- Do you lie in bed worrying about tomorrow’s meeting with the boss at work?
- whether you annoyed your friend by not returning their text?
- who’s going to look after the kids whilst you’re at the doctors?
- is that a rash or just an itch?
- did you turn the oven off?
- ‘why can’t I get to sleep – I’ll be so tired, how will I ever cope tomorrow’?
Try these simple exercises. Practice will help sleep come more easily.
Take 10 minutes in the evening to put your day to rest and feel more in control.
- Go through your day and think about what has happened, what went well and what didn’t go so well and how you feel about things.
- Then write it all down – putting your thoughts on paper can help put them to rest.
- Write down a to-do list of unfinished business from the day.
- Think about tomorrow – what’s coming up? Things you are looking forward to and things you are worried about.
- Write down your schedule for tomorrow in your diary or check that it’s already there.
- Write down the things you aren’t sure about – make a note in your diary for the morning when you’re going to find out more about it.
- Close the book on the day. At bedtime, if these things come into your mind, remind yourself you have already dealt with them or have a plan for tomorrow.
Distract your mind and your thoughts
If you start worrying again, or start planning that meeting tomorrow, you need to block those thoughts. Try these simple exercises:
ABC of everything
- Start with A and go all the way through to Z on a chosen subject. You need to come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet. For example, animals, countries, towns, boys names, girls names, chocolate bars, football teams.
- The idea is that you are giving your brain something neutral to do but your brain is engaged enough to distract you from your worries. If you reach Z, start a new category.
- Deep breathing stimulates the body’s natural relaxation mechanism. Counting whilst you are breathing also focuses your mind on your breath, and distracts you from worrying or over-analysing.
- The trick is to make each ‘out’ breath longer than your ‘in’ breath.
- A simple way is to count to 7 when you breathe in, and to 11 when breathing out.