How To Turn Off Your Brain So You Can Sleep

Hey everyone, it’s Devin Burke, your sleep and performance coach. And in this video, I’m going to be sharing with you the answer to one of the most asked questions I get, which is, “Devin, how do I shut my mind off at night so that I can go to sleep?”

Unfortunately, you can’t shut your mind off. Even while you’re sleeping, your mind is constantly going. So there isn’t really a way to turn your mind off per se. But the strategies and the techniques that I’m going to be sharing with you in this video are going to help you be able to calm a racing mind, and also are going to help you create the space in between those thoughts, which allows your body to calm down, which then allows you to get the deep, peaceful, restful sleep that you want.

So the first technique is called the stop technique. So whenever you have a racing mind, whenever thoughts are coming faster, faster, and you’re thinking about all the things you have to do, all the things that you wish you would’ve done during the day or all the things you have to do the next day is, you just think of the word stop. Bright flashing red letters in your mind. Think of the word stop. And literally, you can say out loud or in your mind, “Stop.” Now, this technique has been effective for a lot of my clients. It’s been effective for a lot of people. It seems really simple and like, “Really that works?” But hey, try it out, and it could be the one thing that works for you to help slow that racing mind down.

The second thing you want to do is what’s called a brain dump. Sometimes, getting all those thoughts, the things, the experiences of the day out of your head and onto paper, is extremely therapeutic for slowing the mind down to prepare it for a deep, peaceful sleep. So having a journal before bed and making this a ritual. Before you get into bed, writing out the things that you did well that day, writing out the things that you accomplished, writing out the things that you still need to accomplish the next day. Just getting the thoughts out of your head and on the paper usually tends to help the mind slow down, which then helps the body begin to relax.

Another thing you could do is create space or what I call a bed buffer. A lot of times, we think, okay, our mind is like a light switch. We just want to switch it off. But our mind doesn’t work like that. You have to allow space between the time that you want to be asleep and your day. So a bed buffer simply is just a fancy way of saying create some space between your day and your bed. And the bedroom and the time that you’re in bed, usually an hour without work, without any screens. Create a time to allow your body and mind to begin to slow down.

Now, for those of you that have kids, treat yourself like a kid. You read your kid a bedtime story. You give them a nice warm bath. You put their pajamas on. Treat yourself like a kid. Because literally our mind doesn’t work like that. We can’t just turn on and off our mind. So we need to create the space to allow our thoughts to begin to slow down so that we can get the rest that we need. So here are a few things you could incorporate throughout your day to help you have less a racing mind and to bring some more calm into your life.

The first thing is to schedule play. This is a big one. A lot of times we get so caught up with our work, with the family, with the crisis of the world, the things that we’re doing, the goals that we have, that we forget to play, especially as adults. Children are really good at this. But we need to continue to play. Playing gives us a sense of lightness in our life. It allows us to take our mind off of some of the more serious things that might be going on in life and lightens things up, which allows us to shift into that parasympathetic, that rest and digest state, which really helps us towards the end of the night, be able to wind down. Too much work without enough play is just not a good combo.

The second thing you could start to do during the week is to unplug. Now, this is a huge one. Especially because in today’s 24/7 world, we are bombarded by emails, text messages, phone calls, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram. There’s so many ways. LinkedIn. There’s so many ways people can get ahold of us. It seems like we are addicted to social media, we’re addicted to checking our email, our text messages. And it’s really important to understand that when we’re constantly checking these things, it actually speeds up our mind and it trains us to have a racing mind.

So having a day or creating some boundaries in your day where you unplug, you turn off the notifications in your phone. This is something I recently did, and it has worked wonders, literally no notifications on my phone. And honestly, I feel a lot more calm and it works. Now, I’m not saying you have to do that. But maybe create a day. Maybe it’s Sunday where you don’t touch your phone or you don’t answer emails. Create some time for you to unplug, get into nature, take your shoes off, go for a walk, get some sunshine. Just get away from the technology. Again, this is helping the mind unwind.

Another thing you could do is get off the stimulants. We’re addicted to caffeine, we’re addicted to energy drinks that contain caffeine and other things that ramp us up. Coke, diet Coke. All these things create stimulation in our body, which creates stimulation in our mind, which speeds our thinking up. Now, yes, these drinks can help us be productive, but if you’re having trouble slowing your mind down at night and you’re consuming some of these stimulants, this is definitely something you want to start to cut back, and even maybe consider cutting out of your life because it absolutely is contributing to that racing mind.

The last thing I want to share with you is, it’s really a simple technique, and it’s about releasing tension. A racing mind, really what a racing mind is, is it’s a form of stress. So throughout your day, if you release tension by meditating, by going for a walk, by allowing some of that energy that gets pen up in our bodies as tension to expand throughout the day, then at night, you’re not going to have this… It’s kind of like a pressure cooker, right? So you got to let the steam off throughout the day, because if you don’t, that pressure cooker gets so pressurized, it’s a lot harder to release that release valve.

And again, if we’re not constantly releasing the release valve throughout the day, it gets all that pressure and tension builds up at night, and that’s usually what keeps our mind racing. So I just threw a lot at you in this video. Take one or two of the recommendations, the tools, the things that resonated with you that you think might work for you. Try it out. And then let me know in the comments how it works for you. And if you’re not already subscribed to my channel, please like and subscribe. Like this video, subscribe, share it with somebody who needs to hear this. And I will see you in the next video.