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How do you block thoughts out from the past when trying to sleep?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 02/07/2017 at 6:30pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Elaine Kish, LMSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

My goal is to treat clients with respect and compassion. I am a supportive, strengths-based therapist with experience in treating mood disorders, grief, and trauma.

Top Rated Answers
March 9th, 2015 7:53am
You can try to distract your mind as you fall asleep. Try sleeping with noise in the background anything from a tv on low volume, soothing music, a fan, even the window open a bit. Focus on the sound and your breathing
March 11th, 2015 11:52am
You can close your eyes, let the darkness sink in and focus on being comfortable. Try really hard to think positively and drown out the past, as you can make a beautiful future.
June 17th, 2015 3:53am
Visualization is something you can do when trying to block out thoughts from the past while trying to sleep. I imagine those thoughts and acknowledge them, then I imagine the thought being surrounded in a bubble. I then thank that thought in my mind and see those bubble thoughts floating away.
April 3rd, 2015 10:56pm
I know this might sound a bit strange, but try to count sheep. Distracting yourself is the best medicine against unwanted thoughts. It can also help to think about a swing - the movements of a swing are very calming and soothing. It sounds pretty weird, but it's definitely worth a try. (:
April 16th, 2015 11:56pm
Think of something else, immediately. This happens to me all the time, and when it does I think of my favorite song or a funny memory. Or even what happened earlier that day.
June 5th, 2015 5:34pm
When you are trying to go to sleep and you have thoughts from the past- It is normally a good idea to focus on something else, think of things that make you happy, not sad. That is normally a good idea :) Another idea, is before you go to bed to sleep, write down all the things that are on your mind and fold it and put it away somewhere, where you don't need to see It, then your worries or thoughts are being looked after, and then hopefully you can have a wonderful night's rest.
September 15th, 2015 12:56pm
Try thinking of something else and focus on only that. It will help you relieve the pressure from your mind.
September 17th, 2015 8:13pm
I use a method called imagery visualization. I think about a memory or place in time where I was happy, calm, serene, and picture it in my mind until I fall asleep
September 28th, 2015 5:29pm
So the first step to blocking an unwanted thought is really embracing the idea that you don't really need to think it. Second, you need a strategy for handling the thought when it does come. A good if-then plan is just what the doctor ordered for coping with unwanted thoughts and disruptive feelings.
October 27th, 2015 11:27pm
Replace them with other thoughts, positive memories, review your day, your achievements, a prayer can help, visualize your next day in a positive way, athletes have always used visualization techniques, and they have proven effective for stress or anxiety. If you can't block them out, write them down, writing them usually does have a therapeutic benefit, and it seems that once we write something down, it's off our minds for a time.
January 5th, 2016 3:40am
I personally struggle with getting a good night's sleep. Every night thoughts from my past enter my mind and I stay up for hours because I can't stop thinking about them. But if the memory is particularly depressing or horrible, it helps to have a good cry. I then think of happy thoughts, encouraging messages, and wonderful moments in my life. If that doesn't work, then I read or write to help me fall asleep. Sometimes I take a few deep breaths and meditate for a while. With these tips, I fall asleep eventually and wake up refreshed.
August 16th, 2016 4:11pm
Think about the future instead, think about how has been your day, how can you make it more productive? think about the things you like most and what makes you happy.
February 7th, 2017 6:30pm
well i distract and calm myself by taking a hot shower/bath, brushing my teeth, drinking a cup of hot tea and watch funny tv series and eventually just fall asleep.