How To De-Stress At Night & Quiet The Racing Thoughts Going Through Your Mind
Turning your mind off enough to go to sleep is no easy task. I have spent my fair share of nights frustrated by the speed with which my thoughts whirl around my head, and my inability to turn them off, inevitably leading me to stay awake much later than I prefer. Figuring out how to de-stress at night has become a major element in both my success rate for falling asleep, and quelling the anxiety that can come along with a journey to what I like to call the Land of Nod.
Keep in mind that, if you deal with stress and/or anxiety during the day, there's a good chance that it's going to affect your #SleepGoals later that night. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 54 percent of people who deal with stress or anxiety say that it definitely increases their worries about falling asleep at night.
For me, part of dealing with this has simply involved having a bag of tricks up my sleeve, both for when I can't sleep, and just as a preparation to relax and get myself ready for bed. I find that having a bit of a ritual — things that make me feel calm, safe, and heck, sometimes totally distracted — gets my head to simmer down enough to finally drift off so I can get the rest I need and deserve. Try some of these tricks out for yourself, and before you know it, you might just be too relaxed and stress-free to even stay awake.
1. Listen To The Sound of Rain
Or an ocean, or a jungle. I find calming noises make me feel safe and can replace the chattering noise in my head. I personally like to listen to these sounds and imagine myself relaxing in a cabin in Costa Rica during a summer storm. After a few moments of the gentle pummeling of rain drops on a roof, I'm usually out like a light.
White noise can also really help block out street sounds or upstairs neighbors if that's an issue for you, and it keep your ears happy.
2. Use Calming Scents
I burn sage most nights before I sleep because it's said to clear out bad energy, but essentials oils and pillow sprays are another great option. The one above comes from the awesome peeps over at Calm.com, which has pretty great calming meditations and recorded stories specifically made to help you sleep.
The whole idea behind essential oils is that these concentrated liquids carry "volatile aroma compounds" from plants. Plus, certain scents are said to provide health and wellness benefits, like lavender and chamomile, which are believed to help relax you.
3. Try A Few Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques can reduce tension and actually slow down your heartbeat.
Try a few and see for yourself. Often after 10 minutes or so, I fall into a deep, deep slumber — just from breathing!
4. Make Sure Your Room Is Clean
When I have stuff strewn about all over the place in my room, I find it difficult to relax. Making sure your room feels calm and well taken care of can really help set the stage for a restful slumber.
Studies actually show that the cleanliness of your home can affect your levels of depression, stress, and even your physical health.
5. Make A Gratitude List
Yes, adopt an attitude of gratitude, my friend. Along with actually making you feel happier, practicing gratitude can be a great way to distract you and turn stressful thoughts into something more concrete, simple, and positive.
6. Imagine Something Fantastic
It could be imagining you've published a book and are at a signing, or that you and Channing Tatum are headed down to Panama for nice vacation, or maybe it's just the peaceful view from your grandma's house into her lovely backyard.
Whatever it is, positive visualization can be a really powerful and useful technique to relax your mind and help lull you into catching those much needed Zs.
7. Read Something That Will Make You Laugh
Sometimes, when my mind is racing but my body feels tired, I simply need to focus on something external in order to feel like I can shut down for the night. Since screens are proven to disrupt sleep, I usually opt for books, particularly smart ones that will make me laugh. Now is not the time for true crime, you dig?
8. Meditate By Candlelight
Now, you have to make sure you don't relax too much, because you need to blow this puppy out before bed. But lighting a lovely scented candle and listening to a guided meditation can be a great way to help you de-stress and create a calm, tranquil setting in your room.
9. Make Your Bed An Enjoyable Safe Haven
Clean, cozy, comfortable sheets, your preferred number of pillows, and just the right temperature — make your bed into a place you never want to leave.