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How do I stop over thinking at night?

229 Answers
Last Updated: 11/14/2021 at 9:25pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
January 17th, 2020 6:00am
The most obvious and annoying answer is probably go to sleep. But there's something keeping you up, isn't there? Something incessantly oscillating in your mind, like, a loud, dripping faucet. You cannot bring your eyelids together no matter how you will or bellow, because there are a million racing thoughts between them, like cars without brakes and infinite gas supply that is in reality your scarce patience and energy. So we've identified the issue: you need to sleep but these thoughts are in the way and it's an endless cycle. Everyone has their own respecting tricks to wind down and slow their engines, you just need to do some trial and error. Try looking for things that calm you down and take your mind off the thoughts. Do something like read, draw, listening to music, drinking 7 cups of tea ;) , hugging a stuffy, reading the most boring textbook you have, writing down your thoughts and setting them aside, etc; anything that distracts you or calms you down. Don't worry, you'll have time later to worry. Because know this. This ought to stop your thoughts day or night (and I'm sorry if it fails): You cannot solve everything in this moment. It's impossible and you're asking too much of yourself. It's okay, and it's going to be okay. Stop being obsessed with the problem, because right now we have to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day, to wake up refreshed to conquer! :)
January 18th, 2020 6:09am
Over thinking at night, means disturbed mind and poor sleep, for stopping it make some rules to self, like 1) Writing diary before sleep and try to improve situation with positive thinking. 2) Relaxing your mind and body. 3) Meditation 4) Talking with positive people and getting solution 5) Postponing thoughts on next day, like "let's see tomorrow. 6) Activity scheduling. Know this over thinking leads to depression which is always bad for a person, and depression changes perspective towards life, So thinking is good but overthinking and per predictions are useless. so be positive and live in current time not in past or future, things are unpredictable.
April 1st, 2020 3:58pm
Look, this is something I've struggled with and there seems to be no easy "cure-all". What I can say is when trying to stop overthinking at night if you keep focusing on the fact that you are overthinking you're just going to get stuck in a loop. Some things I have done that seem to really help are, imagining a blank piece of paper and noticing details about it, going to my happy place, using headspace sleep casts, listening to music, or if my thoughts are really rumbling I have gotten out my journal and written about whatever is on my mind. Hope this helps!
April 10th, 2020 9:03am
You can try to occupy yourself by reading a book, or watching a movie or writing about what is making you overthink and trying to find a solution to it. You can also talk to a supportive family member or friend about your thoughts and what ever is bothering you so that you are able to know that you have someone to talk to and they are willing to help without judgment or pressure so you can talk about anything. Another method can be calming yourself and thinking about positive things that will make you feel good about yourself y
April 16th, 2020 8:58am
The mind tends to overthink at night when there is nothing to do. There are some basics to stick to when sleeping at night - they are simple, but if kept to will immensely help sleep. It is recommended to keep devices away from bed at night and to keep work at a minimum. This includes all sort of blue light emitting device, as it can greatly reduce the amount of melatonin that you produce and thereby affecting the quality of sleep that you receive. Keep chats, if any, to a few hours before bedtime and keep it outside of your sleepin comg quarters. Dressing in comfortable clothes will help you sleep quickly. Sticking to a routine before bedtime will help overthinking. Finally, counting numbers, and sticking to only counting numbers will help with not thinking about anything else.
April 16th, 2020 5:52pm
It is hard to stop over thinking at night when you're trying to fall asleep. I've struggled with this off and on for more than 2 decades. Some things that helped: 1. Prescription medications prescribed by my psychiatrist (it took several tries to find the right combination that helped without side effects). 2. Writing all of my worries down. My therapist suggested this. She said that since there is nothing I can actually do to fix anything at night when businesses are closed and everyone else is in bed, the best thing I can do is get my worries down on paper so that in the morning I can deal with them or realize that there is actually nothing to deal with. 3. Mindfulness. Focus on breathing (in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4, repeat), count backward from 1000 (until you fall asleep), focus on your senses (play soft music [youtube has lots of "sleep music" or "meditation music"] use aromatherapy [essential oils, lotions, nasal inhalers, etc - don't light candles before trying to sleep], feel the softness of your blankets or your pet cat or dog), etc.
April 17th, 2020 11:32pm
Many people struggle with "shutting their brain off" at night. One way to combat this is to practice good sleep hygiene and getting the brain ready to sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene includes going to bed at about the same time every night, avoiding stimulants like caffeine, spending some time away from your electronics before going to bed, and only using your bed for sleep. Using relaxation techniques can also be beneficial. Some relaxation techniques worth trying include deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. These alleviate worry and can help you stop thinking so much when you're trying to relax.
May 2nd, 2020 7:23am
Try focusing on things happening around. Like listening to the fan/cooler or clock ticking. Or just say stop when you find yourself thinking a lot. Or repeating "me" until you feel better. Or just focus on your breaths. This helps me when I find myself overthinking at night and can't sleep. Also make sure you haven't done some high on energy stuff in 1 hour before sleeping. Like listening to high energised music or playing some online action game. Try reading a book if you still can't sleep. Try to be in the present. I wish you all the best for trying this out .
May 7th, 2020 7:46am
The best way to do that is to give yourself a time to think. Imagine a planned block of time specifically for worrying/overthinking. It's called "Worry Time" give yourself a set amount of time each day (not too close to bed time) to think/analyze/worry/etc. Set a timer. Then stop. Don't even bother going to bed until its sleep time(it helps if you're not watching tv/ phone in bed). Don't allow your sleep area to remain a think area. It's a trade off. "I will give my worries designated time but I will not allow them to come to bed with me." Once you stop associating night time with excessive thoughts and worry you're able to actually rest at night, and sleep, the way you deserve. Good luck, I hope this helps.
May 7th, 2020 7:45pm
i think it would be a good idea to just observe ur thoughts, try to close your eyes and let ur thoughts come and go, without judging whether you like them or not, just observe all your feeling and thoughts, relax your muscles and focus on your breathing, notice how u breathe in or out, notice any outside noises, just listen and observe without judging if you dont like them, if its quiet then listen to the sound of your breathe, if its loud observe it, dont let it bother u, just observe, you'll slowly start feeling sleepy, and eventually fall asleep
May 25th, 2020 1:06am
I meditate before sleeping. It allows me to focus on the present moment or the mantra given during my guided meditation. Sometimes it helps, other times of course it is much harder. But it aides in reducing the amount of thoughts that flow through. In addition to focus on the mantra. I can also focus on breathing. When I focus on my breathe, repeating in my head, breathe in, breathe out, while holding it for five to seven seconds, I am able to ease into myself. I become more calm. By focusing on a mantra through guided meditation, or doing a breathing practice, I've been able to sleep better.
June 10th, 2020 3:55pm
I find the best way to avoid overthinking at night is to create a routine. distance yourself from media and end the night with a book or something that makes you happy. personally, this routine is meditation. It puts my mind at ease and prepares me for a good night's rest. It also helps to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each night. Some other helpful tips are to start a gratitude journal to track all of the positive aspects of your life, this allows you to focus on the good things. I hope this helps!
June 14th, 2020 3:28pm
If you wake at night, there is nothing to distract you. It's just you and the dark bed room and your thoughts! This can be very hard. Often advice is to get out of bed and distract yourself with doing something else, like reading, watching TV or even clean your home. But I'm in bed and I want to sleep so bad! Also, I feel like I would make my girlfriend awake but getting up and do stuff. So I put on ear buds and listen to a body scan on the UCLA mindfulness APP. Helps me stear my thoughts away from the repeating and calms me down.
July 23rd, 2020 6:38am
what i personally find to be really helpful to stop me from overthinking at night and allow me to get a good nights sleep is actually keeping a journal next to my bed, on my bed stand. this means i can free-write all the information flurrying around in my head that deters me from falling asleep at night. our brain keeps turning things over and over because it subconsciously thinks it needs to remember it all. however, if you put them down in a safe place like a journal, your mind will register this and let it go!
July 25th, 2020 12:54am
Overthinking at night is normal for many people. Things you can do are: writing it down into a diary or journal, talking about it to someone if someone is still awake. Taking your mind off of it will be hard but you could try. I am not one to give advice, but the best option is to write it down as it would let you sleep knowing you won't forget the thoughts you were thinking. I know overthinking at night may be tough and can relate, so you are not alone on this topic. Many people also overthink at night, and writing it down had been reported to have helped people.
July 30th, 2020 1:19am
Try writing in a diary before you sleep, that way you can process your thoughts on paper. This helps sometimes because it closes lose ends and forces you to think more slowly- otherwise your thoughts might keep going quickly and you don't get a chance to stop them. Another thing that might help is talking through your thoughts out loud, either with yourself or with someone else. Or maybe a combo of both talking to someone and writing in a diary/journal? Focusing on your breathing or thinking about something else is another thing that might help too. Just depends! Good luck!
July 31st, 2020 6:05pm
In my experience, I allow myself to follow whatever train of thought comes to mind. If the train of thought is destructive or is causing me anxiety or stress, I tend to go through lists of things in my mind, like what I need from the store, what I'm doing tomorrow, or something random like pet names I like. For me, when I try not to overthink, it makes it harder. So, my advice would be to relax and let your mind wander. I hope this helps, and you don't suffer from overthinking for much longer. I hope this advice is helpful to you.
August 5th, 2020 7:47am
Realize what's making you overthink. Your obsession over past or your fear of future. What do you overthink about. Overthinking at night is very common. But to sleep peacefully, you need to stop overthinking. First step is to realize that you are overthinking and you have realized so. Now as you have decided you want to change it, do the choose again method. First step is to notice/disturb the thought whenever you start overthinking, ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Second step is to forgive the thought and yourself and say to yourself or your mind or god, whatever your beliefs are, "Thanks for revealing to me what I don't want so that I can clarify what do I want". Now third step is to choose again, choose better thoughts, choose to think about things that make you feel better. This method will take time and practice but after a certain time and practice you will feel really better. Also you can try breathwork and so it to divert your mind from overthinking. When you will start this, it will take you time as your thoughts will come up while breathwork but don't be hard on yourself. Whenever a thought come up, forgive it and focus again on breathwork. It will make you feel better and breathwork is also good for anxiety, worries, anger and to manage your emotions better. I hope this helps
August 6th, 2020 12:22pm
Over thinking can be really difficult, especially if you feel like you're jumping to conclusions and end up being right about how you're feeling. It can be worse at night for some people as you tend to be along with your thoughts, giving you more time to think and worry about things. Maybe getting into a routine at night could help you relax more, you could also tell yourself that you're not going to worry and you're going focus on yourself. It is important to remember that there's only so much worrying a person can take in a day. Getting into a routine helps you to ease into your sleep, making it less stressful for you and decreasing the anxiety caused by overthinking.
August 16th, 2020 7:53pm
Personally, I struggle loads with overthinking. I'm normally ok during the day, but as soon as night time comes it's like an overload. At first, I would stay up so late that I was too tired to think, which was definitely not the thing to do. It lead to me crashing during the day because I was so tired, emotionally and physically. Over time I worked out a strategy that worked for me. I have to have tea every night before bed and write everything down. I struggled loads with the writing part to start but over time it got better. On a really bad night, I write everything down that crosses my head, and it might take hours and hours but by the end, I can get to sleep. Overall I think that it's trial and error and that what works for me might not work for you. :)
August 23rd, 2020 12:23pm
I think about the next day and what I have planned. I sit and think about all the things I have achieved with my life and the goals that I want to reach eventually. My mind likes to wander so I understand how hard it can be but I believe that if you focus on the good in your life then you should be able to overcome anything you want to and you should be able to stop overthinking at night. As hard as it may sound, I believe that it does work and it is worth a try.
September 5th, 2020 6:56pm
Overthinking is very tough to overcome, especially at night when you can't fall asleep. Even though it is hard to stop overthinking completely it gets easier over time. I find it very helpful to read before bed. This way by the time I want to fall asleep, I am thinking about what I was reading and the story instead of overthinking. You could also try watching a show or listening to a podcast or audiobook if reading is not for you. I also like to listen to music as I fall asleep. Finding or creating a soothing playlist can be very helpful to create a calming atmosphere for sleep. If all else fails, try your favorite activity to relax. Make a cup of tea, wash your face, journal. Try to relax your mind. Many also find that meditation is very helpful in combatting anxiety at night.
September 6th, 2020 11:38am
Make sure that you are actually tired when you go to bed, because if you have a maladjusted sleep schedule or aren't active much during the day then your mind isn't tired yet. Eliminate all light in your room, and avoid screens before bed. When you get stuck on a thought while trying to sleep, accept that there is nothing you can do about it right now and release it. Visualization techniques work well for this too, I like to imagine the problem as a piece of paper that I write down what's bothering me on it then fold it into a plane and throw it away from me.
September 20th, 2020 10:59pm
Overthinking can be very disturbing since it just leads to negative thoughts. Knowing that one overthinks and wanting to stop it is a step forward one takes in growing emotionally. Overthinking may seem difficult to stop but remember, changes take time, habits don't change overnight. However we should not lose hope and celebrate each step we take which only motivate us more. Whenever you find yourself overthinking, write down the thoughts on a sheet of paper, against those thoughts write down the probability of those things actually taking place. It takes places when the mind doesn't not have any facts, once you have nothing to write against your thoughts, you would not want to think about it again. Adding to this, meditation before sleeping can you help free your mind of the negativity. Meditate for about 15 minutes every night before sleeping and avoiding the use phone and you will find yourself in a calmer state.
October 7th, 2020 7:11pm
Personally, I like to find a podcast that tells a story and I try to hyper focus on the details of that story. This helps me to focus on other thoughts than ones that will causes me worry. I would also advise to leave your bed and do something boring until you feel sleepy or calm. Laying in your bed while overthinking or having trouble sleeping can actually make it harder to fall asleep because your body then associates your bed with activities other than sleeping. Finding a way to distract yourself outside of bed can change that association.
October 7th, 2020 9:07pm
This may not work for everyone, but what I find works best for me is turning electronics off, and listening to a guided meditation to fall asleep to. It allows both mind and body to calm down, and it reminds us that we can set aside 10 minutes to not focus on our worries, anxieties and fears--they'll be there once we're finished meditating, so in the meantime we'll allow ourselves just this set time to find some peace. Often this set time is enough to calm us and our minds down to sleep at night. Give it a try and hope it helps!
October 8th, 2020 4:28pm
Physixal exercise can work as anxiety reducer but make sure you do it few hours before bed.Try relaxation exercises, listening to music or take, warm bath. Do not watch thriller series or disturbing contents.Try writing down what is worrying you, whats going on your mind or how your day was. You need not maintain a dairy or journal. Just take a piece of paper and write it down. Try some mental exercises like mental maths, rephrase the crossword etc. Do not play video games or mobile games like candy crush. Try to stay away from your mobile devices. Focus on your pre sleep routine. Wearing fresh clothes, making your bed, closing your curtains etc.
October 20th, 2020 2:58am
I like to engage in a routine before bedtime. I pick up the area around my bed because it makes me feel more relaxed when I’m falling asleep, I prepare for the following day by picking out my clothes and setting aside what I’ll need so it’s easy to grab in the morning, and then I journal about my day. I like to include a list of what I’ve accomplished for the day - even if it’s just brushing my teeth. If I’m over-thinking, I’ll write about my anxiety. I also like listening to guides meditations and going for walks at night.
October 24th, 2020 9:19pm
When I find myself overthinking, I try to distract myself by thinking about future plans instead. What should I do tomorrow? What will I have for breakfast? What do I need to do this week? What plans can I make with my friends that will give me something positive to look forward to? Once I start thinking about those questions, I find myself distracted from what I was initially worrying about. If that doesn't work, I'll grab a nice drink of water and try to distract myself with a warm shower or watching something on TV I love to watch. Sometimes we need a little extra TLC.
October 29th, 2020 5:35pm
Try to distract your mind. you can read a book before going to sleep or you can watch something delightful to freshen up your mood. Then try to sleep, follow a routine like this,it will help slowly.