What You Should Think About to Fall Asleep

Train your brain to snooze on command with these smart tricks from a sleep expert
Sleep Health

You already know the age-old remedy for a restless night of tossing and turning. But if jumping livestock don’t quite ease you into a deep sleep, there are better ways to relax your rampant mind in bed.

Here are three simple mental exercises you can do to fall asleep faster, from Men’s Health sleep advisor W. Christopher Winter, M.D.

Take a Time Out

When you hit the sack, you probably feel like you have to start snoozing in 5 minutes flat, says Dr. Winter. “But it’s okay to be in bed for a few minutes and just think about things when you’re falling asleep,” he says.

Relax, and remind yourself that your body will eventually shut down—because it needs to at some point, Dr. Winter says. Instead of counting down, simply kick back and enjoy having a completely clear schedule for the next 7 to 8 hours.

Nail the Bullseye

To take your mind off of falling asleep, Dr. Winter suggests playing a mental game that’s a little tricky, but not overly stressful. For example, visualize yourself throwing darts—and see if you can hit 30 perfect bullseyes.

“Going over something repeatedly in your head can trick your brain into thinking you’re actually doing it,” Dr. Winter says.

So if you hit all 30 targets, you’ll be better off the next time your buddy challenges you at the bar. But if you only make it to two before you conk out—congrats, you’ve achieved your real goal.

Create Your Perfect Getaway

Which locale would you rather escape to: a beach house or a mountain retreat?

Dr. Winter asks his patients to close their eyes, start with an empty plot of land, and design every detail of their perfect getaway when they hop in bed.

Think big: “How you would orient the house? If you have a rough outline, play around with it. Furnish it and decorate the inside of it,” Dr. Winter says.

Filling your mind with something positive takes your focus away from trying too hard to fall asleep. You’ll be dreaming in no time—and hopefully sipping Mai Tais on your swanky tropical property. 

This article originally appeared in Men's Health US

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