How to Stop Thinking While Sleeping?
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You don’t know how to stop thinking while sleeping? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of people have trouble falling asleep. We researched this topic and found what advice actually helps insomniacs. For fewer restless nights you need to stop thinking too much and prepare your body and mind for sleep. There are lots of ways to do this, so be sure to keep scrolling and find out.
These tips can help you relax a bit and have a good night’s sleep. However, if you continue to have racing thoughts you can’t control, that might be a symptom of anxiety. It would be a good idea to consult with a therapist, so you can get better help with this problem. The most important thing is to always keep trying. One thing might not work, but that doesn’t mean that other things will also fail.
Before we get to other pieces of advice, we’d like to mention these two important things:
- Go to bed when you’re really tired. In most cases, people have trouble falling asleep because they’re not tired at all. Don’t look at the clock and check your mood. If you’re sleepy, go to bed. If not, do something relaxing instead.
- A bed is a place to sleep, not work, watch TV shows, etc. You won’t do yourself a favor if you bring work and other responsibilities to your bedroom.
Calming your mind
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The main reason why people can’t get the needed sleep is a restless mind. Having an active mind is a great thing for productivity and creativity but it becomes a problem when you can’t “shut it off” before bedtime.
Some changes in your everyday routine can help you calm your mind and get some rest. Start by taking at least an hour before bed to relax. Do some activity that doesn’t require constant mental focus. You need to ease your brain into sleep mode. This and other methods can help you stop overthinking and learn how to turn off your brain so you can sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine
Due to having active lifestyles with tons of work and family responsibilities, our brains function in the mode of hyper-productivity. It’s no wonder you can’t fall asleep easily because the pressure makes your thoughts racing all the time. If you want to fall asleep easily you need to know how to clear your mind before bed. The best way to do that is by establishing a bedtime routine made of relaxing activities.
You should let your body know when it’s time to rest. Repetitive routine activities form habits and your body will simply adapt. Put your mind (and body) in “sleep mode” by taking at least an hour before bed to prepare for sleep. You could do yoga, listen to relaxing music, or read a light book. Some people recommend avoiding screen activities because they stimulate your brain. However, if you really want, you could catch a light show that doesn’t require full focus.
Showering, brushing your teeth, and doing light chores is also a part of your bedtime routine. Repeating the same activities every day before bed will give your mind the basic idea about when it’s time to sleep. Naturally, after you go to bed, you’ll have less trouble falling asleep.
Write what’s on your mind
If you can’t stop thinking when trying to sleep, write down the thoughts that keep you occupied. Spend 15-20 minutes getting everything out of your head and onto paper. You’ll realize that a lot of your worries are hypothetical (“what if” scenarios). Separating your thoughts will allow you to focus only on real (and solvable) problems.
Having fewer worries on your mind will help you be calmer and fight the anxiety from sleeplessness. Get a notebook and keep it by your bed. Try writing down everything on your mind before going to bed, so you can put aside your worries. Make sure to pour down every little detail in the notebook and you’ll have fewer concerns left in your head. As soon as you get rid of negative thoughts, you’ll have a much easier time falling asleep.
Reading before bed
Reading is, as we mention, one of those things to do before bed to help you sleep. It can be a really relaxing activity if you choose light books. Don’t try to tackle literature classics or the latest thrillers because to prevent stimulating your brain. Find something fun and soothing, or something you’ve already read. This way you’ll have a nice distraction for your racing thoughts and you’ll fall asleep more easily.
People have used meditation as a method of introspection. If the brain won’t let you sleep, try to reach it and see what’s going on up there. Learn how to calm your mind on demand with meditation exercises. There are lots of programs for beginners you can try. It might be a struggle in the beginning, but if you learn how to concentrate and breathe deeply, we’re sure you’ll find a way to enjoy meditation. When you fill your head with calming thoughts, you won’t have any trouble with falling asleep.
Don’t underestimate the power music can have on your mind. Put on a relaxing playlist before bed and your brain will be focused on the music. This will distract it from racing thoughts and you’ll ease into sleep. Try listening to instrumental music, so you don’t contemplate the lyrics. For example, check out this video with soothing music:
Preparing your body for sleep
The mind isn’t the only thing you should prepare for sleeping. You need to relax your body too. When the body is ready to rest, you’ll fall asleep much easier.
Cool yourself down
High temperatures can prevent you from falling asleep. Remember those summer days when it’s too hot and you’re just tossing and turning in bed? You can have this problem in the winter if you turn the heat on. Try lowering the temperature of the room you sleep in. Also, remove excessive blankets and opt for light covers.
Breath like you’re doing yoga
Deep breathing is a powerful technique for meditation and also for taking control of your body. You could sit beside the bed with the lights off or practice deep breathing under covers. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and focus on your presence. Take as much time as you need to do breathing exercises, but 10-15 minutes might be just enough to get you prepared for sleep.
Aim to breathe out for longer than you breathe in and pause in between. Try counting to five when you breathe out, so you have something to focus on. You could also mix breathing exercises with yoga. Kneel on the floor and try doing “child’s pose”. This can prevent your mind from wandering off and put your body in a relaxed state. Light exercise can help you fall asleep too.
Drink some tea
Having a nice cup of warm tea can be therapeutic for people who struggle with falling asleep. Drinking tea is a relaxing activity on its own but also some combinations of herbs have calming properties. Chamomile, valerian, and lavender tea are known to have soothing effects on the body.. Note that you should avoid adding sugar in your tea because it can make you stay awake.
Listen to your body
This might sound simple but hear us out. If you’re not sleepy, don’t go to bed. We all have tight fixed schedules but if your body is refusing to sleep, listen to it. Instead of lying down, try some relaxing activities we mentioned. The opposite also applies. When you get sleepy, go straight to bed. That “one urgent task” can wait until tomorrow.
Creating mental images
When you have too many thoughts on your mind and can’t sleep at night, it can be helpful to take control of your mind by creating mental images and making meaningless mental lists. You’ll shift the focus from your worries to something else. You can devote all your brain energy without feeling drained by the subject.
Imagine something that has no reflection in reality. You could picture a specific scene like flying a private jet or drinking cocktails on the beach or put your focus on a certain object (shape, size, color). Some people find cycling or hiking soothing, so they envision those activities. Try lots of things until you find something that relaxes you. It’s your mind, so you could do anything you want. Think about your happy place and activities that accompany it.
There’s always an option to try this simple activity if you can’t sleep because your mind keeps racing. Counting sheep (or anything else for that matter) is a repetitive mental exercise that will keep your brain distracted for long enough to fall asleep.
Reciting poems or song lyrics can have the same effect as counting sheep. Even though those words have various meanings you won’t contemplate them. It’s just something you do without thinking. Like reciting the alphabet for example. There’s a small difference between these exercises and counting. There is an end to each poem (song, alphabet), so you need to repeat it in cycles a few times before falling asleep.
Some creative people find storytelling very effective when trying to fall asleep. You can keep your mind occupied by imagining different characters or creating scenes. Note that this could have the opposite effect and engage your brain. Try it once to see if it works for you.
Sometimes we can’t fall asleep because there are a lot of disturbances around us. You need to make sure that your environment is suitable for sleeping. Even small details can be crucial for making your nights peaceful and relaxing. Try cutting out anything that can have possible negative effects on you.
Excessive light can make your body awake, so try toning it down. Put red lights in your bedroom instead of LED lights. Make sure to have dark curtains, so that morning sunshine doesn’t interfere with your sleep. You can always wear an eye mask for maximum effects.
Make sure to stay away from the light from electronics (laptops, tablets, phones) since it stimulates your brain. The best solution is avoiding electronics up to two hours before bed. If you can’t do this much, try to at least turn on “night shift” on iPhone and reduce light intensity on other screens.
Reduce caffeine intake
We often underestimate the influence caffeine has on our bodies. Sure you need your coffee in the morning to get you started on your daily tasks. However, drinking coffee in the afternoons and evenings can contribute to your insomnia issues. Limiting the intake of coffee, black tea, and other beverages rich in caffeine can have positive effects on your body. You’ll get tired around bedtime and fall asleep more easily.
No sugar before bed
As we already mentioned, you should avoid putting sugar in your bedtime tea. We should also note that you need to stay away from eating high sugar food altogether. A sugar rush can have you tossing and turning in bed for very long. You could have a protein-rich snack before bed but it’s best you eat dinner at least 2-3 hours prior to sleeping.
Try different methods to learn how to stop thinking while sleeping but don’t worry if you don’t get immediate results. Sometimes your body and mind need to adapt to changes in your regime. Stressing about sleep can only worsen your insomnia. We’re sure if you relax and take care of yourself, your sleep will also improve.
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