Many people have trouble shutting off their fast-working minds as they transition from their day to their evening and to sleep time. This happens to most of us at times of high stress, life changes and is a common issue for people taking ADHD medications among others.
The problem is about more than simple fatigue. It’s that our day starts later than we wanted it to, we get less done, have less energy, and on top of all that, we sometimes beat up on ourselves for not getting enough sleep, enough done or enough self-care. Physical, mental and emotional fatigue. And then we’re not there for ourselves or for those around us.
We are not our best.
Here is my list of suggestions for winding down. Take what has worked or you think might work for you and leave the rest. Or feel free to share with someone else having sleep cycle issues.
Whether you’re earning an income or working to keep the household and family running, these can apply to your life.
The idea is to give your body some signals or habits, so your mind and body wind down, allowing for calmer and easier sleep cycles.
- Clear the mental clutter. How do you mentally close out your day? You need a way to leave behind the tasks you didn’t get to today, the ones that cropped up during the day and the ideas you want to return to. Create a way to get these out of your head and into a trusted capturing device.
- If end of day sneaks up on you: About a half-hour before then, set a reminder to begin getting into “personal” mode or “home life” mode. It’s a different focus,with different people, and a different rhythm so begin shifting your energy.
- Take time with meals: This may mean that you need to plan out some meals a week ahead of time or at least a few days, so you eliminate some of the rushing and have a more relaxed dinner time.
- Decide on a “no technology” time zone:It’s proven that technology keep us alert (dopamine increases), so how about if you shut off all technology about 8 p.m. ? Have a good, old-fashioned “quiet time.”
- Set an intended bedtime. You may or may not make it, but if you don’t have a time set in your head, you have no goal to aim for. Hours will slip away.
- Watch no violence after 8 p.m. If you enjoy TV, consider the noise/vibration/activity level of shows you’re watching. Active shows won’t help you relax your mind.
- Nighttime/morning routine swaps: Take a few days to notice the patterns or routines for both evenings and the mornings. If evenings feel stressed to the max, is there one routine you could move to the morning instead? Or handle once or twice a week instead of every night?
- What calming activities do you use? Music, reading, hot tea, a walk after work – What sorts of activities help to calm your mind? Are you doing any of these at night ?
- Check the lights. Do your curtains need to be a darker color? Do you remember to close them at night and open in the morning?
Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski, of Feng Shui Services of New England, has some Feng Shui principles and advice about setting up your own bedroom in her blog post titled “Fish Tank Head Board and Feng Shui.” I attended her class recently and learned some great ideas.
To me, Feng Shui is a way to encourage good and positive energy to flow throughout you home and your life. Pure and simple. Check out her post or her classes.