Things To Do When You Can't Sleep Because Of Racing Thoughts
2 July 2018
Let's face it. Sometimes you just can't make the voices in your head shut up and go away, can you?
Hold on: we didn't mean it like that. We meant figurative, metaphorical voices that represent your innermost stresses, anxieties, and worries, not actual creepy voices that whisper things in your ear, like instructions on how to cook tuna flavored cupcakes. (Don't ask.)
Yes, folks. Trying to get to sleep while you're brain is moving at 200 mph isn't the easiest feat in the world to accomplish. Quite the contrary: it literally feels impossible.
What's worse is, when you start beating yourself up about not getting to sleep while you're trying to get to sleep, then, well, you really aren't going to get any sleep. You'll be stressed about being stressed which will keep you awake longer. And that, friends, is counterproductive.
We've got a suggestion for you: learn how to take it easy. That might sound easier said than done, but it's a valuable piece of advice that no one should ignore. So how does one actually "chill out" as the kids call it these days, anyway? What does it take?
Just a little bit of self-care maintenance is all. Here are 3 things to do when you can't sleep at night because of racing thoughts from Sarah of the Sleep Advisor. Ready, set, relax!
Make a list
"Rename your "To-Do" list to your "Opportunities" list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list." ― Steve Maraboli
A recent study that Baylor University and Emory University conducted in which over 50 young adults were surveyed revealed that writing to-do lists helped them fall asleep an average of nine minutes faster than those who didn't.
Sometimes our racing thoughts are caused by the anxiety we feel about all of the tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines we feel looming over our heads on the horizon.
These could be a big presentation you have to give for class or work, a massive special event you're planning, bills you have to pay, taxes you need to do, or blog posts about reducing stress to get better sleep that you need to write.
Grabbing the nearest notebook and jotting down all of these goals and duties will help you clear your head and make you feel like you've got a better handle on things than you think you do. Also, it will help you realize what's necessary and what's not. That's important, too.
Say, while we're on the topic...
Write it out
"Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy." - Stephen King
Write out your feelings. Pencil, pen, keyboard, smartphone or tablet screen - it doesn't matter. Just focus on expressing how you feel about what's going on in your life and in your head.
Describe what you're afraid of, what's bugging you, what's making you feel like you're in a perpetual state of anxiety. Articulating what's happening in your life will help you manage your stress and boost your physical health as some studies have suggested.
So, why not take up the ancient art of journaling to explore the possibilities of your life and help fine tune your circadian rhythms considerably at the same time?
Focus on now
"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy." - Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia Ph.D.
Most of the time those anxious thoughts that are kind of, sort of driving you into a sleep deprived craze aren't based in the here and now.
They're about things that haven't happened yet, or regrets about the past, or false constructs that you bult to make yourself worry yourself for no good reason other than the fact you might be addicted to the adrenaline rush.
Whatever your excuse (or reason) might be, it's best to step back and accept that you're having these thoughts. Acknowledge that they exist, then also acknowledge other things that exist outside of yourself, too.
Become aware of the room and your surroundings by focusing on one sensory stimulus at a time. Look at the colors, hear the sounds, feel the sensations, and start thinking about what's out there and less about what's in here, so to speak.
We hope that these tips for quieting down your rampaging, anxious mind have been helpful to you. We wish you peace, good luck, and way more than forty winks in bed tonight. We also hope that whatever you're going through sorts itself out sooner rather than later in a way that benefits everyone involved - you especially.
Hey, I'm Sarah. Recent vegan, long-time yogi and lover of a great sleep. I used to suffer from insomnia in my teens but since turning to meditation and yoga (and paying more attention to my health in general), I've found that I've never slept better! I get to bed early and gone are the days of lying awake with anxious thoughts. And I want to help others sleep more soundly, too!
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