It’s Wednesday, and I am here sitting in your inbox!
We are in the middle of the week. So, how are you doing? Did you sleep well last night?
Talking about sleep, nights can be scary when you can’t slip into your dreams soon. The visuals of staring at the ceiling with a plentitude of thoughts in mind are more stressful than being stuck in traffic.
I have been there. But thank God, I could come out of it.
Let me share with you how to relax your brain as soon as you hit the bed. These techniques have consistently helped me sleep better at night to have a productive and energetic morning.
Write a Journal To Liberate Your Stress
Writing a journal at night is like clearing our minds from all worries and tensions. It helps us reflect upon our daily struggles and fears, making the following day more effective and happy.
I still remember how I started writing my daily activities in my diary when I was sixteen. I used to write all my fears, worries, guilts, weaknesses, and even crushes. It was like confessing to myself. And I felt a lot more liberated after venting out my emotions on a piece of paper.
We can keep a check on our mental health by identifying the triggers that had caused us pain during the day.
It aids in Increasing our memory power by recalling the whole day’s activities.
It helps in improving our writing as we learn to pen down our emotions.
We can Record innovative ideas that can help us work towards our goal.
It can help us monitor our behavior with others so that we can adopt the necessary behavioral changes.
We can confess anything without any fear of being judged.
We can also create a plan for the next day to remain focused and motivated to produce results.
Research at NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that writing a to-do list for the next day and listing all the completed tasks for the present day induces a night of sound sleep. Hence, journaling creates a sense of achievement and responsibility, boosting self-esteem.
Think About Your Day Before Hitting The Bed
Our mind deals with a lot of tension and stressful thought during the day relating to work, relationships, etc. If we do not treat them, they carry forward to the next day, and we feel the same lethargy and exhaustion as the previous night.
Meditation helps us sleep better because it’s a relaxation technique that quiets the mind and body, instilling a feeling of peace. A research study at Harvard Medicine School concluded that mindfulness helps in reducing the effects of insomnia.
A medical research experiment by Jama Internal Medicine determined that insomnia patients who performed mindful techniques displayed lower levels of depression, pain, and blood pressure.
Mindfulness can be beneficial to us in many ways:
We can remain calm and focused.
As Deepak Chopra says, Meditation allows us to judge ourselves from a detached perspective.
It aids sound sleep by limiting our thoughts.
It relieves physical tension.
It rests our mind and body.
If you have never tried meditating, don’t worry.
I also never meditated until a few years ago. But I started learning different ways and types of meditation for a variety of occasions. I often use a simple Insight Timer tool to choose from a wide range of guided meditations.
As the Chinese saying goes,
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
We must start adopting mindful techniques so that our elder self thanks us in the future for starting these little steps today.
Feed Your Brain Some Fodder
A reading habit before bedtime is an excellent exercise to relax your brain. A research study conducted by the Researchers of the University of Sussex confirmed that reading for just six minutes before sleep reduces the stress hormone levels by 68%.
Besides, the positive effects of reading stay on our minds for a few days. Gregory Berns, Ph.D., lead author of the ‘Brain Connectivity’ study and director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University in Atlanta, concluded that ‘the benefits of reading persisted in our brains for five days.’ This evidence confirms that reading for one day can ensure lowering our stress levels for five days straight.
So, reading can prove to be a healthy, mentally stimulating exercise for sound sleep. With the type of our daily schedule, this hack could be a life-saving one in dealing with everyday stress problems.
Another study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that reading may lower the chances of getting dementia. According to WHO (World Health Organization), dementia cases increase by nearly 10 million every year. So, let’s act wisely!
Researchers at Stanford University also conducted a similar experiment that studied the brain patterns after reading a novel. The MRI scans proved that people who were deeply engrossed in reading a Jane Austen novel displayed an increased blood flow to those areas of the brain that control both cognitive and executive functions. As a result, brain functions like attentiveness, working memory, self-control, planning, self-monitoring, time management, and organizational skills improved.
So, these researches prove that to have productive and stressfree days, we must develop reading habits before hitting the bed. If we can create this healthy habit, we can save ourselves from rising mental illnesses.
The secret of most of the successful people in the world is bedtime reading. Yes, they read a lot. That’s how they function with full productivity. So, try it out and see the difference in your lifestyle.
Inject Some Dopamine, So You Sleep Well
According to a research study, listening to music triggers the release of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that produces happiness and exciting emotions.
Hence, listening to music promotes a comfortable sleep and a happy wake-up.
Music is like therapy that we can use to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social moods. It can elevate our moods by lowering our stress-inducing hormone called cortisol.
A study at Harvard Medicine School has found a direct correlation between music and mental health. They discovered that music increases the neural networks’ functions by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. It also reduces stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines, providing relief to patients undergoing medical surgeries and heart attack and stroke victims.
I, too, experienced the same emotions whenever I slept listening to the music; I woke up refreshed the following day.
But it depends upon what type of music we’re listening to.
According to the Sleep Foundation Organization, any music having a tempo between 60–80 BPM (Beats Per Minute)is advisable for our health as our heart rates range from 60–100 BPM.
I often use this Spotify playlist that has music with beats between 60–80 BPM. Whenever I listen to this playlist before sleep, I feel calm, relaxed, rejuvenated, and energized the following day.
Try this and see the difference!
A Quick Recap
Whatever the last thing we do before sleep will govern our moods, thoughts, behavior the following day. It would not be wrong to say that our bedtime habits would define our days' shape and the form of our lives.
To summarize things up:
Six minutes of daily reading would alleviate our mental stress.
Cultivating a journaling habit boosts our self-esteem.
Adopting some Mindful techniques reduces the effects of insomnia.
Listening to music induces happiness and excitement in our lives.
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I hope you found today’s letter useful! If you did, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family. Your small act of sharing can help someone sleep better.
Thank you for being my friend. Stay happy, blessed, and safe!
See you next Wednesday!
P.S ~ If you missed my last letter, you can find it here.