The 3 Things You Should Be Thinking About Before Bed (And 3 You Need To Forget)

The 3 Things You Should Be Thinking About Before Bed (And 3 You Need To Forget)

Let's face it: Nothing feels more recharging than a good night's sleep. In a culture of incessant text messages and even more incessant thoughts, it's nice to crawl into bed and let go of the constant newsflashes of our minds. But what happens when you settle in your sheets and your brain just refuses to shut off?

The key to getting rid of those pesky thoughts before bed may lie within the thoughts themselves (sounds so meta, right?). In order to sleep more soundly, practice these bedtime dos and don'ts before hitting the hay:


...think about what you're grateful for.
And, if possible, write it down. Reflecting on what you're grateful for can lead to better sleep, greater happiness and even a healthier immune system. Plus, who wouldn't want to think of the happiest parts of their day before drifting off to dreamland?

...envision a successful tomorrow.
We all have dreams of tackling the workplace (and the world). Thinking about achieving those goals before going to bed could help you sleep your way to a better tomorrow. Some of the corporate world's most successful people map out positive outcomes in their minds right before hitting the sack, which helps lead them to realistic resolutions the next day, according to Business Insider.

...occupy your mind with something relaxing.
hammock beach
Despite what you've been told about counting sheep, the trick is probably doing nothing for your ability to get some shut-eye. Instead, reflect on something relaxing, whether it be a positive mantra or a lovely image (the crystal-clear waters of Hawaii, anyone?). It will take less brain power, and the last thought you have before drifting off will be a serene one.


...think about your e-mail.
Or your Facebook notifications. Or Instagram likes. Or anything on your phone for that matter. Studies have shown that staring at that glowing screen before going to bed can result in a poor night's sleep, so it's best to just put it out of your room -- and out of your mind.

...ruminate over an argument.
The old saying "never go to bed angry" isn't just a cliché, it has research to back it up. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that sleep not only preserves negative emotions, it enhances them. In other words, replaying that fight you had with your significant other and then going to bed isn't going to help you cool off, so make sure to resolve those conflicts before hitting the pillow.

...obsess over your incomplete to-do list.
If the day is complete without a few menial tasks accomplished, don't fret. As HuffPost president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington explains, sometimes the best way to complete a project is to drop it entirely. "Any project that you've started in your mind drains energy ... And that means often saying no to good things, to things that you might want to do, but get in the way of sleep, or get in the way of being with your children, or whatever it is that's also very important to you," she said at a Toronto conference in 2013. Don't forfeit sleep over an unfinished to-do list: The only thing that's suffering is your sleep (and, as a result, tomorrow's productivity).

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

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