'Mind trick' to do before bed that could help you fall asleep within minutes

Man lying in bed with insomnia
Not getting enough sleep at night can be really detrimental to your health -Credit:Getty Images

If you find it difficult to get to sleep at night, you are certainly not alone. The issue is said to affect around one in three people, according to the NHS, with the problem more prevalent amongst the elderly.

While bouts of insomnia can come and go without causing any significant issues, for some individuals, it can persist for months or even years.

Short-term insomnia is defined as having difficulty sleeping for less than three months, while long-term insomnia refers to sleep issues lasting three months or longer. The impact of insomnia on an individual's health can be severe, limiting daily activities, affecting mood, and causing strain in relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

While there isn't a universally recommended amount of sleep, seven to nine hours per night is generally considered normal. However, achieving this can be challenging for those who struggle to drift off.

To help combat this, Sammy Margo, a sleep expert at Dreams, suggests using the cognitive shuffle, reports Wales Online.

The cognitive shuffle is a technique rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) designed to distract the mind from thoughts that hinder sleep. It involves engaging in a mental task that is absorbing enough to reduce anxiety but simple enough to signal to the brain that it's time to rest.

Sammy stated: "Now, more than ever, it's important to recognise the significance of prioritising our mental health. The way we think and feel strongly influences our sleep patterns, which in turn, affects our overall quality of life." She has provided a few pointers for carrying out the technique.

Identify negative thought patterns. Sammy says: "Begin by recognising the recurring negative thoughts or worries that may be affecting your sleep. These could include concerns about work, relationships, or uncertainties about the future. You should note how often they occur and the emotions they provoke. Being aware of these patterns is the first step towards addressing them."

Change and reframe: ''Once you've identified your negative thought patterns, it's important to challenge them. Ask yourself questions like, is there any evidence to support this thought, or what advice would I give to a friend in this situation? Then, reframe them into more positive or realistic alternatives. For example, if you're worrying about an upcoming presentation, remind yourself that you've prepared thoroughly and are capable of handling it well.

Practice mindfulness: ''Integrate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine to develop greater awareness of your thoughts and emotions without judgement. Set aside time each day for mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and traditional yoga methods, such as alternate nostril breathing, which involves alternating between breathing through the left and right nostrils.

By incorporating these exercises into your nightly routine, you create a calming ritual that primes your mind for restful sleep. Sammy recommnded giving it a go, saying: "Tonight, consider engaging in a cognitive exercise by selecting a random word.

"From there, challenge yourself to brainstorm additional words, each starting with the letters of your chosen word, and then vividly visualise each of these objects. This process helps redirect the mind's focus away from stress-inducing thoughts.

"The word needs to be completely neutral and have no repeating letters, let's use 'BED' in this instance, think of words beginning with B and imagine them, e.g. bucket, binoculars, basketball, brush. If you can't think of any more words for the letter, move on to the next letter in that word, and if you go through the whole word, pick another, and start the process again."

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