When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, anxiety is one of the most common hurdles that keeps us from drifting off to dreamland. We might spend all day looking forward to the moment we can finally shutdown, only to find the moment our head hits the pillow that all our most stressful thoughts from the day (or week, or month, or entire life) suddenly consume our minds. Finding the best way to finally turn off our twirling brains can be a struggle, but one expert recently shared a genius technique that’s also incredibly simple.
Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of the mindfulness app Headspace, claims the key to falling asleep is slowly bringing your mind down. Were you ever told as a child to try counting sheep when you were feeling too restless to pass out? Puddicombe’s suggestion is pretty similar. “Once you’re lying down, take a couple of deep breaths, just to ground the body,” he explained to Cosmopolitan UK. “Then, you start at 1,000 and gently count back towards 1. I’d be amazed if you could make it to 1.”
We understand if you read that and think it might be a little too simple, but you have to admit there’s some logic behind it. The practice helps to stick a pin in all of the anxious thoughts and shift onto something that’s easy to remember instead — and that can quickly become an unconscious pattern, which then eventually starts to feel like you’re blowing out the little candles in your mind that usually keep you awake.
“It’s not about the thoughts being bad or trying to stop the thoughts,” Puddicombe claimed. “It’s just about placing our focus in one place. By doing that, the mind knows to slow down.”
Considering this method also doesn’t rely on any medication or drastic lifestyle changes, it is at least worth giving a try the next time your brain refuses to play nice at night.
We certainly hope this technique can help you hit snooze on bedtime anxiety — and that you have lots of lovely, sweet dreams, too!