Don’t fight with your mind!
Along with planning or worrying, many people experience reruns of their day, little discussions with themselves about what went right, wrong etc. This all falls into the same category as planning and worrying, in the sense that they are wakeful activities that we no longer want associated with your bed environment. Bed is for sleeping only. Battling these thoughts can often result in the “pink elephant” phenomena. That is, when someone tells you not to think about a pink elephant, you’ll probably not be able to stop it from popping into your head.
Allow the background noise to be there
Be gentle on yourself and practice acceptance. Don’t reprimand yourself for having a busy head. Accept that it may be the result of having had a busy day and allow the thoughts to be there, but start to let yourself experience them as background noise. Similarly to a television playing a battlefield scene you can hear getting fainter and fainter in another room. Bring your focus to yourself in the foreground as the battle fades in the distance.
What can I do in the foreground of my mind to promote calmness ?
Visualisation
Try a visualization. Imagine yourself standing on the sand at your favorite beach. Walk slowly to the water. Feel the warm sand beneath your feet, the sound of the waves and your back gound noise of busy thoughts still with you. Then step into the warm clear water, feel it refresh you. Allow yourself to float up onto your back, the warm sun on your face as your background noise thoughts swirl through the water like sand particles away from you and settle in silence on the sand beneath the water. Stay floating.
Choose a sleepy word
While you allow your background thoughts to settle you can choose a word which sums up the state you are now moving into. This could be “relaxed”, “peace” or “sleepy” for example. In a gentle, soft, drowsy internal voice, slowly repeat this to yourself. This is also a stage at which you may like to use the progressive muscle relaxation technique, diaphragmatic breathing or a meditation if you choose.
Let go of expectations
Remember to allow these activities to take place without expectation of sleep. Sleep is a natural state your body wants to move into. “Willing” yourself to sleep or “trying” really hard to sleep is counterproductive. Trust that your job now is to build up good sleep habits and associations with your bed, and your body will naturally move you to a sleep state without having to try.

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