Have you ever wondered why your mind explodes with chatter when you are trying to sleep? Ever wonder how to quiet your mind so you can just sleep? If this is a problem you face don’t feel alone, many people have this same problem every night.
All day long your brain is processing new information. Whether it be job stress, new town, meeting new people, or even just working on your everyday to-do list.
When it’s time for bed and you lie down your brain finally gets some quiet time. At this time all the information it has acquired throughout the day including your worries comes racing to the surface.
This is also a time when deep and considered thought can come into play keeping you awake for hours.
What Are Racing Thoughts Preventing Sleep
Racing thoughts can focus on one topic or multiple different lines of thought like phobias or relationship problems. They are thoughts of repetitive fast-moving thought patterns that can escalate becoming overwhelming, increasing anxiety and feelings of unease.
This can be disrupting to your concentration and make you feel like your mind is racing a mile a minute. Your thoughts won’t slow down and you cant relax as a result. The problem you are focusing on gets blown out of proportion and you begin thinking of worst-case scenarios.
This can be emotionally draining and create a frightening sense of being out of control. This can cause feelings of mere discomfort to paralyzing fear which can overcome a person’s functional consciousness.
Allow me to note here that if a person is hearing voices it is associated with some types of psychotic disorders and should be looked into by a physician.
Night Time Thoughts and the Problems they Create
When attempting to quiet the mind for sleep a person having racing thoughts can experience a series of mental images that create stress disrupting their ability to sleep.
A racing mind during sleep can disrupt normal rest patterns causing people to awaken from sleep and making it difficult to fall back to sleep. This can cause a person to become even more exhausted and the racing thoughts increase, disrupting the sleep cycle and creating more stress.
This can create a repeated problem of restlessness and racing thoughts night after night. This prevents a person from getting the proper sleep cycles one needs for good health.
Tips on Quieting the Mind
Most of us feel bored if we can’t find something to stimulate our minds and this makes relaxation harder. The mind wanders from one topic to the next looking for stimulation. It just doesn’t know how to shut down.
This causes a person to begin worrying about something that wasn’t an issue five minutes ago. Leaving that person mentally exhausted and burned out.
Turn off the screens
When you can’t sleep it may be tempting to turn on your phone and start scrolling or watching the tv. Don’t do it. The blue light that emulates from the screen will stimulate and can excite the brain. This makes falling asleep an even bigger problem.
You should stop all screen viewing about 2 hours before bedtime for better sleep cycle regulation.
The emission of blue light interferes with your circadian rhythm. This tells your body it’s time for sleep due to the amount of light you see.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is the tensing and releasing of your muscles. Begin with your face and work down the body to your toes. This technique should release the body’s tension allowing you to fall asleep.
A good breathing exercise to use to fall asleep is called the box breathing method. You focus intently on the oxygen you bring into your lungs and push out. Box breathing is used in meditation and is great for finding mental focus and relaxation.
- Sit with your back straight and breath in. Push all the air out of your lungs when you exhale.
2. Slowly through your nose inhale and count to 4 mentally filling your lungs with more and more air until you get to 4.
3. count to 4 again holding your breath.
4. exhale slowly until all the air is out of your lungs and repeat the process until you are completely relaxed and ready for sleep.
Supplements That Help Aid Sleep
Certain supplements can help you fall asleep faster either giving the production of sleep-promoting hormones or calming the activity of the brain.
Magnesium: Doses, up to 500 milligrams (mg) per day taken with food Magnesium helps activate neurotransmitters that aid in sleep.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan): Doses up to 600 milligrams (mg) a day 5-HTP is linked to regulating sleep by boosting the production of serotonin levels.
Melatonin: Doses of 0.5-5millagrams(mg) are usually taken a couple of hours before bedtime. This is a hormone that the body produces naturally and is also a supplement used to help regulate sleep.
L-theanine: Doses of 400 milligrams(mg) seem useful in aiding sleep and relaxation.
Gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid): Doses of 250-500 milligrams (mg) It inhibits transmitters in the brain that may help the central nervous system relax. Gaba is a compound produced in the brain.
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Can’t get back to sleep
Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep does happen. Here are some suggestions for you to try.
Listen to music: Turn on the radio or listen to that favorite cd at a low volume close your eyes and relax. Research shows that music can have a direct effect on our parasympathetic nervous system which lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate and breathing, and relaxes muscles. The same biological changes your body experiences when falling asleep.
Visualization techniques: Visualize yourself on a tropical island or any place that you desire to be. The key here is to concentrate on something else other than I can’t sleep. This will allow the brain to refocus allowing you to relax and fall back to sleep.
If you can’t fall asleep after about twenty minutes get up out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired again.
Start a worry journal, write down your worries so you can get them out of your head.
Try listening to soft music and do some reading.
Take a warm bath or shower
Ever notice that when you don’t get a good night’s sleep your day just doesn’t go well either, Your plans and your productivity all seem to fall to the wayside. Sleep plays a critical part in our lives and it determines how well we will function during the daytime
Waking up refreshed depends largely on whether or not we get a good night’s sleep. So the next time you have to face a night of mind racing and trouble falling asleep. Give some of these methods I have talked about a try. I think you will be happy you did!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the box below and I will get back to you. Don’t forget to sign up for emails so you can be alerted of new posts or changes on this site. I wish you all sweet dreams and happier more fulfilling lives and plenty of sleep.