St. Peter wrote “Don’t worry then about tomorrow,” which certainly applies if you want to know how to clear your mind before bed. There is nothing like worrying about how early you have to get up, or how sharp you need to be at work, to keep you from getting to sleep.
The trick to clearing your mind before bedtime is one part adding a few good habits, and one part avoiding things that keep you awake.
Turn your bedroom into an oasis of calm. Have you ever watched those DIY shows where an expert comes in and de-clutters and redecorates someone’s home? Whenever they find a bedroom overrun with clutter and disorganization, they always ask the same question, “How can you possibly sleep in here?”
How to clear your mind before bed? First, clean the mess out of your bedroom, so your new restful environment invites you to relax.
Lose the worry by wrapping up loose ends. If you have things on your To Do List that you’ve been putting off, see if you can take care of at least one task before bedtime. You will have fewer things nagging at the back of your mind, as well as the satisfaction of what you’ve accomplished. If you do one task every day, soon you’ll have far less on your list, and on your mind.
Write down anything you don’t want to forget. If your mind spins around with things you have to remember the next day, just write them down and relax, knowing your have that reminder. Some experts recommend keeping a pen and pad beside your bed, for things you only think of after you’ve turned off the lights.
Prepare for an especially big day by doing routine tasks in advance. Whether you have a critical early morning meeting, or a plane to catch, simple tasks like laying out your clothes or setting up the coffee pot can calm your thoughts. Just knowing you have less racing around to do in the morning can help keep your mind from racing so much at night.
Don’t charge your computer in your bedroom, and turn your clock face to the wall. Studies have shown that we are annoyed by the little blue light of charging electronics, even with our eyes closed. The red light of clock digits is supposed to be less disruptive, but it has its own sneaky message. Even as you try to clear your mind so you can sleep, your brain keeps asking how much later it is than the last time you looked at the time.
How can you clear your mind before bed, with late night TV replaying in your brain? As much as you may look forward to the comic monologues, late night TV just revs up your brain. Instead, enjoy the jokes by recording the shows and using the humor with your morning coffee to jump start your day.
Angry political commentators may be the worst sleep deprivers on the late night airwaves. And watching these people yell at each other can make you more agitated than you even know. Letting go of this one habit can be a big step toward quieting your mind for bed.
Avoid alcohol as a sleep aid. Yes, alcohol can make you feel nice and drowsy. But fuzzy thinking does not mean your mind is clear. Taken too close to bed time, alcohol may put you to sleep, but it soon wears off, and leaves you more awake than if you hadn’t drunk anything at all.
Indulge in music made for sleeping. Calming music specifically designed to help you relax is said to target specific brainwaves, and quiet them down. It works for me.
Establish your own special meditative routine. Whether you use a mantra or specific prayers, by choosing a meditation that you consciously align to the idea of sleep, and using it repeatedly, you link the meditation to deeper relaxation and sleeping. The more your nighttime meditation becomes a habit, the easier it is to quiet your mind before bed.
Have any special bedtime routines that clear your mind? We’d enjoy learning about them.