At one point or another, most people have experienced the following scenario at least once in their lives - you try to go to sleep, but no matter how tired you are, your mind just won’t shut off, and you end up lying awake in bed with your thoughts racing at 100 miles per hour.
To most people, sleepless nights are something to be avoided at all costs. The feeling of having your mind racing with thoughts, unable to shut it off, can cause stress and anxiety during the day and make you irritable towards others and difficult to live with. Here are some tips on how to shut off your mind when you cannot sleep so that you can get the rest that you need and feel relaxed and refreshed in the morning.
Why won't my brain shut down to sleep?
How racing thoughts affect a good quality of sleep: Insufficient sleep and racing thoughts are powerful disruptors of a good night’s rest. The reason you can't sleep is that your brain won't turn off. While you are asleep, your mind races from one random thought to another and becomes engaged in what psychologists call internal dialogues. These debates run around in circles within your unconscious mind all night long, keeping you up with racing thoughts and sleepless nights.
The more we practice awareness (focus) during waking hours, we are conditioning our minds to be active while trying to fall asleep at night. This explains why people who drive taxicabs or work long shifts on graveyard duty reports have very little success sleeping when they get home - even after many hours of sleep debt!
The incessant nature of their jobs makes it impossible for them to wind down their busy minds long enough to doze off. Hence, falling asleep is not as simple as lying down in bed and closing your eyes: Your conscious mind needs help shutting off for deep sleep – which means you need to make time for undisturbed relaxation before bedtime.
Ways to deal with racing thoughts and fall asleep peacefully
How to shut off your mind when you cannot sleep: Sleeping is one of our body’s greatest processes. However, there are some people who find it hard to fall asleep due to racing thoughts. As a result, they end up having sleepless nights which leaves them feeling anxious and miserable in the morning. Here are five ways to shut off your mind when you cannot sleep at night. Make sure you practice these steps nightly until you find that sweet spot between awake and dreaming.
#1. Don’t Lie Awake in Bed
Don’t lie awake in bed at night; it will make you crazy. Get up and do something, even if it’s cleaning or walking around. Try some bedtime stretches and breathing exercises. Think of your mind like a fire—if you let it sit idle, it will burn itself out. The same goes for your body: If you stay active, your energy level should be much higher than when you are spending too much time lying on your bed. Ideally, you want to wake up naturally feeling refreshed so that you can start your day without an alarm clock. It takes about 20 minutes for melatonin levels to reach peak sleepiness, so once you hit that mark (while still being fully awake), don’t fight it—roll over and go back to sleep.
#2 Calm Your Mind
Take a bath or drink warm milk: Try to find a way to relax your mind and body. Try meditating, taking a warm bath, or drinking warm milk. Some people also find that engaging in low-impact exercises such as yoga or light jogging can help calm their minds before they go to sleep. In addition, some evidence suggests that natural herbal remedies such as valerian root or melatonin can help reduce racing thoughts and allow you to fall asleep more easily.
#3 Practice Yoga
Take some time to slow down and relax. This is a great time to do some yoga or deep breathing exercises. Find an array of relaxation exercises and yoga practices on The Wellness Corner app. If you meditate, then take advantage of your sleepless night and get in touch with your inner self. Before bedtime, avoid looking at screens (TVs/laptops/phones) for more than an hour so as not to interfere with melatonin production; try reading a book instead.
#4 Free your Thoughts
Try freeing your thoughts by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. By simply concentrating on something simple like breathing, you can calm your mind and reduce anxiety. It’s even more effective if you focus on an essential oil or aromatherapy candle that smells particularly calming to you. It might seem silly, but try it before counting sheep; sometimes getting out of our heads and into our bodies is what we need to do to fall asleep when racing thoughts keep us awake at night.
#5 Focus on Your Senses
Close your eyes and focus on your senses. If you’re in a quiet place, try to hear everything around you—and if there’s noise, focus on how it makes you feel. With your eyes closed, try to smell everything in sight—or just meditate on how scents affect you (and which ones relax or invigorate you). Finally, touch yourself—either by running your hands over your body or rubbing them together as though you’re washing them.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to find yourself looking at your phone or working late into the night. But, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you have to be able to shut off your mind and relax. These ways will help you get a better night’s sleep so that you can be at your best come morning.
If you’re having trouble shutting off your mind, don’t forget about physical activity. Getting up and moving around—even if it’s just to do some dishes—is a great way to release endorphins and keep your mind from racing. And if that doesn’t work, try some visualization exercises & natural remedies..