If you’ve ever tried to sleep but ended up laying in bed for an hour two, tossing and turning in sleeplessness, you know precisely the negative impact sleep problems can cause. Sometimes the quality of our sleep is impacted by outside issues, like noise from a busy nearby street or not having enough darkness in your room because of a street lamp. Yet, sometimes our sleep struggles are entirely internal, a struggle that is often hard due to racing thoughts at bedtime.
Racing thoughts are like out-of-control thoughts—it’s thinking that is persistent and feels out of your control as the thoughts recur. Suddenly you realize it’s been an hour of you trying to curb your thoughts and sleep wins. When something as integral to our health and functioning as our sleep is interrupted by our thoughts, it’s time to take action. Here’s how to put your racing thoughts to bed:
- Journal: Being kept awake by racing thoughts at night can sometimes be thought of as your brain’s way of catching up on thoughts you didn’t have time for during the day. Catch up on those thoughts before bed by starting a journal to help you compartmentalize your thoughts. Writing your thoughts is also great for externalizing them and finding an end thought for them.
- Meditate: After you put those thoughts down on paper, practice letting go of any thoughts that return with meditation. Meditation before bed is a great way to switch into off-mode and let go of the day. Start with short sessions and slowly increase time spent meditating as the habit becomes more robust.
- Routine: Starting a bedtime routine is a wonderful way to get your body and mind to cooperate with your sleep needs. By creating a routine where you prepare for sleep at the same time every night the same way, you’ll condition yourself to be ready for sleep when the time comes. Try some pleasant habits like a cup of chamomile tea and 15 minutes of journaling and meditation before you go to sleep.
Racing thoughts can be a massive drain on our sleep quality, as they steal time meant for sleeping. These three tips can make a major improvement in reducing racing thoughts the next time you go to bed.