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Lately, I’ve been having trouble falling asleep at night. When I was waking up at 3:45 AM to do the morning show, this was never a problem. I was always able to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Now that I have a more traditional schedule, I don’t fall asleep as easily.

I’ve also had a few things on my mind this past year, and I don’t mean the pandemic or high gas prices. Both of my sons are trying to figure out what their adult lives will look like and I’m trying to be as helpful as I can. Also, my parents may soon need to make some changes in where and how they live for the sake of their health.

Then there are the classic sleep deprivers. You know, reliving past mistakes, dreading future problems that may or may not actually happen, who will the Panthers’ starting quarterback be this season. The switch to Daylight Saving Time hasn’t helped either. It all adds up.

Luckily, CNN spoke to a Harvard Medical School professor about this very issue. Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in Harvard’s division of sleep medicine, has some relaxation strategies you can use to get your brain to stop keeping you up at night. She calls these five techniques a “tool kit for better sleep.”

  • 1. Controlled Deep Breathing

    Deep breathing techniques are ways to calm your body and mind that have science behind them. With diaphragmatic breathing, you breathe in deeply through your nose to a count of six. Make sure you can feel your stomach rise as it fills with air. Then breathe out for a six-count. Stay “in the moment” and focus all of your senses to follow the air in and out. If your mind wanders, that’s okay. Just bring your focus back to your breathing.

  • 2. Meditation

    This centuries-old practice can do more than just help you sleep. A study found that just 30 minutes of meditation every day over the course of two weeks changes the function and structure of the brain.

  • 3. Visualization

    Picture a calm, peaceful spot in your mind and fill it with detail, imagining the feeling of the sun on your skin and the smells in the air. You can also visualize your body relaxing.

  • 4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

    You’re tense when you go to bed and you might not even realize it, and this technique can help your body relax. Starting at your head you tightly tense your muscles for ten seconds while breathing in, then relax while breathing out, then move to the next lowest muscles.

  • 5. ‘Worry Time’ Before Bedtime

    Get your worry out of the way. Experts say that scheduling a time to worry about the things you usually worry about while trying to go to sleep will help you avoid the worry when you lay down, including making a list of things you need to do tomorrow and emailing it to yourself before bed. I really need this!