How To Quiet Your Mind And Get To Sleep- 3 Tips and Tricks

how to quiet your mind and get to sleep

Dawn isn’t always a welcome sight when you cannot fall asleep. Photo by Viktoria Hall-Waldhauser on Unsplash

This can’t be happening. Once again, you are lying awake at night. You glance at the alarm clock and it is 2:30 am.

How is it possible to be so exhausted during the day, yet so wired when it is time to sleep?

You know that you don’t want to live like this. You don’t want to go through life as a zombie.

Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to calm your mind so that you can sleep.

The key to relaxing the mind starts with relaxing the body. It is very difficult to have a relaxed mind when your body is tense and ready to react at any second.

In this article, I will show you how to quiet your mind and get to sleep with soothing baths, yoga poses, and progressive muscle relaxation. Learn what to do when you can’t sleep.

Remember, this article is for informational purposes. I am not a health professional, just someone who has struggled with sleep. This article should not take the place of a health professional. Check with a doctor before trying any exercises or stretches. Read my full medical disclaimer here.


Why Is Your Mind Racing?

If your mind is racing, it is important to understand the cause. If you have a medical issue, you need to address it in order to see real improvement. Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash

There are many reasons why your mind may be racing. Stress is a major one.

Pressures and responsibilities from work can cause a great deal of stress.

Sometimes it is difficult to leave work at home especially if you really care about what you do.

School can also lead to stress because there is such a time pressure when completing assignments and testing.

It is also common to experience stress from relationships, especially if you are responsible for taking care of someone.

Anxiety is also a huge reason for why your mind may be racing. It can affect just about every aspect of your life and can especially cause racing thoughts that feel impossible to turn off. If you think that you may have anxiety, there is a great test here.

Ironically, the pressure to fall asleep can make it more difficult to fall asleep. I personally have a tendency of trying harder to sleep when I am having trouble falling asleep.

This has never actually worked for me. In order to sleep, you need to become relaxed but working at sleep is the opposite of relaxation.

The key to falling asleep is putting effort into finding the things that will make you the most relaxed and putting a routine together before you go to bed so that your body knows when to shut off. Below are some suggestions to help you relax your mind and fall asleep.

To learn more about my sleep journey and some inexpensive natural remedies that helped me greatly, click here.


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Tired But Can’t Sleep? Clean Up You Sleep Hygiene

When I say sleep hygiene, that means that you are going to clean up your sheets and make sure that your room is nice and clean before you go to sleep, right?

Even though it is good to have a clean room, that isn’t exactly what I mean. When I say sleep hygiene, I’m talking about developing good habits that can help you sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, that means:

  • A set bedtime with a 20-30 minute nightly routine right before
  • No caffeine for a few hours before you go to bed
  • No looking at electronics like the phone, computer, or TV and hour or so before bed
  • A cool temperature
  • A routine wake-up time
  • Exercise and activity during the day
  • Naps no longer that 30 minutes

These tips may seem simple, but if you are really struggling with sleep, they may be tough to implement. Check out my tips and tricks for sleep hygiene for some ways to make sleep hygiene easier.

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A Relaxing Bath

How to relax your mind and get to sleep

A relaxing bath can really get you into the state of mind to go to sleep. Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

One of my favorite ways to calm my mind is to take a nice, long relaxing bath. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I find that just sitting in the warm water and floating a little bit gets me into a relaxed state.

Of course, it is very fun to add some things to the bath to make it a special and therapeutic. I personally like to add some Epsom salts, which help relax tense muscles. Lately, I have noticed that the supermarket offers Epsom salts in a range of scents to help relax the mind.

I also like to light some candles because I like the fact that the light from the candles is softer and more soothing than from light bulbs.

Lastly, I like to turn on some spa music. Youtube and Spotify both offer hours of relaxing spa music. It is really good for giving the mind something to focus on besides the thoughts racing through it. You can even practice mindfulness listening to the spa music- just keep your focus on the music and whenever you find yourself lost in thought, redirect your attention to the music.

Taking a nice, hot bath is a fantastic opportunity for relaxing your muscles while practicing a little mindfulness.

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Light Stretches

how to quiet your mind and get to sleep

A few light stretches before bed can help combat restlessness. Just make sure that you don’t have any health issues that could be exacerbated by this.

Another fantastic way to calm the mind before bed is to do some light stretches. These can help relieve the muscle tension from stress.

One pose that is great for relaxation is the legs up the wall pose.

This pose is pretty self explanatory- you lie on your back with your legs up the wall.

To get into the post, you can start out on your back, with your knees bent. You will want to get as close to the wall as possible in this position.

From there, you can bring your knees to your chest as you get even closer to the wall, and eventually bring your legs up the wall.

If it is difficult for you to get your legs straight up the wall, you have your legs at an angle that is comfortable for you. You can also use a chair and rest your calves on the chair rather than having them straight up. Also, you can put a pillow behind your legs or a blanket under your back to make it more comfortable. Do what you need to modify this pose to make it work for you.

This pose gives a really nice stretch along the back of the legs. You will also notice that you will feel the blood draining through your legs and that your feet may get a little numb. If your feet start to get numb, just bring them down a little bit and then you can get back into this position again.

This stretch isn’t for everyone. If you have glaucoma, high blood pressure, pregnancy, obesity, or are menstruating this pose may not be for you. Be sure to check with your doctor before doing this pose.

Another stretch that is nice to do before bed is child’s pose. This one is easier than legs up the wall. To get into this pose, you simply knee with your legs underneath you and then walk your hands forward and bring your chest down as far as it will go. You will be able to feel this stretch along the sides of your back and your shoulders.

These stretches are a great way to get your body relaxed physically. The relaxation of the mind naturally follows.

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

how to quiet your mind and get to sleep

A regular relaxation practice may help you feel more relaxed throughout your day too.

A progressive muscle relaxation is a fantastic way to get your body into a state of deep relaxation.

Deep relaxation is very powerful and can lead to actual physiological changes in the body.

According to Dr. Edmund Bourne in the Anxiety and Social Phobia Workbook, when you experience deep relaxation, the heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and metabolic rate all decrease.

All of these changes can make it easier for the mind to calm down and lead to a better and much deeper sleep.

Relaxation takes practice, so the more you do this exercise the more relaxed your get. You may even find yourself feeling calmer in your day to day life.

With progressive muscle relaxation, you simply tense a muscle and then release it, allowing it to relax completely. I am including an excellent progressive relaxation recording provided by Caroline’s Mindfulness on soundcloud below.


how to quiet your mind and get to sleep

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More Ways To Relax Before Bed

  • Putting a warm compress over the shoulders, back, or anywhere that is tense
  • Wrapping yourself in a nice warm blanket straight from the dryer
  • Listening to relaxing music, perhaps with binaural beats, while reading a good, simple book
  • Using relaxing scents such as lavender

 


If you tend to find yourself awake at 2:30 am with your mind racing, there is hope. A relaxing bath, certain yoga poses, and perhaps most importantly progressive muscle relaxation can all calm down your mind so that you are able to get a good night’s sleep. Now that know some ways to calm your mind before bed, you should be able to fall asleep more consistently. You may even find the effects of relaxation seeping into your everyday life.

Please let me know if you think that you will try out some of these suggestions, or if there is anything that helps you fall asleep. Also, don’t keep these tips to yourself. Be sure to share it with anyone who may be looking for some ways to relax.

what to do when you can't sleep #healthandfitness

20 Comments
  1. I really like this information. Sometimes but not often I have been awake at 2am and thought why am I awake I am exhausted. I never thought of a warm blanket and how that would help. I will file this away for the next time I have that problem. I like that bath soak too. The leg stretch was a nice find. Do you think that would also help with lower back aches too? I think it might since stretching is good for the back. I’m adding that to my routine.

  2. A very good article on sleep. Reasons why we can’t sleep were on the button as were the methods to use in order to get a good nights sleep.

    The body uses physical and mental exhaustion to “put out the lights” so to speak, not ? What about music? Would calming music be good as a “sleeping pill?”

    • Yes- calming music is a fantastic way to quiet the mind and get to sleep. It gives something to focus on besides all of the racing thoughts.

  3. Another area I need to work on. I wonder if I am eating too late? Recently my friends have started using intermittent fasting as a way to have a more sound sleep What do you think?

    • I think that you should focus on eating earlier first because if you are eating too late that certainly can affect your sleep in a negative way.

  4. Hi Eva,
    This article is just what I was looking for. I have been struggling for sleep at night it only takes 2 hours then I wake up. Been to the doctor and he advised it is because I am from a small percentile of people who cannot switch off. What I have found that warm glass of milk with turmeric in it does the trick to relax the body and mind. Some great tips you have there I will definitely try the yoga and progressive muscle relaxation techniques.

    • Thanks! I hope that you do give it a try. I have tried tumeric milk before. It was a very relaxing and calming drink. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. I find that the best way to get to sleep is by reading a good book while in bed. I think that the worst thing one can do is watch tv or be on their phone, the glare cannot be good and from experience I feel considerably more tired the next day.

    My tactic for the past few years has been to avoid caffeine after dinner and start reading a good 30 mins before I plan to sleep. I almost always find my eyes shutting before the 30 minutes are up. Thanks for the other useful tips- I’ll definitely try them out!

    • Yes, reading is an excellent way to relax before bed. Thanks for mentioning it! I will have to include that in the article. The glare of the TV and computer really can keep you awake. For that, I like to use blue blocking glasses. They are effective for me and not very expensive. Definitely worth a try.

  6. Hi Eva,

    This is a very helpful post. If I work too late into the night, I do have trouble sleeping. You said it right, the pressure to fall asleep only makes it harder. Totally, agree with this.

    Light stretches are doable for me but I love to try out the progressive muscle relaxation method. I think this would help me with my stiff shoulders too which cause lots of discomforts.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas.
    Sharon

    • I’m glad that these tips are helpful for you. In many cases, progressive muscle relaxation can help you feel more relaxed in general.

  7. Good tips Eva, thank you!

    For me, falling asleep has not been a problem, but rather to stay asleep. I tend to wake up at 2 or 3 am, and sometimes it happens that I can’t fall back to sleep. So then the day becomes a bit difficult.

    I read from your another article about tart cherry juice. Definitely I will try this!

    Another natural remediy that I have tried and noticed effective is freshly ground nutmeg. Some sources say that it’s poisonous, but that’s only in bigger amounts. I usually take 1/4 teaspoon. This tip I found from a herbalist Henriette Kress.

    (Sorry I can’t post the link here, but if you Google “henriette herb info nutmeg” you should get to the right page)

    • Fantastic! I will have to check out that herbalist!

      Tart cherry juice has really helped me with my sleep. I personally found that it helped me fall asleep faster and it felt like I slept much deeper. I hope that you also notice an improvement with the tart cherry juice.

  8. Falling asleep at night is something I have struggled with for most of my life, so honestly I will take all the help I can get.

    Most recently what I’ve found to be helpful are ASMR and/or sleep hypnosis videos on YouTube. Some of them are a little out there, but a lot of them are super relaxing and definitely help me fall asleep.

    Best part is that I don’t have to get out of bed to watch/listen to these videos!

    Thanks for your great tips, I will be adding stretches and progressive muscle relaxation to my list of techniques. I actually had never heard those ones before, and I thought I’d heard them all!

    • Thanks! I hope that the stretches and progressive muscle relaxation work for you. I am a fan of sleep hypnosis and asmr. I don’t know if the science backs it up, but there are a few sleep hypnosis tracks that will put me to sleep when nothing else will. Great suggestion!

  9. These are nice tips.
    I personally like taking warm baths before going to bed. I figure that if this works even for babies, why wouldn’t it work for me as well, right? 🙂
    Another thing I do when my mind isn’t cooperating is imagining that I’m at a quiet beautiful place relaxing with the people I love, my husband and children.
    This works every time!

    • Aww- that is a lovely way to relax. There are so many fantastic things that you can do. I encourage people to be creative and pay attention to what is effective for them.

  10. These are great suggestions. Taking a hot bath is one of my favorite relaxation techniques. I also have tried many different types of meditation apps I finally found one I love that uses muscle relaxation by having you lift up your shoulders than dropping them. I didn’t think something so simple could have such an impact on helping me relax. I currently do it in the mornings but will also try some at night. My wife and I both struggle getting good sleep and waking up restless.

    • Yes- progressive muscle relaxation is like the technique you learned only instead of just doing your shoulders you are doing your entire your body. It is pretty awesome. I enjoy it because I find it much easier to relax the body first.

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