less than 8.
Walker has noted that humans are the only creatures who deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no sound reason. And for what its worth, my cat Lucky ended up living to the ripe age of 21. She was no Creme Puff or Lucy, but stillnot so shabby!
Scullin, M. K., Krueger, M. L., Ballard, H. K., Pruett, N., & Bliwise, D. L. . The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147, 139-146.
Tip 2 Write Down Your Days Worries
Its easy to forget about your worries when youre in the middle of a hectic day. But, if you take a few minutes before bedtime to write down whats on your mind, youll be able to clear your head and make more rational decisions.Journaling is a great way for us to check in with how were feeling at the end of the day. You might use your pre-bed journaling to reflect on your current emotions, write out your intentions or goals for tomorrow, or list three things youre grateful for. This practice can have a huge impact on our mood, motivation, and mindset and give us some peace of mind while we sleep.
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Ack After Countless Hours Of Practicewhy Are Performances Still So Hit Or Miss
For most of my life, I assumed that I wasnt practicing enough. And that eventually, with time and performance experience, the nerves would just go away.
But in the same way that practice, practice, practice wasnt the answer, perform, perform, perform wasnt the answer either. In fact, simply performing more, without the tools to facilitate more positive performance experiences, just led to more negative performance experiences!
Eventually, I discovered that elite athletes are successful in shrinking this gap between practice and performance, because their training looks fundamentally different. In that it includes specialized mental and physical practice strategies that are oriented around the retrieval of skills under pressure.
It was a very different approach to practice, that not only made performing a more positive experience, but practicing a more enjoyable experience too .
If youve been wanting to perform more consistently and get more out of your daily practice, Id love to share these research-based skills and strategies that can help you beat nerves and play more like yourself when it counts.
Click below to learn more about Beyond Practicing, and start enjoying more satisfying practice days that also transfer to the stage.
Breathe In Essential Oils
For deeper relaxation during this posture, add one of these essential oils:
- Lavender: This oil eases restlessness and agitation, treating insomnia and promoting deeper, longer sleep. Studies have shown lavender decreases heart rate and lowers blood pressure, which helps with relaxation and falling asleep.
- Sandalwood: This oil has a soft, warm, soothing scent that eases sleep disturbances for people with colds or allergies.
- Bergamot: This oil has a slightly spicy, floral, citrus-like fragrance that reduces psychological stress responses, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cortisol levels to promote better sleep.
You can dab essential oil on your wrists or palms or on the soles of your feet. You also can mix a few drops with water and spritz the mixture onto your pillow and sheets.
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Create A Routine To Power Down Your Brain
Most people assume that sleep is like breathing: Your body will just do it. Not true. Modern-day living has created so much stimulation during the day that brains now operate at warp speed, and if you dont give yours time to rest, itll continue going at that speed at bedtime, says David Brodner, MD, founder of and principal physician at the Center for Sinus, Allergy, and Sleep Wellness in Boynton Beach, Florida.
At least 30 minutes before you go to bed, start your preparations and then do something relaxing like listening to music or reading. Keep it consistent, and youll train your body to expect sleep after that relaxation period.
How To Shut Off Your Brain: 4 Science
One of the reasons why chatter feels so bad is it’s all-consuming, and you feel trapped.
Mindfulness is everywhere. Mantras adorn everything from food cartons to t-shirts, while office culture has started borrowing from yoga teachers to bring these techniques into the workplace. It is a billion-dollar industry hallmarked by pleasant phrases and nice ideas: Empty your mind. Focus on the present. Quiet the voice in your head. Respect your inner child.
Simple, right? Wrong. In the face of lifes curveballs, no amount of meditation or therapy will stop some peoples brains from tipping into overdrive. You might know this phenomenon yourself.
When adversity strikes, humans tend to turn inward to work through the problem. But if we dont quickly find a solution, our thought patterns can go awry, creating a negative feedback loop where one confusing thought leads to another and so on like a nightmare spiral staircase leading you down the brains darker paths.
This distinct and sometimes destabilizing phenomenon is called chatter. Chatter undermines our work performance, causes friction in relationships, and jeopardizes our mental and physical health. But there is a better way.
I’m Ali Pattillo and this is Strategy, a series packed with actionable tips to help you make the most out of your life, career, and finances.
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How To Stop The Spiraling
Seventy-nine percent of you have commiserated with girlfriends about being hard up for shut-eye, but only a quarter have gone to a doc about it. Seeing a psychologist or sleep therapist can make a profound difference, as research shows cognitive behavioral therapy is even more effective than medication for helping you falland stayasleep. How to self-soothe in the moment? When you’re wide awake and panicking about your debt or something your boss said, repeat this: “There’s nothing I can do about it in the middle of the night. I’ll make a solid plan in the morning.”
Set Up A Worry Time Before Bed
Heres a way to stop your mind from repetitively listing all the things you need to do , but it only works if you do it before you hit the sack.
Dont worry in bed. Schedule a worry time a period of time outside of the bedroom, outside of sleep, to worry about the things that naturally creep in your mind at night, said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
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Cause The Bully Brain To Shut Down
The way to do this is to give yourself a fixed time. So you have to cover the entire outline in fewer than say, 5 minutes. Immediately your bully brain will snarl. Surely you can’t have speed and quality, it hisses. But ignore it. Just go with your crazy brain. And at first, you’ll get resistance, but eventually the bully, like all bullies, will just get fed up and leave.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep
In our busy world its a pretty common pitfall to sacrifice sleep in an effort to get more done.
Maybe you stay up an hour late to respond to some emails before bed, or finishing that project you really want to get off your desk, or tidying up your house and doing the chores you finally have time to do after working all day or maybe your head hits the pillow and youre trying to go to sleep on time, but your brain starts reminding you of all the stuff you didnt get done today
Dont worry my friend, youre not alone. Chances are if youre listening to this podcast you are a go getter, you get stuff done, and youre no stranger to hard work. But that also means you hold yourself to some pretty high standards. I get it, youve got big goals at work, and youve worked your tail off to get where you are.
Nothing wrong with some good old fashioned hard work until that little bit extra every day grows, and staying late one day slowly becomes staying late at the office every day, and working through lunch, and working right until your head hits the pillowno wonder were not sleeping very well.
A study from the CDC in 2016 found that 1 in 3 Americans arent getting enough sleep. Most health experts recommend the average adult get 7-9 hours of nightly sleep.
Let me be clear, thats not 7 hours in bed where youre spending 2 hours staring at your roof and stressing about your to-do list before you actually fall asleep, thats 7-9 hours really sleeping. Are you getting enough?
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Which Group Fell Asleep Quicker
Before we get into the results which writing task do you think would help you get to sleep faster?
Well, if you said the to-do list, youd be like most participants in the study.
The participants who listed tasks that needed to be done in the next few days fell asleep faster. And not just by a little bit. It was like 10 minutes faster .
Interestingly, those who wrote down more items on their to-do lists fell asleep faster still!
Try To Stay Awake Instead
Thinking about sleep and wishing for it to happen is a recipe for staying awake. This is where paradoxical thinking comes in. If you give yourself the paradoxical instruction to stay awake instead, youll be more likely to fall asleep. If you can be comfortable with the idea of remaining awake, then the performance anxiety and frustration that are associated with trying to sleep have nowhere to go and your arousal level drops. Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford
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Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As you lie in bed, tense and relax all of your muscles one by one, starting at your toes and ending at your head. Not only is this incredibly relaxing, as the name implies, but it also forces you to think about the physical parts of your body, directing your attention away from whatever thoughts or stressors youre fixating on, Breus says.
Why Do They Happen
Although some think racing thoughts occur only among people with anxiety disorders, this isnt necessarily the case. Again, given the right situation, stress may contribute to racing thoughts for anyone, even those who do not identify as anxious.
You may notice that racing thoughts and insomnia increase in times of high levels of stress. For example, these symptoms are common following a job loss, divorce, moving, or the death of a loved one. In addition, your thoughts may relate to everyday stressors like work, financial, relationship, and health concerns.
No matter the cause, these thoughts can be very disruptive. As a result, you may need to make some intentional changes to resolve them.
Worrying may seem like something that is beyond your control, but in fact, there are some things you can do to manage your worries before bed.
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S To Turn Off Your Brain And Get Better Sleep
Ever find yourself laying in bed, staring at your ceiling, and you just cant seem to shut your brain off?
Whether youre thinking about all the things you need to get done tomorrow, stressing about what you didnt get done today, or going down some rambling train of thought where our brains like to go at the most inconvenient times , sometimes its hard to get our brains to turn off and fall asleep.
But the thing is, our brains need sleep. Not only is sleep important for our health, its when your brain forms new memories, and getting enough sleep is key to getting stuff done and having the energy to reach your goals.
In this episode Ill share 3 strategies you can start using tonight to get your brain to turn down the noise, and actually fall asleep at night. Okay lets dive in.
Instead You Should Reach Out For The Right Brainthe Crazy Brain Instead
The right/crazy brain doesn’t give a hoot about being black or white. So if you wanted to teach someone Photoshop, the right brain will accept that you don’t own a computer. It will also accept that you don’t have Photoshop in front of you, or the fact that you’re sitting in a cafe instead. And yes, you can teach someone Photoshop a lot quicker when the bully brain has been shut down.
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Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine
Try your best to reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption for at least three or more hours before you plan on going to bed and consume both in moderation overall. Thats because the stimulation of active ingredients in both drinks can keep your mind racing and your body awake much longer than you want. While alcohol may feel like it has a sedating effect that helps you fall asleep initially, it will actually start alerting your body when it starts to metabolize which reduces your quality of sleep. So, try only drinking one or two cups of coffee during the morning, avoid drink any caffeine in the afternoon, and dont drink any alcohol at night if youve been having trouble sleeping.
Write Down Your Worries For The Day
If youre anxious about everything you have to do tomorrow and its preventing you from sleeping, try writing down your worries before bed.
This way, you can tell yourself that youve already dealt with those worries, and theres 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 its 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 whats 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 youre struggling to sleep, give this method a go and see if it makes a difference.
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