Picture this- you worked all day, and came home exhausted. All you wanted to do was, to have a peaceful sleep. But, your mind starts to wander the moment you get into bed. Frustrating, isn’t it? It is fairly common among people, and some steps before sleeping might help with this. Here, I have listed the 7 best ways to stop thinking while sleeping that would change your life.
Our minds are experts when it comes to looking for distractions. So, having no disturbance before bed, or during bed would be the best way to keep away the thoughts that keep you awake. It does get difficult at times but following certain steps like- meditations or journaling would most definitely help when your mind wanders at night.
I understand that many of you have already tried doing this, and it did not work. Hence, it is safe to say that you need more than this. You can give a shot to the listed methods below, and try again to get that uninterrupted sleep that you deserve after a long day. I have listed the methods as ‘before’ and ‘after’ you are in bed, so it guides you to stop overthinking when it’s time to rest.
Health Issues Related To Lack Of Sleep
Before we get into the methods, we must talk about how the lack of sleep will affect your body and mind. For starters, a recent study done at the University of Warwick, shows that if a person sleeps less than 6 hours then their chances of dying due to heart attack increases to 41%. And chances of stroke increases by 15%.
I am positive you have noticed how you are always forgetful, irritated and exhausted during the day. There is a possibility that you might not think of it as anything serious. But the reason behind it is your lack of sleep. People usually do not blame lack of sleep for mood swings because it is non-traceable. So, get your 7-9 hours of sleep every night to be happy and healthy.
7 Best Ways To Stop Thinking While You Are In Bed
When you are about to sleep- that is your most vulnerable self. Humans tend to let go of the baggage they have been carrying all day with them at the end of the day. This is also the time when people tend to reflect on the things they are letting go, that may have happened during the day or even in the past. So only steps before bed might not always work for a soothing sleep.
The steps below will help you by providing guidance for how you can also work your way with overthinking, when you are in your bed. Give all of them a try one by one because some may work for you, and some may not. So choose the best one for yourself.
1. Breathing Exercises To The Rescue
Practice breathing exercises every day when you are in bed. It is a great way to provide your body the peace it needs after a long hard day. At the same time, it will help you, when you are overthinking lying in bed. It will preoccupy your brain for having disturbing thoughts that keep you awake. There are many methods, but this 4-7-8 breathing method exercise is the easiest.
At first be comfortable with your surroundings. Either lay on your back, or you can sit up on your bed if you want to. Next, inhale for 4 seconds through your nose. When you are inhaling, try to take a deep breath. Hold that breathe for 7 seconds and be present in the moment. Now, exhale for 8 seconds. Do this for 5-7 minutes every day, and you’ll see changes in no time.
2. Keep A Journal Nearby
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you cannot keep your thoughts from lingering in your mind. It sometimes helps if you can keep a journal for your thoughts. Whenever you cannot sleep- open it and write about what you are thinking at that moment. It will process your thoughts for you and make you feel relaxed. Having a journal is like having a friend nearby you.
It might not necessarily solve your problems but it surely will help you feel lighter. When you keep your thoughts to yourself, it becomes heavier every day. Writing it in a journal is a way to escape from all the negative thoughts that haunt your head. Later in the day, you can read what you wrote and you can take steps regarding the problems you faced at night. It is self-therapy.
3. Make a To-Do List for
People who suffer from anxiety do not only dwell on the things that happened that day, they also dwell on the things that might happen tomorrow. Hence, if you make a to-do list for the next day, you would have an idea about what you are going to do tomorrow. This is kind of like fooling your brain to believe that you are in control of your actions, and there is nothing to be afraid of.
When anxiety strikes it becomes unbearable and uncontrollable. It makes you worry about your past, your future and even things that did not or will not happen. Having one aspect of your worries clear, will most definitely help you to feel more in control of yourself. It will block your overthinking patterns. Although, make sure you don’t spend too much time on it.
4. Connect With Your Body
This is a great way to get out of your head and be present at the moment. When you find yourself overthinking, try to be more attentive about your surroundings. Notice sounds, notice your heartbeat, notice how you are breathing. Fix your pillows, drink a glass of water, turn off/on your fan. Pay attention to the small sensations of your body and your room.
Try to identify when you are overthinking and try to break that chain of thought. Sometimes, saying it out loud that “I am overthinking” helps in breaking that chain. Train your mind on how you can recognize your thoughts that are disturbing you and eliminate them. Overall, focus on something else if you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts when you are trying to sleep at night.
5. Make A Gratitude List
There are nights when you might not feel the best about yourself. When this happens try to make a gratitude list. Write down 3 things that made you feel proud of yourself that day. It does not have to be something grand. Anything that makes you feel good about yourself; you can add. For example- you ate your vegetables today, or you cleaned your room. Be proud!
As Maya Angelou once said, “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself”. So learn to celebrate yourself for achieving the tiniest amount of success. A small step is also a step forward. Writing the things that make you proud of yourself, will eventually boost your confidence. You will be more self-assured than ever.
6. Listen To Relaxing Delta Sounds
All you have to do is lay down in your bed, and get your headphones. There are numerous delta sounds or binaural sounds available on YouTube. There are several studies conducted on it and a lot of them suggest that it works as an auditory illusion for the listeners. It also helps to reduce anxiety and mood swings. Results depend on how much time you invested so keep that in mind.
For binaural to work, it has to be less than 1000 Hz frequency for both tones that make binaural beats. But the difference between the two tones, it cannot be more than 30 Hz. For relaxation and deep sleep, the binaural sounds should range from 1-4 Hz. It will promote positivity, relaxation and mindfulness in the brain. Thus, you will get a peaceful sleep at the end of the day.
7. Visit A Sleep Specialist
A sleep specialist is a doctor who would help with your sleeping disorders, if you did not get any benefits with the steps mentioned or overall. These doctors have been trained in psychiatry, pediatrics and neurology to help you professionally with any sort of problem with your sleep. They will either prescribe you medicine or provide a routine for you that you can follow.
If you do not get a good quality of sleep, it would hamper your overall mental health at one point too. Many researches throughout the years have claimed, if an adult does not sleep for 7-9 hours every day, the chances of them being depressed get higher. So, it becomes a loop, where if you don’t sleep, you will be depressed, but as you are depressed you won’t be able to sleep.
Some Best Ways To Stop Yourself From Thinking Before Bed
If you want a sure result, the preparation for sleep must start earlier. If you are one of those people who can’t stop thinking while they are in bed, there might be a chance, you are indulging in things before bed that are keeping you awake. By reading the following methods, you can examine which habits you must get rid of or adapt in the future that will improve your sleep.
Cut Caffeine Intake
Caffeine makes you jittery. Having more than a cup of coffee during the day will most certainly disrupt your sleep at night. On the other hand, caffeine also makes you very prone to anxiousness. Your heart starts pounding fast, and your thoughts ramble around in your head. It is probably the reason why you can’t sleep at night, because the caffeine has done its job.
Hence, you must cut off your caffeine intake if you want to have a good sleep at night. You will be shocked how much caffeine there is even in a bottle of soda or in an energy drink. Make wise choices when it comes to coffee and other beverages. You can always switch to regular black tea, which has a milder percentage of caffeine. You will notice differences in no time.
Avoid Sugary Food During The Day
In case you didn’t know, sugary food before bed or during the day is one of the main reasons behind a poor sleeping schedule. There are many studies conducted on how sugar disrupts sleep and causes restlessness. Too much sugar, overstimulates you and makes you hyperactive. Later when you are in bed at night with no work, it forces your brain to overthink.
As, during nighttime you are supposed to shut off for the day, sugar on the other side will not let you do that. It also uses up a lot of magnesium, which is needed for a good sleep. So try to avoid sugar at least 5-6 hours before going to bed. Try eating Beans, Lentils, Turkey, Chamomile Tea and other sleep-inducing foods instead when you are having trouble sleeping.
Soothing Warm Bath
A warm bath before bed will surely improve your sleep. It makes you relax, which also helps in being at peace when you are in bed. Our body temperature drops moments after a warm bath, and it induces a better quality of sleep by releasing melatonin. This step apparently indicates your body that it is time to sleep. Hence, a warm bath is always a good idea before bed.
After a long day, we all are stressed. Stress builds muscle tension in our body, and a soothing warm bath helps with the tightened up muscles. You can always increase your level of relaxation by adding a couple drops of essential oils in your tub. It will do wonders! You can also play your favorite therapeutic tunes in the background for a better result.
The accessibility of electronics is so high for us, that we are almost always indulged in them. We spend hours and hours on our phones and other devices. It most certainly plays a vital role in why we cannot sleep peacefully at night. The lights from our devices, reduce the production of melatonin, which hampers our sleep-wake cycle. Hence, ditch the electronics before sleeping.
Also, avoid watching horror, action or thriller movies that keep your mind still wander even when you are in bed. Pick a book and read till you are sleepy. A lot of people keep pushing themselves to finish a chapter, and I understand that very well. But if your main target is to have a good sleep, then do not push yourself and sleep, whenever you feel tired.
Do Meditation Or Yoga
Doing muscle relaxing meditation and Yoga would help a lot with stress and anxiety. It is an excellent way to help your body to release tension naturally. Practice mindful meditation and breathing exercises to distract yourself from overthinking. There are plenty of videos available online on YouTube or you can always buy DVDs that will guide you through these processes.
One of the easiest ways to do a progressive muscle relaxation exercise is to breathe in, and tense all your muscles individually. Hold this tensed position for 5 seconds and let go slowly by exhaling. If you cannot do it all together, try doing it one by one at a time. For example- do your hands at first, and work your way through your toes gradually.
Schedule Worry Time
Many therapists suggest their patients to schedule their worry time. It means, you have to schedule a time from your day, and only during that time can you worry and overthink about anything you want. It can be an hour or two hours, but that is all. After that time is over, you have to be focused on your day and forget about your worries. It has worked for a lot of people.
In this case scenario, as your worries are keeping you awake at night, make sure your scheduled worry time is not during or just before your bedtime. Schedule it for the day and avoid this at night. This process will send your brain signals that you are done being overwhelmed for the day. If you follow this, you will have a lot of spare time to be productive throughout.
As mentioned, the preparation for a good sleep must be started before you tuck yourself in. By following these mentioned steps you can get rid of all the negativity and tension from your mind before you even get into bed. These will make you relaxed and help eliminate overthinking that was affecting you all day. Now, let’s dive into how you can do the same while you are in bed.
It cannot be stressed enough how important sleep is for human beings. Our brains will literally start malfunctioning if we do not get enough sleep every night. While you sleep, your brain sends signals to repair everything in your body that needs repairing and nourishing.
I hope the 7 best ways to stop overthinking while sleeping have helped you. Stay safe and healthy!