If you’ve ever been stressed out by your daily chores, then you’ll know that it becomes difficult to get to sleep. It’s common for us to lie awake listening to our hearts thudding in our chest and getting even more stressed that we’re not able to drift off and thus re-energize for the days ahead.

What makes the situation even worse: we know that the less we sleep, the worse the stress is going to be tomorrow. Ironically, we’ll experience more of the very same pressure that is keeping us awake! So what can we do to overcome that fear of not being able to sleep and just calming, naturally and peacefully drift off?

Firstly you must develop the right frame of mind. The critical thing to remember here is that you can’t ‘force’ yourself to overcome stress and, you can’t ‘force’ yourself to relax. The whole idea of forcing yourself to relax is contradictory.

Where many people fall: in trying to make ourselves fall asleep, we will often start tossing and turning and even getting frustrated and angry that we aren’t sleeping. That only increases our stress more, increases our heart rate more and, continues the vicious cycle. If you have ever looked at your alarm clock at 4 am and felt like you’re the only person awake, then you’ll know this well.

So how do you break this cycle? The solution is to stop forcing yourself to sleep and just let it happen naturally. Specifically, this means you should remove the pressure of ‘having’ to fall to sleep. Delete the objective completely.

So when you go to bed, you’re not going to bed to sleep anymore. Instead, recognize that merely relaxing and resting can be useful for you too and allow yourself to do this. Focus on how nice it is to lie back and not need to do anything and remember that even if you only do that, you’ll still be relaxing and rejuvenating to some degree.

The irony is that as soon as you start enjoying being in bed and, as soon as you take away the ‘need’ to fall asleep, you will almost always drift off right away. And not only will this improve your ability to get to sleep but, it will also enhance your quality of sleep as you’ll be much more restful.