Whether it’s a pandemic or nerves for an important (video) meeting we all have trouble sleeping from time to time. Sometimes it’s not clear what keeps you awake, maybe your brain just hasn’t processed the day yet and in the quiet hours, it wanders around in the dark bumping into things.
For me, it’s often the case that my brain is trying to decide what to do next. They say to sleep on it when you can’t decide between two options, but when there are multiple options it can be difficult to get that sleep.
A sense of overwhelm can have your brain jumping through hoops without even noticing their colour. You know you need to slow it down but the more you try, the more difficult it gets.
If I have trouble sleeping, I go back to some of the science I know.
- Allow the thoughts to exist but don’t follow them. This is a technique practised in meditation.
- Focus on your breathing, or if you prefer, count sheep. Focusing on something repetitive can calm the mind.
- Grab a notepad and pen or your phone and make a brief note of the thoughts you have, just headlines and a hint are enough. Getting the basic thoughts out where you know you’ll see them tomorrow allows your brain to relax. It’s like you’re saying, ‘it’s ok, I’ve got this’.
- The longer you lie in bed awake the less likely you are to drift off. If you feel like sleep will just not come, then get out of bed. Go and read a book or do something similar. There is still debate on whether blue light from an electronic device is disruptive or not, but if you go to your phone or iPad then stay off social media at least. Head back to bed when you feel sleepy.
- If you find that none of the above works then give up. Take note of what your brain is worrying about. Write down the thoughts fully. Get them out in the open, in all their gory detail. Write down a few solutions to the worries, without censorship. Make a list of pros and cons. Work at the worry until you feel you’ve dumped all the thoughts out. You will then feel like sleep, or if not, then you have formed some thoughts that you can review later, in the daylight.
- Finally, write a blog post. If you can’t quieten your brain, then maybe you can help quieten somebody else’s.
And with that thought, I’ll head back to my bed safe in the knowledge that tomorrow I’ll find a suitable picture to use with this post and I’ll debate whether it makes sense to post this out for you all. If you’re reading this then I thought it might just help.
These tips are amongst the ones I’ve shared with clients early in their journey out of overwhelm to stress-free success, they work for most folk. I hope you don’t need them often.
If you want help achieving your stress-free success book a free chat, I’m told my calming influence and deep insights can help anyone sleep well.