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How do I stop over thinking at night?

230 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
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.
November 11th, 2020 12:53am
To stop over thinking at night, I find it so helpful to set a night time routine and follow it daily. Giving myself a routine helps me focus on my own wellbeing rather than whatever else is bothering me. Two things that really help ease over thinking at night time are journalling and meditation. Journalling is perfect for getting out all of your stresses and worries, allowing you to better think through your feelings. Once you right down everything you're feeling in a journal, I find it to be relieving, those negative thoughts out of my mind and only existing in the journal. Meditation works in a similar way. Meditating before bed allows you to process and let go of whatever is bothering you, focusing on calmness and serenity. Guided meditation really helps to ground yourself and your thoughts, making you less likely to become overwhelmed by your thoughts throughout the night.
December 3rd, 2020 3:15am
I think it would be helpful to create a schedule that you follow at night. This way you get your body used to knowing that at a certain time or when you start doing certain things it's time to go to sleep. Also, it might be helpful to write out your thoughts. You could write out your thoughts using paper and pencil. You could write in a journal that you keep by your bed, or on random pieces of trash/scratch paper. You could also try just typing out your thoughts on your computer or phone. You could do this by using your notes app, writing in a word processor, texting/emailing yourself (or keeping it in the drafts section), etc.
December 11th, 2020 10:46pm
I use grounding exercises to reorient myself to the present, like 54321, i.e., five things I can see, four things I can feel, three things I can hear, two things I can smell, one thing I can taste. Then I breath in and out slowly, expanding my stomach (not my chest) and making the exhale longer. This helps me almost every time. I also make a point to "schedule" my worrying. I make lists and problem-solve twice a day--once in the morning and once in the evening around dinner time--not too close to bedtime. When I feel myself dwelling too much, I remind myself of my schedule and that ruminating doesn't help me. These techniques help me almost all the time. I hope they can help you, too. :)
January 8th, 2021 2:11am
It is so normal to over think especially at night. I usually find myself overthinking at night the most and get a lot of anxiety because of it. Something that really helped me was meditating before sleeping. It really calms me down and it makes me more tired, so I sleep better too. Another thing that really helped me was journaling and writing down what I was over thinking about. When I have all my thoughts down on paper, it makes me feel more relaxed and my mind isn't flooded with thoughts. Listening to calming music while journaling and meditating really help too!
January 20th, 2021 4:45pm
You can try deep breathing, muscle relaxation, counting, listening to music, reading, or any other skill to keep yourself busy! You could also try talking to a close friend, parent, coach, teacher, or other relative. Keeping yourself busy works as a distraction to keep your mind away from the negative, or unpleasant thoughts. Playing with a pet can also be helpful, and so is exercise. Exercise gets your heart pumping, blood flowing, and endorphins are released to help you feel more positive, energized, and motivated. You can also google some other ways to distract your mind and different ways to help you stay busy and focus on other things.
February 12th, 2021 9:19pm
Start taking deep breaths when your mind diverts! Get the control over your breathe and relax. Start counting from 1-10 and concentrate the way your breathe goes, inhalation and exhalation process! Sometimes your mind diverts , try to get back and control the breathe. Think of the good times you had and happy memories you had, and things you always feel grateful for. Think of the good deeds you did for that day and think of the nice and warm people you have met. It helps to stop overthinking and make you fully focused on your sleep process. Stress is the main cause for the lack of sleep.
February 23rd, 2021 3:22am
I was once told by the chair of the Dept. I was teaching in at the University something very wise. When I was overwhelmed with many thoughts one day, she looked me square in the eye and said "ya' know Marla, you have the right to tell those thoughts to just go away...and ya' know why...because they are just taking up space, and not paying rent. How true that is and I remember it every time I feel as though thoughts are just racing through my head, or I become overwhelmed, or find myself simply over analyzing the situation. And really, for me, it is helpful and works.
February 27th, 2021 7:02pm
This has happened to me in the past. I usually do breathing exercises to try to stop thinking and relax. I like to listen to music or podcasts or watch movies or shows to distract myself. Background noise really helps me. I think about if my thoughts are rational or irrational because I tend to think about things that are irrelevant like our existence. I like to cook and bake because it is stress relieving. Hobbies are a great way to distract yourself from thinking too much.
March 17th, 2021 5:20pm
Sometimes it can be difficult to put our minds to rest at night. It can feel like we are tired or ready to rest, but our minds just keep thinking, unable to stop or settle down. When this happens, it can help to close our eyes and try to clear our minds by focusing on our breath. Centering ourselves and focusing on the simple in-flow and out-flow of our breath can help to slow down those racing thoughts. If (or when) your mind starts to wander, just think back to your breath, and follow the in and out of your breath once more. The more practice you have with this, the easier it will become to set aside nagging thoughts and recommit to your breathing. This should help quiet your mind and make it easier to stop overthinking.
April 24th, 2021 4:35am
I like to have a notebook by the bedside where I can write down the thoughts on my mind, tasks to do or some other worries. Or it might just be some words of encouragement for myself. Sometimes at night thoughts spiral in my head when I am supposed to be resting and recharging. I think it would help as well when we do something that would get us wind up for sleep. We can read a book or listen to some soothing music for a while to calm us down. It is said that 80% of our worries do not actually come true. But we may be worrying unnecessarily. But it is okay to worry occasionally.
May 15th, 2021 5:14pm
I can try to establish a winding down routine. This could look like turning off all technology, taking a bath, and reading a few minutes from a book. This will help you wind down and hopefully quite down your mind. Meditating has also been shown in studies to quite down the mind and help you overthinking during the night. there are many different types of meditating practices, you can search these up and see which one fits your preference. Journaling also helps to put all those thoughts racing in the head down on paper so they no longer occupy your mental space.
May 22nd, 2021 10:25am
I am a crazy overthinker and this overthinking has definitely affected me in crazy ways. In order to try and stop my overthinking, I have tried various sleeping exercises. The first one is a breathing exercise where I breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. While doing the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, the mind tends to focus more on the breathing rather than the thoughts. Another similar exercise works with the muscles of the body. Clenching one muscle at a time from your head to your toe and then releasing is really helpful. These methods make you sleepy so that you don't have to stay awake and overthink
May 28th, 2021 11:25pm
When you're always on the go, it can be difficult to shut your mind off at night when you need to sleep. Take some time to reflect on what you're thinking about. Are they about work, school, and life? Or are you getting creative? I find it helpful to make to-do lists for the next day before bed so that I don't have to worry about remembering tasks. Journalling before bed also allows me to release all my thoughts onto paper, regardless of the topic or mood. It can be easy to distract yourself with electronics, but this might just feed into your active mind even more!
June 2nd, 2021 12:47pm
I personally listen to music or do something like reading a book. Something that can be used as a healthy distraction until you feel tired enough to go to sleep with less thoughts racing around your head. I know others use art to channel their thoughts into something visual. Adult colouring books are also a good shout if you aren't as artistic but want to do something to calm yourself down. Equally, meditation can also work - guided meditation in particular helps to quieten your thoughts and focus on your breathing instead. It's probably best to avoid your phone although talking to someone on here for example could help in some scenarios.
July 29th, 2021 11:26am
Some ways to prevent overthinking before bed time is to start meditating, listening to calm peaceful music or beats, or just being aware of your thought process and if you start going down the negative road just stop yourself and ask why they're arising, if there's any validity to it. Meditation allows one to observe the chain of thoughts from an above perspective instead of being stuck in your mindless, never-ending thoughts. It trains your mind to be more conscious and self aware. Breathing exercises help to calm oneself down too. Binaural beats, chants, white sounds are some of the beats found on YouTube for better sleep.
September 22nd, 2021 9:00pm
Try to distract yourself with something before you go to sleep, maybe talk with someone you trust before you go to sleep, write down your thoughts and feelings and drink a glass of water. It can get quite hard not to over think at night sometimes as that’s when we tend to get most thoughts come in to our head and we start thinking about lots of things that worry us, try to avoid social media right before you go to bed, do something relaxing before bed, possibly reading a book or having a bit of down time. Try to create a cosy environment too.
September 23rd, 2021 9:17pm
I can empathize with this one, and for years trying to “shut off” my brain seemed nearly impossible Night or better, bedtime is supposed to be the time we close out for the day, putting the day behind us, ready to relax and rejuvenate for the next day. This seems impossible most nights, but trying a wind down period prior to going to bed can help. Find something relaxing and mindless, allow yourself an hour of “nothing”, giving your brain a chance to unstimulate itself. When you finally do reach your pillow, remember nothing can be done about anything at that exact moment. Allow yourself that peace, and try to slowly say the word black in your head. Move then to visualizing black, and try to stay with it. Eventually it becomes dark and heavy and sleep can come. Another technique you can try is staying on the number 1. Don’t count up! If you find yourself moving forward in numbers, reset yourself to 1 and stay there, never moving higher:)
November 11th, 2021 2:26pm
If you are overthinking do some measures before going to bed. You can take a cold shower, drink a hot glass of milk or a cup of tea. You can also do some yoga or meditation. Stretching your body and being mindful of your breeding you will relax your muscles and calm your mind. Don't go to bed to late. If your mind is still racing you can try counting down from 100 to 0 while visualizing the numbers. After that you can use some bigger number to count down like 1000. Apart from numbers you can imagine sheeps or some other animals jumping over fence.
November 14th, 2021 9:25pm
Based on my personal experience. Get up, have a nice hot green tea and do some breathing exercises to clear the mind of what may be keeping you up at night. Also, reading a book can help, rather than overthinking about whatever it is you are overthinking about, read a book. You’ll be more likely to be relaxed and less thinking about what you were overthinking about. Take time for yourself! If you feeling you’re overthinking to much, take some time for you! Go for a walk perhaps, take a hot bath, read a book. Relaxation is the main priority