If you are anything like me, all you need to do is turn off your brain long enough to doze off and rest for seven to eight hours so you can face the next day.
Several methods, some of which are pretty amazing, that help. I have used a combination of these with great success over the years, and I urge you to do the same. I would try two or three of the following options that work best for you.
Engage in “box breathing.”
You should fall asleep within 10-15 minutes. I have already mentioned breathing exercises, which calm the nervous system well. My favorite is the simple three-three-three-three method. Inhale for three seconds, hold for three seconds, exhale for three seconds, hold for three seconds, repeat three or four times. Although this is done to calm your nervous system, you will notice that your mind is following suit.
Write down your top three anxieties before bed:
Before bed, write down your three main concerns. Keep a pen and paper handy by your bed. Immediately after getting into bed, write down your top three problems (one sentence at a time) in your notebook. This may seem like a waste of time since you are not trying to directly address your concerns, but the simple act of writing them down is catharsis – like leaving them in your notebook to collect the next day (or discard them entirely).
Stretch for 10 minutes:
Although some people suggest that exercise is a great way to release the energy of tension or anxiety and calm my mind before going to bed, I find it keeps me awake. However, 10 minutes of stretching or meditation yoga is enough to release continuous anxiety energy, and it is enough to calm the mind. You can use many apps to find a good routine or develop your own app, but make sure you move slowly and consciously.
Replace screen time with a poetry reading.:
It may sound trivial, but it serves two purposes: it eliminates the screen, prevents blue light from interfering with melatonin, and makes the mind focus on one scene, message, or story. Plus, it’s relatively short, so you don’t feel like you have to rush to finish. You should be able to read one or two poems in 5-10 minutes, which will allow you to exchange disturbing thoughts with mental images that make it easier to sleep. This may sound a little corny, but it works because it requires awareness.
Recite a mantra:
Come up with a mantra that lets you let go of whatever is spinning in your mind. It can be straightforward: “I let go today and allow myself to rest.” Or it can be more complex and specific. Either way, keep it short enough that you can repeat it out loud three or four times. If you do this every night, you will develop a habit of letting go, which will make it much easier to turn off your brain.
Although I have numbered this list, there is no established order. Pick the ones that work for you and do them in the best order for you.
Also, note that it is sometimes helpful to change the order or tasks in the “reset.” If you find your ritual is outdated and useless, change it.