“I always think of meditation as a muscle that’s getting strengthened,” Harris says on a call with mbg. Slowly but surely, with time, you can build up your strength enough so that when the moment comes you need to do that heavy lifting, you’re prepared. The same goes for sleep: If you can practice monitoring your mind every day, it’ll become a lot easier to do it at night, when restless thoughts start to creep in.
“If you’re someone who has that busy puppy dog kind of brain,” she explains, “the goal is that when you’re stronger from your meditation practice during the day, you’re going to get better at saying, ‘let it go.'”
She recommends starting with just one minute a day. Find something to focus your attention on, and simply observe. Every time your mind starts to chime in with distracting thoughts (which it inevitably will!), gently come back to the object. Then, by the time night rolls around and you start thinking about everything except sleep, you’ll already have plenty of practice coming back to the task at hand.