3 Secrets to a Better Night's Sleep and Less Stress
Written By: Matt Mignona
When you don't sleep well, you feel off-kilter. You're tired, your brain's not firing on all cylinders, and you are negative. Lying in bed tossing and turning when you're desperate for slumber is disheartening. If the scenario sounds familiar, you need to know the secrets to a better night's sleep.
Secret one: Keep your unconscious mind free from clutter
Do you know what happens when you repress your feelings during the day? They don't disappear; they sink into your subconscious, ready to spring into action when you begin to unwind. When you go to bed, your concerns rise because you're relaxing.
Before sleep, you enter a hypnagogic state in which mental images flow. At such a time, you're neither properly awake nor asleep, and thoughts waiting below consciousness have the chance to surface. If you've pushed concerns aside in the day, they will show themselves.
The solution is to acknowledge uncomfortable emotions when they pop into your head in daylight hours. You can also write about them in a journal, since putting your feelings down on paper is therapeutic.
Secret two: Change the habit of worrying in bed
Various causes of insomnia exist, but the number one reason people can't sleep is stress. It's no wonder you can't get to sleep if you go over problems in your mind. When a momentum of negativity streams through your consciousness, you can't mentally switch off.
However, there was a time when you slept just fine, and concerns didn't flow. The problem now is worrying when you go to bed is a habit. You've repeated the behavior of taking apart difficulties when you hit the hay. As a result, your brain serves up worries on autopilot.
Rather than attempting to solve problems before endeavoring to sleep - since trying will only make matters worse - you need to swap the habit of creating stress with a more useful pastime.
Habits take time to form, so changing an old one for a new one won't be instant. Nonetheless, you've got to start somewhere. Gradually change your mindset by carrying out a soothing bedtime routine to replace worrying.
For instance, when you turn out the light and lay your head on the pillow, immediately begin to list things you enjoy in your mind. You might think about places you love to visit, furry pets, or people who make you laugh. Let images of positive topics drift through your mind one after the other. Gently ease any concerns you meet by creating more positive pictures until you fall asleep.
Step three: Know when, and how, to reset your brain
On occasion, even though you've practiced steps one and two, your brain will become locked in worry mode and hang on tight. You might have been sleeping for a few hours, and find concerns rise as you begin to awaken. If so, don't lie there and let problems flood your mind. It's time to reset your brain.
Get out of bed, even if it's warm and cozy. You need to inform your brain you want to change tack, and staying where you are, and letting difficulties run, sends the wrong message. Once you're out of bed, make a warm drink, read a few pages of an engaging novel, or focus on gentle music. In other words, pay attention to something completely different and your brain will tune into what you're doing. When you are drowsy, go to bed and carry out step two until you go to sleep.
You'll have a better night's sleep and less stress if you change the way you deal with your thoughts. Recognize and accept your emotions, especially if you don't like them since unwanted feelings hide in the subconscious. Also, get rid of the habit of turning over worries in your head at bedtime, and reset your brain if it's stuck on topics that keep you awake.