Turning off your brain at night

Have you ever just wished there was a switch that you could flick to turn off your brain at night? There has been countless nights where I lay in bed, and just wish that all the thoughts that are running through my mind will just stop.  

So why do we have all these running through our mind right as we are trying to go to sleep?  When you lay down to go to sleep, there is nothing else there to distract you and nothing see you have to think about besides the thoughts that are occurring. Barry Gordon, professor at  John Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains why this is happening.  He states that:

 "We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. Slips of the tongue and accidental actions offer glimpses of our unfiltered subconscious mental life... Although thoughts appear to "pop" into awareness before bedtimetheir cognitive precursors have probably been simmering for a while. Once those preconscious thoughts gather sufficient strength, the full spotlight of consciousness beams down on them. The mind's freewheeling friskiness is only partly under our control, so shutting our mind off before we sleep is not possible." (Johns Hopkins)

Therefore all those thoughts that we have been thinking all day in the back of our mind, find their way to the front of your mind... conveniently while you're trying to go to sleep. What can be done in order to try and fall asleep without all these thoughts?

Authors Rachel Manber and Colleen E. Carney wrote a book, entitled "Goodnight Mind: Turn Off Your Noisy Thoughts & Get a Good Night's Sleep" which explains everything that causes one to have all these thoughts before bed. One thing that the authors mention in their book is that "One reason your mind keeps you up is because you've unwittingly trained it to be alert, according to the authors. For instance, they note that if you spend many nights in bed tossing and turning or being upset that you can't sleep, your bed has become a cue for tossing and turning and being upset." (sleep

The first step to calming your brain before going to bed is to try and avoid napping.  The authors mention that "...you need to associate sleep with only one location (your bed) and one time (your sleep window)."  I'm a big napper so maybe this is something that can help me fall asleep better at night.  The main tip for napping that they wrote in their book is to make sure to plan a nap.  What I learned is to not nap anytime close to when you're going to bed. 

The next step Is to go to bed only when you're tired.  For example if you don't think that you are going to sleep through the night, or are going to bed early make sure you know you are tired enough.  When you are really tired you'll fall right to sleep.  

Another huge factor that will keep you up at night is worrying.  Rachel and Colleen state that "If you give yourself time earlier in the day to deal with unfinished business, your worries will be less likely to follow you to bed,"  The authors mention that is important to try and think of something other than your worries.  Like try to think of a story that won't keep you up either.  

So now tonight while you are trying to go to sleep, try out some of these and relax and maybe you will get a good nights sleep!



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