Many of us struggle getting to sleep. We live in a time where stress is at an all time high. Shutting down our brains is difficult when we have busy schedules and several worries. Thirty percent of adults in the United States are regularly sleep deprived, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Fortunately, there’s a few key habits that can help you turn over a new leaf—or in this instance, a new pillowcase. As Jason Ong, a sleep psychologist at Rush University Medical Center reminds us: “Each night is a new night. Be open and try something different! What you have been doing to this point is probably not working well.”
Before you go to bed:
1. Say goodnight to your devices: The first thing we need to pay attention to is getting our screens out of the room. If you have your phone or a tablet lighting up your bedside table, it’s going to disturb your sleeping patterns. It’s best if it’s not in your room at all. It’s creating activity in your mind that you have to pay attention to.
2. Don’t force it: We have to stop trying to fall asleep. Our brains are too smart for that. The moment we’re trying to do something, we’re creating stress on top of it. So we don’t want to try and fall asleep. See if you can let go of the notion of trying to fall asleep at all.
3. Try a body scan meditation: Bring mindfulness into the sleep experience. You can do a gentle body scan practice where you’re being curious about just noticing sensations in your body and your breathing. When your attention wanders or becomes frustrated, see if you can just take note of that and gently come back to being with what’s here. When we allow ourselves to be with what’s here, the body naturally goes to rest, which is what it wants to do.