Did you know, humans are the only mammals that can delay their sleep? All other mammals like dogs, cats, sheep, cows have to go to sleep when their bodies demand it.
Somehow we have learnt how to delay it so that we can finish one more episode of a show on Netflix. We have learnt to go against our biology.
Think about this for a minute. Does this make us special or foolish? Should we be proud of our late night binges? Or how late we are able to sleep? What sorts of damage could we be doing to ourselves?
Now go on Youtube and watch videos of cats and dogs falling asleep in the most adorable manner. Or at the most inappropriate times!
How long does it take you to fall asleep once you decide to go to bed? What keeps you awake?
For most of us it’s our mind that keeps working and chugging along. It is constantly trying to think of and figure out what to do next. In fact it’s so hard to try and calm it down or switch it off.
We might have done everything correctly, set the sleep alarm, put away the electronics, etc. etc. But at the end of the day, our mind has its own plan. It won’t shut up.
This causes anxiety and we start wondering if we will ever be able to get to sleep. Our body is tired and ready to shut down for the night. But our mind is at full speed thinking about tomorrow.
So what do we do? We try and fight it, wrestle it into submission. Force it to quieten down.
Instead we should not fight it, but go with the flow. Your brain has a million thoughts about the things it has to do tomorrow. So start by accepting them. Listen to what your mind is trying to tell you and do.
Take a sheet of paper and write down all the things that are keeping you awake. Write down a To-do list for tomorrow. What are the incompletions that are running around in your mind?
I call this the night time To-do list. The purpose of this list is not productivity but sleep aid. The list is used to transfer the thoughts from your mind, down to a piece of paper.
Otherwise you will be lying in bed thinking about the milk that was over today, the laundry that needs collecting, a presentation that needs sending or a phone call that needs returning.
The power of writing things down in a to-do list is very powerful. In a recent study participants that made a to-do list before bed fell asleep 9 minutes faster than those that wrote about how their day was.
Those participants that had a long detailed list of things to be done slept faster than those that made shorter lists. Basically our minds want to get rid of all these ideas it is hold on to. Writing them down is one way of clearing them out.
So your simple habit for falling asleep faster is to have a notepad and a pen next to the bed. Before going to sleep as a part of your sleep routine make a long list of all thing you know you have to do tomorrow. Make a to-do list before bed.
This will prevent you from overthinking and will let you go to sleep faster.