This election season was filled with strong emotions. Do the results have you losing sleep? For some, a stressful event can trigger many sleepless nights. But thankfully, there are some simple techniques to help get you back on track.
One major cause of insomnia in adults is an over-active mind. As soon as your head hits the pillow, your brain decides it’s time to start thinking about the electoral college or your to-do list. Many people even worry about why they can’t sleep, and that keeps them awake even longer. Sound familiar?
The key to reversing this cycle is to avoid spending excessive amounts of time awake in bed. If you’re awake and worried in bed, then the bed has become the place where you worry and not the place where you sleep. Try some of these simple techniques. Please remember that if you have a sleep problem, it’s always best to discuss this with your doctor.
Tip 1: Leave
If you find yourself wide awake in bed after about 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring until you feel sleepy again. Be sure to avoid anything with bright lights during this time, such as TVs, smart phones, and computers. And don’t keep checking your clock to figure out when it’s been 20 minutes, just approximate. Your clock should be turned around and out of sight so you don’t fixate on the time.
Tip 2: Purge your mind
For five minutes during the course of your day, write down all the things that are bothering you or on your mind. Purging these concerns and thoughts onto a piece of paper during the day prevents you from having to think about them excessively at night.
Tip 3: Just breathe
Take slow, deep breaths. While you are breathing, try to slowly tense and then relax each of your muscles, starting with your feet and moving up your body.
Tip 4: Think about staying awake
This may sound crazy, but thinking too much about falling asleep can keep you awake. Instead, tell yourself to actually stay awake. This helps relieve some of the sleep-related anxiety, and you may find yourself magically dozing off before you know it.
Tip 5: Don’t forget the basics
Try to avoid bright lights for 30–60 minutes prior to bed, including light from smartphones. Perform a set nighttime routine each night before bed. Avoid caffeine after lunch. Minimize alcohol and nicotine.
Hopefully these tips will help you forget about those swing states when it’s bedtime and get you sleeping. Stick with these tips and your sleep is going to be HUGE… okay, sorry about that. And remember, it’s only four years.
Originally published at medium.com