I used to sit on my couch in the evenings and tell myself I should get up and brush my teeth… like, an hour ago. Instead, I would scroll on social media or check my email or watch juuust one more episode on Netflix.
Several hours after I’d initially planned to go to bed, I would lay down and start thinking about all the things I had to do the next day. Somewhere mid-thought, I would pass out.
This wasn’t a relaxed slumber.
My mind was churning as I fell asleep, which means my body wasn’t relaxed either. This gave way to dreams that were intense with details and busy-ness. I never woke up rested the next day even if I got my full 8 hours. I’d wake up with a grogginess even coffee wouldn’t cure. I’d crave sugar and refined carbs all day long in my body’s effort to stay alert and focused.
The funny thing is, I was actually craving quality rest and sleep. And so it isn’t about not eating carbs or sugar or even not thinking before bed – it’s about finding a strategy that works for you when it comes to getting high quality sleep.
Here’s a trick that really helped me eat and sleep better. If you can relate, I hope you’ll try it and feel much better!
Mind Detox (15 to 20 minutes)
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off 30 minutes before you’d like to get into bed. This way, you can allow time to brush your teeth, floss, and do all the stuff you do every night.
- Get a blank sheet of paper and something to write with. I like using a bunch of different colored markers.
- Sit down at a cleared space that’s not in the room where you sleep.
- Turn off your TV, iPad and put your phone on silent in a different room. (Don’t freak out, this won’t take long.)
- Light a candle. This isn’t essential, but it really helps to relax your mind and will reduce the urge to put on background noise.
- Write freely on the paper. Jot down anything that you want to let go of until you wake up in the morning. This could be a list of things you want to get done at work, a list of the people you need to email, what you want from the grocery store, or the things you wish you had said to tell-off your boss or ex-boyfriend. Write anything you want to let go of so your mind isn’t reeling as you fall asleep.
- Write them all out on the page. You’re detoxing, getting out all the gunk that won’t let your mind (and body) rest. So remember to leave the paper in a room that’s not your bedroom!
- When you lay down to go to bed, if thoughts keep popping up, try and remember that you left this stuff outside your bedroom. You can revisit and better handle it in the morning. Consciously choose to tune in to your body’s desire to rest. Focus on deepening your breath and relaxing your body one part at a time. This way, you fall into a deep, relaxed sleep.
See how you feel in the morning and notice if your cravings start to subside. I hope you find this helpful because I know it helped me!