Alaska Sleep Education Center

Mental Exercises To Relax Your Mind and Help You Fall Asleep

Posted by Bianca J. Ward on Mar 10, 2021 4:48:00 AM

Beautiful woman relaxing at home lying on the bed

"My mind is racing" - is the primary complaint, of most people, when describing why they can't sleep. Thoughts about work, the kids, bills and so many other of life's worries cause many late nights and drowsy days for millions of people. Learning to relax and get your mind off the things that stress or excite you, is the key to falling asleep. If you can relax - you can sleep. In this lens, I will share several techniques to help you relax and clear your mind - and have you dreaming in no time.

Lay Off the Caffeine

Mom Was Right - Try Warm Milk Instead

Limit your caffeine intake to the morning hours. High caffeine levels in the evening are a leading cause of anxiety and a "racing mind" at bedtime. Many of us get into a cycle where, due to a restless night, we drink coffee to keep us going through the following day. Fight your way through the temptation to use coffee for energy - and your next night’s sleep will come much easier.

Try milk and low-sugared juices in the afternoons, instead. Just before bed, have a small glass of warm milk. Milk contains tryptophan - a chemical which many researchers believe, helps people fall into the first stage of sleep. Milk alone will not put you to sleep, but it may aid in the process.

Make Your Bed A Place For Sleeping Only

Your bed should be used for one thing only - Sleeping. Remove the television from your bedroom. Get rid of any clutter and keep this room clean and tidy at all times. Spend your intimate time somewhere else that's just as comfortable and try on clothes and do your hair in the bathroom. Most importantly, keep this room dimly lit throughout the day with a lamp or dimmer switch. Never use the overhead light, unless necessary.

White Bedding Relaxes the Mind

Clean, white bedding has long been known to help calm the mind and promote relaxation. Subconsciously, your mind senses that you are in a safe, clean environment; free of confusing designs and abstracts. A blank pallet for your mind to deal with, as opposed to colorful lines or shapes. White bedding is also cheaper and allows for bleaching. You can always have a colorful bedspread for the show, just make sure you remove it, revealing an all-white bed, an hour or so before you plan to retire for the night.

If Necessary, Sleep Alone

You Can Spend Time Together Beforehand

One of the primary outside causes for lack of sleep is your sleep partner. Snoring, jerking, and difficulty finding a comfortable position may not keep your partner awake, but may have you up all night. If you're having prolonged difficulty sleeping due to your partner's sleep habits, you may have to sleep alone. Intimate time can be spent beforehand, before your planned time to go to sleep. Spend this time with your partner, somewhere other than in your bed - keeping your bed solely to sleep.

Mental Exercise: The Dry Erase Board

Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "falling" three times, while picturing the word in your mind. Now take another deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "asleep" three times, while picturing the word in your mind.

  • Now, picture yourself standing in front of a dry erase board. In the marker
    tray, there is an eraser, a blue pen, a black pen, and a red pen. Mentally picture these items in the tray.
  • Now, take the red pen and remove the top. Deeply concentrate on what your doing - the sound it makes when the top comes off, the color of the top and the felt tip, the smell of the ink, the size of the pen in your hand.
  • Now, slowly draw a large red heart on the board, taking up the majority of the center of the board. Take care to make it as symmetrically perfect as possible. Now, place the top back on the red pen and lay it back in the tray, in the exact spot you took it from.
  • Now, pick up the black pen and draw a large letter "A" in the center of the heart. Make sure to take up as much of the inside of the heart as possible, without touching the sides. Now replace the top and lay the black pen back in the tray in the same spot.
  • Now, pick up the blue pen, remove the top, remember to concentrate on the sound, the smell, the color. Now, in the top left corner of the board, outside of the heart, write the word "falling" in all lower-case letters. Slowly move down to the lower-right corner of the board and write the word "asleep" in all lowercase letters. Place the top back on the pen, return it to its spot on the tray, and pick up the eraser.
  • Now, erase the letter "A" in the center of the heart. Take extreme care in making sure you do not touch the sides of the heart. Completely remove the ink. Now, erase the word "falling" and then the word "asleep" in the same manner. Return the eraser to the tray, placing it in the exact position it was in before you picked it up. Now, look at the board, which should have nothing on it but the large heart.
  • Remove the black pen, the top, and write the letter "B" inside the heart. Continue as you did before. You get the picture. Continue with "C" then "D" until you fall asleep.

It is extremely important to concentrate on doing everything in perfect order, while not touching the sides of the heart. If you make this effort, your mind will not be able to race around about all those little things it normally does. Your subconscious mind will slowly become bored of the repetition and you will fall asleep.

Mental Exercise: The Bathtub

Begin this exercise as you did with the "Dry Erase Board"

Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "falling" three times, while picturing the word in your mind. Now take another deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "asleep" three times, while picturing the word in your mind.

  • Now picture yourself in a white, sparkling clean bathtub. The fixtures in the room, the walls, and the ceiling are all white.
  • The water is the perfect temperature with just enough scented bath beads. There is a small table with two short, lit candles - one slightly taller than the other - besides the tub within reach of your right arm.
  • Now, mentally concentrate on the smell of the bath beads. Listen closely to the sound the water makes when you lightly move your right hand up and down. Picture the small flame on the tops of the two candles. Deeply concentrate, using all of your mental senses.
  • Now, mentally draw your attention to the two small flames on the tops of the candles. Picture them flickering lightly. Picture the similar size of the flame from one candle to the other. Pay close attention to every detail.
  • Now, picture both hands at your sides. Fingers together and extended, just under the surface of the water. Feel the perfect warm temperature. Now, while concentrating on the candle to the left, slowly picture lifting your left hand slightly. Mentally picture the flame barely getting taller. Now, lower your left hand slowly and picture the flame barely getting smaller.
  • Now, focus on the candle to the right and mentally raise your right hand slowly and watch the flame barely rise. Lower your hand, and watch as the flame becomes smaller.
  • Now, purse your lips and lightly blow the candles. Pay attention to how they lightly flicker as your breath passes by.
  • Now start again with your left hand. Deeply concentrate on every detail and repeat the steps over until you fall asleep.

Mental Exercise: Alone on the Beach

Begin this exercise as you did with the "Dry Erase Board"

Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "falling" three times, while picturing the word in your mind. Now take another deep breath and while exhaling, mentally recite the word "asleep" three times, while picturing the word in your mind.

  • Now, picture yourself sitting comfortably in the sand on a beautiful beach, your hands at your sides. You are facing the ocean. The temperature is perfect. The sand is white, soft, and warm. The water is sparkling blue. There is a slight breeze, just strong enough to lightly move your hair, yet gentle enough to not move the grains of sand. Feel the breeze. Smell the sweet aroma of your favorite soothing scent on the breeze. Draw your attention to the tide. It is very calm, lightly lapping the shore every ten seconds. You cannot see the sun, although you can feel its warmth and see its light.
  • Now, mentally picture scooping up sand in your left hand. Hold it out in front of you, just to your left. As the tide lightly laps the shore, slightly spread your fingers and while counting backward slowly from 10 to 1, allow the sand to fall through your fingers. Feel the dry grains as they pass through, between each of your fingers. Allow the last of the grains to fall as you reach the number "1" and hear the tide gently lap again.
  • Now, lower your arm and while counting backward again from 10 to 1, scoop up some sand in your right hand and mentally raise it out in front of you and just to your right. Pay attention to every detail. The breeze, the way the sand feels in your hand, the warmth. Now, as the tide gently laps again, slightly spread your fingers and begin to let the sand fall slowly while counting down again.

Repeat these steps until you fall asleep. Remember to concentrate on every detail with all of your senses.

Even though falling asleep is viewed as a relaxing process, it has the potential to induce extreme anxiety. Lying in bed while waiting for sleep to come can be highly unpleasant. Fortunately, there are ways to cure this issue without resorting to unhealthy pills. It may take consistent and effortful work, but the payoff tends to be worth the struggle. Achieving a good night's sleep may be the key to tomorrow's success.

If your sleep issue has become a chronic one, call Alaska Sleep Clinic today @ 907-420-0540.  Improve your sleep.  Improve your life.

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About the author: Bianca J. Ward used to be a divorce coach, but now she is a professional essay writer at EssayWriterFree where she provides people with qualified works. Besides, she is a passionate photographer and traveler who has visited 52 countries all over the world. Bianca dreams about creating a photo exhibition to present her works to others.

Topics: insomnia, tired, relax, medication, getting beter sleep

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