6 Ways to Wind Down Your Mind Before Bed

Have you ever anticipated the wonderful feeling of laying down in your bed to sleep at the end of a long day? Then, once your head hits the pillow, your mind is instantly bombarded with thoughts. 

As a teen, I remember always watching YouTube before I went to bed, but then was surprised when I put my phone down and could not fall asleep. In a world where it is hard to set down your phone and escape from social media, night routines need to be much more intentional. They should settle our minds and prepare us for a sound sleep.

With all of that being said, here are six of my most used nighttime tips to help clear your mind and prepare you for a better sleep. 

Adjust Your Room Lighting 

When I am getting ready for bed, I turn off all of the lights in my room except for my Christmas lights and my lamp beside my bed. If you don’t have soft lighting, you can also try turning on only half of the lights in your room.

Dorm room bed with lights Sarah Ehrlich

 I find that throughout the day I am subject to aggressive lighting in classrooms, buildings on campus, or the gym. The places where you do the most work are often the most aggressively lit locations in your day. To contrast this, change your bedroom lighting to a softer and less aggressive setting at night. 

Set Up A Night Routine

Remember your first day of middle school? You had no idea where any of your classes were, you are surrounded by kids way taller than you, and everything is new. But after a few days, you got used to the routine and it all seemed a little less scary. 

Now, imagine if you created this same sort of relief by getting yourself into a daily night routine. Adding a calming night routine into your life can create a sense of peace and normal at the end of that day, even if the day was far from that.

Have A Notebook Next to Your Bed

If you are like me, as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind starts swarming with thoughts. Most of the time, the thoughts that I am bombarded with are things I need to remember to do the next day or an assignment I should start working on.  blank notebook with pencil Tirachard Kumtanom

In order to help clear my mind and organize my thoughts, I often keep a notebook or a pad of paper next to my bed. If I think of something, I will write it down on the paper and tell myself it will be there in the morning. This helps to make sure I can let go of that thought for now instead of continuing to replay it in my mind. 

Be Mindful of Your Nighttime Content Consumption

Going down a hole on the internet of new thoughts or unsettling news can be problematic while trying to put your mind at rest.

If you can’t avoid your phone at night, try putting on a video that you have seen countless times or a show you have practically memorized. Watching videos that have little sound or no sound can be helpful too. 

One thing to avoid at night is social media. It is not uncommon to scroll past a frustrating or unsettling post on social media but addressing these emotions during the day is a simpler task. At night, you might be exhausted and the last thing you need to think about is something you cannot solve.  

iPhone showing instagram on a table with a plant next to it Photo by Alex Bracken from Unsplash

Journal Before Bed

Much like the notebook by your bed method, journaling can also be a great way to organize your thoughts before sleeping. If there was a situation that happened that day, journaling can help give you some clarity and allow you to metaphorically and physically turn the page onto the next day. 

Make Your Bed in The Morning

Yes, I know we are talking about nighttime tips, but making your bed in the morning means that you can get into a nice and tidy bed at night. This also deters you from doing homework in bed. 

Just like a teacher might reprimand a student for falling asleep in class, you should not allow yourself to do classwork where you sleep. Instead, designate areas for studying and areas for sleeping. Additionally, making your bed can help remind you to designate your sleeping space for only sleeping. 

I hope you can take a few of these suggestions and put them into practice in your life to make your nighttime peaceful and your sleep sound.