I started to use the Calm app a while back (the free version) to help calm my mind and relax my body. It was only when I started doing it regularly I noticed how much tension I hold in my body.
Other than that I have taken Passion flower extract and Valerian root about an hour before bedtime. Routine also helps as you mention already, but sometimes I slip back into my poor nighttime routine, which means I end up going to bed too late.
I also don't use phones or computers and hour before bed as that tends to overstimulate me, but I have broken this rule if I an struggling to sleep as a result of thoughts whizzing round my mind. Reading is also another option, but again I have to be careful it doesn't overstimulate my mind or else I am up for hours reading or thinking about what I have read.
I am always open to hearing more techniques on helping sleep though as I am struggling a bit at present.
You said " ... I started to use the Calm app a while back (the free version) to help calm my mind and relax my body. ... ". Do you have a link to this, please?
The trick for me is to not focus on anything when I lay down to sleep. Lights out, close your eyes, blank your mind. I get up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm so that's a whole 8 hours of sleep, and by that time I'm tired anyway. I don't think about any tasks or jobs before going to bed, I just relax and get on with my bedtime routine (brush teeth etc) and by the time I flop into bed I'm ready for sleep. I don't use a smartphone so maybe this is the secret as I'm not constantly attuned to it pinging for my attention, and I don't think about jobs that need doing because it's too late to think about them anyway, I'm not going to start doing them right now!
Alopochen said:In particular I'm interested in what to focus on once in bed rather than preparing for sleep.
This is the crux of it for me - I don't focus on anything, that sounds like a brain activity and I would probably get lost in imagining a scene in lots of detail rather than switching off.
A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about a job I needed to do at work as I lay down onto the pillow, and this woke me up and I couldn't sleep for 4 hours. So I guess your mental state as you get ready for bed is key - for me, I just clear everything and don't think about anything, just a blank mind. Definitely clearing your mind of lists or outstanding jobs, just think you can sort them out tomorrow with a less sleepy mind. I drop off in under a minute.
I'm also really strict about my bedtime. I used to get into bed at maybe 10pm and then play games quietly until 1pm, but this year I've stopped doing that and I get much more sleep in. There's times to have quiet game-playing time, and bedtime isn't one of them.
Hope this is useful.
Good advice. Wish I could follow it.
I now try to get into bed before midnight. I switch all mobile phones OFF. When I wake up during the night. I try to sleep straight afterwords. Don't go watch TV or switch on mobile and check sites such as this one.