Photo Credit Cris Saur

How to get to sleep

4 tricks to stop your mind racing & get a great night’s sleep everynight

Four sneaky tricks you can use to stop overthinking and get to sleep. 

At night when I know I should be sleeping, my mind wants is to do all the thinking. My mind goes on a spin as I chase ideas and thoughts down rabbit holes.
You’ve probably heard the ‘make a list‘ line. Just make a list of everything that you think of and then your mind will be at peace… For me, that leads me to be up for hours, trying to solve problems or following the tangent one list stated that led to another list… & another.
One of the things that would also stressme out (& keep me awake more) was the annoyance that I wasn’t asleep.
I couldn’t get to sleep because I was stressed about not being asleep.
Not anymore!

Using these four tricks, I no longer stress about sleep. I can easily relax and get to sleep quickly pretty much every night.

When I discovered these handy tricks, I found I was able to get to sleep much quicker. The babble in my head can’t compete with these tricks.
Also, because I didn’t feel stressed about falling asleep, it was easier to fall asleep. Enjoy, let me know how they work for you?

1. REPLACE THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD… WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S

I have found it a massive relief to use audio as a way to rest my eyes and melt away into sleep.

LIBRIVOX

Librivox is an amazing organisation where volunteers read & record classic texts in the public domain (a.k.a. The period of copyright protection has expired) or the author has decided to record and give away for free.

Librivox logo

Librivox is free & so good, you’ll feel like a jerk for not paying

Some recordings are made by dedicated but amateur volunteers (think echoes and twangy American accents) however some recordings are so good, you’ll feel guilty you got it for free (but you can always donate or volunteer to be a reader).

I use the Android app which has a timer so you can set the recording to turn off at the end of the chapter or after a certain time.
Some of my favourite Librivox readers are below with links to the stories I have enjoyed & the readers’ profiles.
Mil Nicholson has a gorgeous British accent (and in her non-Librivox time, seems to write & narrate some pretty racy romance novels).
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Don’t let the name fool you, this is a story filled with love and amusing characters)
  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens ( This one really got me in the feels. You may feel frustrated with Little Dorrit for her kindness but your behind her all the way)

Anything read by Bob Neufeld is incredible. His voice is deep, American, and husky. He infuses each reading with a dynamic pacing so it’s not just words on a page, it’s a story. Some good bedtime books narrated by Bob:

KayRay (as she seems to like to be called) is a prolific reader is incredible. Her voice is smiling, crelaxed and American. Some of the delightful stories ready by KayRay are:
@KayRay loves to read & knit :D

@KayRay loves to read & knit 😀

David is somewhat of a Sherlock specialist. He does different accents excellently and his British tones capture Sherlock’s dry humor perfectly.
Scott Sigler deserves a mention here for several reasons. Not only does he write amazing science fiction / action stories, Scott has been providing a massive amount of audiobook content for free for a long time. Scott is an extremely engaging narrator.
His stories are definitely a cure for being bored when you can’t get sleep. The downside is they are very action packed & tense. Instead of drifting off to sleep, I realised my shoulders were tensed up & I just had to stay up for one more chapter…. Six chapters later…. So, listen responsibly! I had to banish Sigler stories to hours when I want to be awake… & on the edge of my seat.
https://twitter.com/scottsigler?lang=en

Scott Sigler produces masses of free audio content for his huge fan base (who call him Dark Overlord :D)

PODCASTS

Build a playlist in your chosen podcast app (I use the Android version of Podcast Addict) of these positive affirmation based meditations & you’ll be blissing out in no time.
Chel Hamilton's podcast Medition Minis receives excellent reviews

Chel Hamilton’s podcast Medition Minis receives excellent reviews

2. CREATE A ROUTINE (& CHECKLIST IT)

Creating a routine around my haphazard mental to-do list allowed me to knock off everything from my mind and get my body ready to snooze.
Setting up a ritual / routine / habit (I like routine, so that’s what I’ll use but you can call it what you will) of all your pre-bedtime tasks can really help prepare your mind and body gently for sleep.
It helps my racing mind as I am sure I have done what I need to for the next day. No more lying in bed thinking I should have made lunch, I didn’t moisturise, I packed that thing I need for work… on and on.

TOOLS FOR BUILDING ROUTINES

You could just use a pen and paper to write out your routine, but we are living in the world of apps and this is Checklist Legal after all. So here are some of my favourite applications for managing routines.
Evernote logo

Evernote is my favourite note taking app

Evernote is a fast, sturdy & flexible note taking application. It’s my choice for general note taking. Easy for you to build your routine on your desktop (Desktop app or browser versions) and bring it up on your chosen app (Android or iOS)

 

Nozbe 

Nozbe is my favourite way to manage tasks and create checklist

Nozbe is my favourite way to manage tasks and create checklists

Nozbe is my choice for task management. Again it is very sturdy with desktop, website and app versions that all sync super quickly.The premium version lets you save and share template checklists \^_^/ Here is copy of my nightly routine via Nozbe in a checklist template.

The Fabulous App

The Fabulous logo

The Fabulous is a great app for building & sticking to routines

 

Not only does this app already have a lot of the good habits you are likely trying to build into your night routine (e.g. floss, stretch, drink water) so you can automatically add them to a routine. There is also a feature with lots of mini-challenges with “psychologically proven techniques to help you get a better nights’ sleep”.

Other great features include stretching routines, yoga poses and meditations built into the app itself. Only available for Android.

*UPDATE – Sadly there may be changes from the free model of this app to a subscription model -_-

Have a look at my nightly routine (Nozbe checklist)

Nozbe template checklist

Nozbe template checklist

GETTING ROUTINES TO STICK

I love listening to the Productivity Show, a podcast by the Asian Efficiency team. These guys are great at helping make routines stick. Asian Efficiency calls them rituals (don’t let them hear you calling it a habit – not sure how Steven Covey feels about that...).
Asian Efficiency are experts in productivity & rituals (aka routines)

Asian Efficiency are experts in productivity & rituals (aka routines)

Asian Efficiency has some great content available on making your routines consistent:

3. STRETCH YOURSELF

One thing I built into this nightly routineis a good dose of pre-bed stretching.

Now, I’m not going to go into the science of stretching for athletic pursuits and the intriguing scientific articles which seem to contradict each other… if you want to look into it…

We are talking about stretching before bed here so it’s all about comfort and increasing the range of movement for relaxation.
Remember, this is not medical advice & I am not a doctor/physio/psychic so if you have issues, talk to one of those for help.
If you work in an office it’s pretty likely that you are sitting down a LOT. This can really be tough on your lower back and glutes. If your work is physical it’s likely you have sore parts that would love a nice stretch too!
Factors contributing to muscle tension

Copyright © 2012 by the Sports Physical Therapy Section (Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Feb; 7(1): 109–119)

I used to roll around when I went to bed because I wasn’t comfortable. I couldn’t seem to lie in the same position for longer than a few minutes because I was sore and tense.
A few simple stretches just before I go to bed really seems to make a big difference. Stretching at night helps me to the tension built up in my muscles over the day.
Best bum stretches for a good night's sleep from Upright Health

Best bum stretches for a good night’s sleep from Upright Health

Once you add stretching into a pre-bed routine, it can help slow your mind and prepare it for sleep because your body knows that stretching = relaxation which = sleeeeeeeeeeep.

STRETCHES FOR OFFICE BUM & CYCLIST’S SADDLE

4. AN EYEMASK

Little blinking laptop lights, phone notifications, security lights coming on, partners coming in and out, housemates getting home… all these little light changes would wake me up.

I started using an eyemask and haven’t looked back 😀

Any type of eyemask will do. At first I just used a crappy airline one that I had lying around. There are lots of eye mask options… some of them pretty full on with moulding and other features.

I upgraded to this fancy one by Slip (yes, I was probably fooled by all the Instagram marketing spin) but it feels amazing on and I love it.

Instafamous - Slip Beauty Sleep Mask

You can get to sleep and be Instafamous – with the Slip Beauty Sleep Mask

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Do you have any cures for insomnia or a racing mind? And I am always keen to hear your amazing Librivox or podcast recommendations. Let me know!


THE RESOURCE CHECKLIST

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