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How to Stop your Mind from Racing at Night

How to Stop your Mind from Racing at Night - Woman staring at ceiling whilst in bed

YOU CANNOT WAIT TO lay your head on the pillow and yield to a deep, restful sleep after a long day.

Only, as soon as you close your eyes, your mind starts bouncing around wildly. The more you try to settle your busy mind down, the more thoughts rush through your mind like a hamster on a wheel.

Research indicates that 68% of adults say that issues about the past, money, work, kids, relationships, and work keep them awake at least a few nights a week.

11 Ways to Stop Your Mind Racing and Get to Sleep

1. It is a vicious cycle

Ever heard the expression what you resist, persists?

The more you fight your mind in an attempt to calm it down, the bigger the thoughts become.

Experts say that your lack of sleep activates your brains worry center, which in turn makes it even harder for you to sleep. Consequently, this creates general sleep anxiety, which means that you are so stressed about getting enough sleep that you cannot get any.

2. Rumination

In psychology, the racing mind effect is referred to as rumination.

Rumination is when you go over the same thoughts over and over again. Experts say that we have 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day.

Unfortunately, many of our thoughts are negative and focused on the failures of our past and worries about our future. Our minds do not realize that there is absolutely no benefit to thinking about the same thing over again and again.

Fortunately, there are numerous tactics you can use to put the brakes on a runaway train of thought.

3. Schedule worry time

To turn off a racing mind, you must deny it the fuel it needs to keep spinning at night.

We have already established that the mind dwells on negative thoughts about previous happenings and uncertainties of the future.

Managing stress is one way to calm down your mind. Experts recommend setting apart sometime during the day to address your stressors.

What to do

Every day, take time to identify and work to resolve what causes you tension, worry, and stress.

Write all these down and then in a second column provide a few action items to address and relieve the stress.

By writing down your fears, you put a name to the source of your stresses, and this may help to release them from your mind. Giving your stressors another home besides your mind helps you feel instantly calmer.

As you tackle the tasks and review them on a daily basis, you will feel a sense of accomplishment in overcoming the issues.

For those stressors that you have no control over, admitting that there is nothing you can do about them at present may help your mind to stop racing.

4. Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a treatment plan for people who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

The program involves a set of skills that help you to fight insomnia and develop a healthy pattern of sleep.

The cognitive part of the therapy helps you to recognize and change the beliefs that affect your ability to sleep.

The behavioral component of the therapy, on the other hand, helps you to develop good sleep habits and avoid the patterns that affect your sleep.

Ultimately, you will be able to eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake. Some of the techniques explored in cognitive therapy for insomnia include:

5. Meditation

Meditation involves guiding the mind's attention to the present and eliminating concerns about the past or the future.

It helps you break the train of worrying thoughts in your mind to evoke the relaxation response. Experts say that meditation is equivalent to a human reset button that puts you back into your natural psychological state.

Meditation soothes stress by activating your autonomic nervous system, allowing you to have stronger digestion, deeper breathing, and better sleep.

6. Breathing deeply

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a very useful technique for calming your mind and overcoming stress.

Taking shallow breaths reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain and decreases your brain function.

When you take deep breaths, you are able to relax your muscles, relieve tension and promote your brain function. 25 deep breaths can have magical powers: Try it and see.

You can also breathe in a way to encourage calmness and relaxation.

7. Mantras and positive affirmations

Repeating mantras or positive affirmations can help you focus and calm your mind. Mantras and affirmations help you to sleep by producing feelings of relaxation by quieting your mind.

A study in 2015 revealed homeless women who repeated a mantra silently throughout the day and before sleeping experienced reduced levels of insomnia. Search online for mantras or create one that feels right for you.

Affirmations, on the other hand, help to quiet your mind. For instance, if you are too stressed to sleep, you may need an affirmation that reminds you that you do not need to solve all your problems before you can sleep.

I don’t need to figure everything out – not all at once and not tonight. The silence of the night absorbs my questions. I trust that all I need will be revealed to me with perfect clarity. For now, sleep is what is best.

Other simple affirmations include:

All is well in the house of my soul. Mistakes will one day be erased. Until then, I am here to evolve my consciousness. Every single experience is part of this driven process.  

Even as I sleep, life is being handled for me. I may not know how to get everything done, but I am willing to believe that ultimately, nothing is left undone. A higher order of things ensures that everything is attended to.

I am lifted higher than every darkened thought. As my body sinks into bed, I feel gravity pulling away all the heaviness of my day. Weights melt away, and my mind settles into this quiet peace.

8. Yoga and muscle relaxation

Yoga alleviates stress, improves physical functioning and boosts your mental focus.

Choose a yoga style that focuses more on relaxation as opposed to difficult movements. Slow controlled movements will allow you to stay present and remain focused.

Performing yoga before bed will help you to unwind and get ready for sleep.

9. Distract your mind

Experts say that you can break the cycle of rumination by noticing your thoughts and then shifting your attention to something physical instead.

Thinking involves different parts of your brain in a complex network of connections. For instance, the prefrontal cortex plays a significant role in rumination.

The amygdala, your brain's emotional center gets interrupted when you activate the ‘insula’, the part of your brain that process information about the state of your body.

As such, when you shift your attention to physical sensations, like your breath or the soles of feet as you walk, you cannot ruminate.

The connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala is broken when you activate another part of the brain.

10. Using a weighted blanket

Research shows that using weighted blankets can help you to improve the quality of your sleep. The blankets are weighted down with pellets with up to 10% of your body weight.

Psychologists say that the weighted blankets calm your body down through deep pressure touch, which releases serotonin.

The brain confuses the sensation from the weighted blanked for a hug and produces calming neurotransmitters that help your mind to go to sleep.

11. Supplements

Yes, you can use sleep aid supplements to help you relax and get to sleep. You can use a purpose made sleep aid like alteril, or a supplement like magnesium. Magnesium is one supplement you can take that helps relax you and slow down the messages racing around in your mind.

*Yawn*

In the process of trying all these amazing techniques, remind yourself that you will be just fine. Often, we make our insomnia worse because we panic about our inability to sleep.

But in all reality, what is the worst that can happen if you lose some sleep? You will feel tired the next day but so what! You will buy an extra-large coffee and go to sleep earlier the next night.

Do not turn your inability to sleep into the worst thing that ever happened in your life.

Firstly, you have a lot of practical solutions that you can try to help you sleep better. Secondly, insomnia happens to everyone at various points in their lives; it is not a unique problem that is assaulting your life.

And you know what, you will be ok, really.

DISCLAIMER: This web site does not take the place of your usual medical practitioner, it is intended to give information only and not to diagnose or provide medical treatment. It cannot cover all possible uses, interactions and adverse side effects. If you are at all worried about your health - please see your own doctor. Do not delay this as a result of anything you may have read about on the web. Many symptoms can result from a variety of causes, some may require specialist diagnosis and treatment. You should also consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements as some of them may react with essential medicines or have harmful side effects.

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