Sleeping tips for an overactive mind
Having trouble getting to sleep is a very common problem. It is suggested that a healthy length of time for someone to fall asleep once they have got into bed is 10-20 minutes.
However, for most people, it can take longer than an hour to get to sleep due to an overactive mind.
If this is you, you might find the following tips helpful:
Where possible, turn off/put down all external stimuli (phones, lights, TV's music).
Lay in bed and get comfortable – pay attention to the way you are laying, make sure each part of your body is comfortable (try lying flat where possible).
If you find you can’t relax because of thoughts racing around in your head. Grab a pen and some paper and write them down (obviously, you can turn on the lights to do this 😊). It’s important to release those thoughts to help prevent them from racing around in your mind, because as they continue to do that, your body will be unable to relax. If writing is difficult for you, you can say them into a voice note or draw – anything that feels comfortable for you.
Get back into your comfortable lying down position.
Then complete a body scan – you do this by starting at the bottom of your body, paying attention to each part, and relaxing your muscles. Check your toes, your feet, your calves, your thighs, your pelvic area (back and front), and continue up to your arms, hands, and head. Pay close attention to your jaw, this is one part that is most commonly missed during a body scan. Check to see if your jaw is tightly closed, and then release it.
Then, once you have released any racing thoughts, and have relaxed all your muscles, close your eyes and inhale until your lungs are full. Then exhale until they are empty, repeat this step 5 times, and then allow yourself to breathe normally.
If you find, thoughts re-enter your mind after you have finished all of the steps. Let them pass and continue breathing calmly. If you find they are causing your breathing to speed up, start the steps again.
Please note: It takes time and practice to get the hang of doing this process. Be kind to yourself and try not to get frustrated. Give yourself time to adjust.