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One of the most common difficulties with getting to sleep is that people just can't turn their minds off.
You might be tired and sluggish all day but you lay down in bed and all of a sudden your mind just starts going and won't stop.
If you find yourself worrying at night when you would rather be sleeping, consider using one of the following strategies.
First, distract yourself with interesting and engaging imagery.
Involve as many of your physical senses as possible: sight, sound, smell, etc.
The more creative and unusual the imagery, the better.
These kinds of images can then transfer into dream content, so keep it pleasant and positive.
Second, let the worrisome thoughts and images come and go.
Don't try to push them out of your head; trying not to think about something never works for long.
Not only will you start to think about these things again, now your arousal will be higher, too.
Instead, let the negative thoughts play out all the way through.
For example, if you think about doing a bad job at a presentation, think about what you'll be doing an hour after it's over.
Keep going until the stressful part is over and you're back into your normal life.
Don't just replay the worst parts over and over.
You can also use mindfulness techniques to focus your attention on something in the present.
Worry is about the future, so instead, gently direct your attention to something pleasant in the room.
You can always focus on your breathing.
But it may also be helpful to focus on a physical sensation, like how warm and soft your blankets feel, or a pleasant night sound, or a nice smell if you have candles or flowers in your room.
Anything that helps you focus your attention on something that's happening right now, rather than something that might happen in the future, can be helpful.
Finally, there are a number of techniques you can use that might help you feel pleasant emotion with low arousal.
For example, rather than thinking about what might go wrong, try to focus your attention on something that you're looking forward to with joy and optimism.
You could also think of something that happened during the last day or two that you are grateful for.
It doesn't have to be a big thing.
Or you could think of someone in your life who has had a positive impact on you; maybe a teacher, a coach, a friend, or mentor.
Think about what that person meant to you, and how they have changed your life.
Feeling fortunate or grateful for that person can reduce worry and help you sleep.
You can even think about nice things that you have done or that you could do for people close to you.
Try to remember how they responded, and how you felt when you were kind to them.
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How to Calm Your Worries and Sleep Better: A Scientist's Tips for Falling Asleep More Quickly

1930 Folder Collection
doris.lai published on May 7, 2020
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