A healthy bedtime routine can help you fall asleep faster. But there's also one thing you can do earlier in the day that may prevent lying in bed as your mind flutters from thoughts of what to make for dinner tomorrow night to your parents' health. Experts call it “worry time.”
“You set aside time earlier in the day to sit down and let yourself think about what worries you and make a list of steps you can take to resolve anything if you need to,” explains Elaine Blank, PhD, a research health science specialist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. This helps reduce the chance that you’ll ruminate in bed later. “During the day, you’re going, going, going,” Blank says. “Then when you get into bed, you have nothing else to focus on, so the worries you’ve been successfully pushing away come out.”
By having worry time and practicing this technique consistently, those concerns are less likely to come out when you’re under the covers. And if they do, you can tell yourself, “I don’t need to worry about this now. I have time set aside at 5 p.m. tomorrow to worry about this.” This often can trick your mind into turning off so you can fall asleep, Blank says.