Fall asleep faster with mental tricks that calm your racing mind

This text provides tips for how to fall asleep when your mind is racing. The more you practice the techniques, the quicker you will be able to fall asleep.

Fall asleep faster with mental tricks that calm your racing mind

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Your body is begging for sleep. Once your head hits your pillow, you're filled with anxiety, which makes sleep difficult, if not impossible.

Experts say that you can calm your racing mind by using relaxation techniques.

Think of these relaxation techniques as tools for better sleep. Rebecca Robbins is a sleep specialist and an instructor at the Division of Sleep Medicine of Harvard Medical School.

You'll be able to fall asleep faster and easier if you practice these techniques. Nobody wants to spend the night tossing around.

Deep breathing controlled

It is easy to calm your body and mind with deep breathing. You can do it before going to bed or when you awaken in the middle of the evening.

Changes in the rhythm of breathing can slow your heart rate and blood pressure, and activate the parasympathetic system (the body's'rest and digestion' system), which can help to reduce anxiety and worry.

Robbins explained that focusing your attention on the breath could help you to separate yourself from the thoughts that are constantly flying through your mind.

You can use a variety of deep breathing techniques. Diaphragmatic breath, or belly breathing, is a technique that focuses on relaxing your diaphragm. This is the main respiratory muscle. Begin by breathing deeply through your nose, counting to six slowly. Make sure you feel your stomach rising with your hand. As you slowly exhale, count to six.

CNN contributor Dana Santas is a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist and mind/body coach. She suggests that you should strive for soft, soundless inhales and treat your exhales as gentle, long sighs.

Santas advised staying in the present moment by focusing your attention on your breath. Bring your attention back to the present moment and your breath.


Meditation has been used for centuries to calm the body and mind. It can be used to help perfectionists quit judging themselves, and it is also effective in treating smoking, addiction disorders, depression and pain.

One study, which measured brain structure and function directly, found that 30 minutes of daily meditation over a period of two weeks was all it took to see a change.

In an earlier interview, Richard Davidson, professor of psychiatry and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that these mental exercises actually change the function and structure of a person's brain.

Many resources are available on the Internet to help you start meditating. Davidson and his co-workers have developed a free app that is based on science and designed to help people meditate and practice mindfulness.

  1. Visualization

Another sleep aid is visualization. Imagine a peaceful and calm place in your mind and then fill it with objects, colors and sound. Researchers found that those who visualized in detail were better able to eliminate unwanted thoughts.

Researchers suggest that if you are having trouble creating a scene, ask yourself questions related to light, smell and touch, such as "Can I feel the sunlight on my skin?" What can I smell?

Experts say that you can also visualize yourself relaxing. Imagine that your breath is like a gentle breeze moving through the body. This will help to reduce stress and tension.

Robbins explained that he likes to imagine the breath as an image in your head which grows as you inhale but shrinks as you exhale. "Those tangible strategies that you visualize and then match it to a breathing are really powerful."

Relaxation of the muscles

Many of us don't realize how much tension is in our muscles, until we experience backaches or headaches.

Experts say that progressive muscle relaxation helps to relax the muscles and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Experts say that you should tense the muscles in your body and then release them in an orderly manner, starting with the head.

As you inhale, tense each section of your body tightly for 10 seconds. Squeeze each muscle as hard as you can, but without causing pain or cramping. As you exhale, suddenly relax each muscle. University of Michigan Health suggests that you perform the exercises in this order.

Experts say that the exercise has an additional benefit: It removes anxiety from your brain.

Set aside a "worry hour" before going to bed

This trick will stop you from listing the things that you have to do or haven't yet done. But it only works when you do it right before going to bed.

Don't worry while you sleep. Schedule a "worry period" - an outside of bedtime, time to think about things that creep into your mind during the night.

Write down the things you have to do tomorrow. This is what Dr. Vsevolod Politsky, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of research on sleep, suggests.

You can email yourself the list. Polotsky explained that the list gives you satisfaction, and you realize it's nighttime and you're unable to do anything with it, but tomorrow you can take care of it.

Experts say that these relaxation and mental tricks have a purpose other than a good night's rest.

Robbins stated that they are very beneficial in terms of conditioning. If your body learns that sleep is the next step after these activities, you will condition yourself to sleep more easily.