How can one clear their mind in order to fall asleep?
For individuals with who find that their mind is racing when they get into the setting of trying to fall asleep, there can be a variety of things that can help.
It may be helpful to keep a journal in which you discuss – write down – the worries that you have and have a column for the tasks or worries and another column with the plan to address these issues the next day. In this way, you will have spent some advanced time before you get into this sleep setting, into your bed, where you have thought through these problems and have devised solutions ahead of time so that bedtime is not the first time in the day when things are quiet enough that you can have all these worries beset you.
Another important source of mind racing when people get into bed is what we would call a conditioned response to the bedroom setting or to attempts to fall asleep. People with insomnia have had repetitive exposures to the anxiety and stress of trying to fall asleep night after night after night in the bedroom setting, such that over time, we become conditioned to having anxiety when we get into bed and, over time, even when we even start thinking about going to bed.
The best method to avoid this pairing of anxiety with the bed is to not lie in bed longer than roughly 20 or 30 minutes awake in bed. Certainly if you get anxious within 5 or 10 minutes, then you may need to get out of bed at that point. The idea is to avoid any experience of substantial anxiety in the bedroom setting—and this is why many people with insomnia over time, find that they migrate to various places in their house or apartment as a means to go to a novel place which is not already contaminated by these anxious associations. However, the best way to avoid this is to not spend time in bed when you’re anxious and to reduce total time in bed so that by the time you do get in bed, you’re particularly sleepy.
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- What can one do to promote good sleep?
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