Calming the mind for a good night's sleep

Is your mind racing just before bedtime?

It's time to sleep but there you are in bed, with eyes wide open and a brain filled with thoughts. Whatever your thoughts are, there's one commonality: we tend to ruminate just when it's time for bed - resulting in sleep deprivation. In this article, experts share some tips that can help to quieten your mind for different scenarios, and let you drift off to sleep.

You had a hectic day and your mind is buzzing

You should prep yourself mentally before bed by switching off all your devices an hour before bedtime. If possible, go for a gentle walk, before showering to relax yourself. The shower is a good opportunity for you to practise mindfulness and some self-care.
If this fails, pick up a hobby such as reading a book or doing some gentle stretching. These are ways to activate different parts of the brain, to slow down the buzzing part.

You are expecting a big day tomorrow

Write down your thoughts on a piece of paper and read them out loud - you will notice how unhelpful these thoughts are and how they might have made you worry for nothing.
Put the paper aside and redirect your thoughts to your breath to release feelings of anxiety. Consider some simple stretching to release body tension. If you are still thinking about the next day, continue to take deep breath and stretch until you feel relaxed.

You have some cash flow problems

Find some time to organise the bills in a systematic manner such as the amount of money needed and their duedates. List down possible steps you can take and services you can apply for. If possible, talk to others as they might be able to provide suggestions for managing this short-term issue.
If you find yourself still worrying while in bed, reflect on the steps you have listed down and tell yourself that you have a plan to tackle the problem.

You had a fight with your spouse or family member

Wherever possible, try to make up with your spouse/ family member before bed, as going to sleep feeling angry will worsen your sleep quality.
If you are still feeling mad, make some calming drinks and invite the other party to join you to have a chat. You can meet each other halfway or agree to disagree. If you cannot bring yourself to have a calm chat, take some time to cool down first. But it is important to discuss the issue in the future.

You keep thinking about something embarrassing

It is difficult to turn off emotions like embarrassment. But instead of playing the incident on loop in your head, take yourself out of the bedroom to practise some compassionate self-reflection. Write down how you might have handled it differently. Notice how you feel after writing down your thoughts.
Encourage yourself. Tell yourself that you did well today and that it is not helpful for you to think about it now. Use it as a learning point.

You finished bingeing a series and now can't sleep

Save yourself the trouble of tossing and turning in bed and accept that you will not fall asleep immediately. Instead, do something productive and get back in bed after around 30 minutes of the activity. Your body will recognise that it is time to sleep and you will soon become tired.
It may be difficult to switch off your devices but you should try to avoid screen time before bedtime, or consider using night mode on your device.

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