Do you ever get the feeling that your brain is racing and won’t turn off or shut down so you can sleep? I sometimes suffer from what I call ‘butterfly brain’ where my thoughts flit here and there and never stay in one place long enough to form a complete sentence.  I learned a long time ago that this makes it very hard to go to sleep at night; or I fall asleep and am wide awake just 15 minutes later with my thoughts still racing. So what to do? I hate milk so warm milk is out of the question; reading doesn’t work because if what I’m reading is that boring I won’t read it; I have been known to stay up half the night reading because I can’t put the book down. So here is what works for me:

First, I relax by tightening my muscles starting with my feet and working up, then relaxing them in the same order. Then I imagine a tiny hole in the top of my head and watch all the thoughts fly away. The next thing is to focus on breathing; I count every exhale up to 4 and start over. It is a lesson in mindfulness because if I’m not paying attention, I’m way past 4 and have to start again. It’s amazing to me how just focusing on 4 exhales over and over is relaxing. It also takes the focus off the butterfly thoughts.

Usually these techniques work for me. If they don’t, there’s always that book I want to finish reading!