If you are one of those people that just can’t fall asleep due to racing thoughts…you are not alone. Millions of people, including I, deal with that exact situation more than a couple nights a week.
What causes a racing mind prior to falling asleep?
Typically, a racing mind is caused by a lack of sleep. Ironic right? The one thing causing you to not be able to sleep, is actually caused by lack of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a proper night’s sleep for adults is 7-9 hours. Many of us, don’t get anywhere near that.
What happens when your mind races?
Well, you stress. Stress is what starts to happen to your body when your mind is racing. If you are unable to calm your racing mind, it becomes a revolving door situation. Your mind races, you stress about not being able to fall asleep, your mind races more and so on.
Most thoughts one has while their mind is racing before bed fall into three categories.
- What should I have done different today.
- What do I need to do tomorrow.
- I can’t believe I’m can’t fall asleep.
5 Methods To Stop A Racing Mind
The Kung-Fu Way
This method is really helpful to bring your attention fully to the present when you trying to get to sleep. Hold both hands out straight (like a Kung Fu Master), then think of the outside of your right hand as the future and the outside of the left hand as the past. Now bring your attention to the distance between your two hands that represents the present, and focus on just the present. Forget the past and remove any thoughts of the future.
Relax Your Entire Body
- Focus on your psychical body, which you can control.
- Do this exercise while laying on your back.
- Start with your head and while taking deep breaths, imagine your head sinking into the bed slowly.
- Move to your neck and shoulders and do the same thing. You will start feeling relaxed.
- Keep going and focus on your arms and hands.
- Then your rear and upper legs.
- On to the calves and then feet.
- Make sure to breath in through the nose, hold it for 3-seconds and breathe out slowly through the mouth. Do this through all steps.
- The idea here is to focus so much on your body that your thoughts begin to fade. The added benefit being that these exercises will leave your body relaxed and ready for sleep.
Try taking deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth, holding each breathe for 3 seconds. Notice the tension leaving your body on each exhale. Similar to the above exercise, except you are solely focusing on your breathing.
This breathing technique is actually wildly used by many hypnotherapists to place their patients in a relaxed state of mind.
Pattering Quiet Activities
- Think about activities that calm you and put you in a more open minded or relaxed state.
- For some people, it’s painting, reading, knitting, or puzzle books or playing music.
- The activity shouldn’t be overly physical or mental.
- Start making it a habit of doing this activity before you go to bed.
Before you go to bed, take some time and write. Recount your successes of the day, or write about anything that makes you happy. This will slow down your thoughts and send you off to sleep in a positive mindset.
For some people, falling asleep with a TV on is the worst thing you can do for a racing mind. However, some find it soothing and allows them to fall asleep quickly.
If you are going to watch TV in order to ease your mind, it is recommended you watch what many call ‘comfort shows’. Find a show or movie that bears happy feelings and memories. This will ease your mind and cause you to forget about the racing thoughts.
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