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I'm stressed out and when I try to go to sleep I can't shut off my thoughts. What should I do?

269 Answers
Last Updated: 01/07/2019 at 6:07pm
I'm stressed out and when I try to go to sleep I can't shut off my thoughts. What should I do?
★ This question about Sleeping Well was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
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Top Rated Answers
August 6th, 2015 4:44pm
This may not work for everyone, but sometimes watching television while trying to fall asleep can help. By focusing on something, thoughts are interrupted and sleep may come easier. Of course watching television while trying to sleep can have the opposite of the intended effect on people, but it's worth a shot!
August 9th, 2015 6:26pm
Speaking from my own experience, I find it extremely helpful to read a few pages of a book or listen to calming music for a little while. I suggest staying away from using electronic devices in bed as this can keep your brain over-active and it'll be even harder to rest!
August 16th, 2015 10:05pm
Take deep breaths, and focus on clearing your mind. Take some time for yourself, and work out any techniques that may help you relax.
June 19th, 2015 4:29am
You could try several different things, or combination of things, such as creating a comfortable sleeping space, meditation, deep breathing techniques, etc. Then you could incorporate these into your routine, when you discover the things that work best for you. You could also consider discussing your options with a Doctor, therapist, holistic practitioner, or any resources you work well with.
July 22nd, 2015 3:10pm
When you are stressed out when you need to go to seep and you cannot shut off your thoughts, you need to calm down. You could calm down my putting background music on (soothing piano), or by counting. Counting doesn't work for everybody, but it worked for me.
July 23rd, 2015 4:01pm
There are various things you could do and I think it comes down to what relaxes you the most. Listening to soothing music can help, hypnosis, a warm bath, watching a movie and breathing exercises are all great techniques.
July 24th, 2015 1:21pm
Breathing really helps, breathe in a deep breath and then breathe out and continue to do this for a few minutes. Another good idea is to invision you have a candle in front of you and then blow the candle out. Or you can watch some YouTube (quietly) if you really can't sleep. If it's really bothering you though and you're losing a lot of sleep then trying to find some relaxing music or videos can really help you start to regain lost sleep :)
July 26th, 2015 6:28am
Try breathing deep for few minutes, or may be count some sheep's. If you still can't go to sleep for half an hour do some activity off the bed, may be take a walk or read something and before trying to get back to sleep.
July 26th, 2015 11:35pm
What I find is listening to some soft calming music helps, keep your phone off get comfy in bed, in a dark room, and let the soft music take over and should hopefully settle your mind to go to sleep. I hope it helps
July 30th, 2015 8:17pm
Try doing something calming before bed. Remove and turn off all devices in your room. Open the window 15 minutes before hand to let in fresh air. Make a hot caffeine free drink like hot milk, chamomile tea or hot chocolate. Leave lavender in your pillow cases. If you still can't get to sleep try relaxation apps like white noise or rain
July 30th, 2015 10:26pm
Sometimes reading before bed can distract the brain and tire the eyes out, or even counting backwards from 100 can help you doze off as well.
July 31st, 2015 7:59am
In my personal experience, listening to music helps when I can't shut my brain off and I need to sleep. If I focus more on the music than my own thoughts, it helps my brain relax and start going into sleep mode.
August 6th, 2015 10:30am
There's a little trick. Try to repeat 0-1-0-1.. in your mind. You will fall asleep and your brain won't have the chance to bring other things in your mind because it is busy counting!
August 14th, 2015 2:02am
Meditation is helpful when trying to sleep. There are lots of good meditation videos to listen to on youtube
May 8th, 2015 2:58am
Try listening to one of your thoughts, usually you are skimming through every thought possible. I have noticed when I focus on just one of my many thoughts it leads on the thought train to sleepy town :)
June 19th, 2015 2:24pm
One thing that is very helpful to me is simply focusing on my present environment. When my mind is racing and I am stressed, worried and restless, it helps to just calm down and focus on what is going on around you. Once I listen to the sounds, maybe crickets or my partner breathing, or feel the breath going in and out of my nose, I start to realize that what is happening right now isn't as bad as I thought. I am just laying there, in a comfortable bed, and there is no reason to be stressed about something that isn't happening right then in that moment.
June 27th, 2015 3:44pm
يمكنني التغلب على كل المشاكل النفسية , بأستخدام التفكير المنطقي , وجعل الهدف في الحياة ليس العيش فقط , و إنما اكثر من ذلك ..
July 29th, 2015 5:56am
If stress is causing sleeplessness i suggest finding the source of the stress. Possibly learn ways to manage stress, find stress, and communicate it with someone you trust talking too.
July 31st, 2015 7:25pm
just get up and do something else. while trying you wont get sleep,so you eill again try and it goes on like a better if you dont get sleep,dont struggle, get up,doo something and sleep when you feels sleepy
August 5th, 2015 2:42am
I would recommend speaking to someone about this thoughts... I've been there and it really takes a weigh of your shoulders
August 9th, 2015 12:22pm
I've always found that the best way to get away from feelings like this is to detach completely. I go on youtube and put on an ambient or relaxation playlist, clean the room as much as possible, make sure everything in my immediate area is secured, and lay down. I can usually parse my feelings at this point.
August 9th, 2015 8:56pm
Create an evening routine that follows up to bedtime. Doing this routine will remind your body in the future when to get tired. Also, cutting off cell phone use/television/hearing bad news before going to bed can help.
August 14th, 2015 5:32pm
There are several good things that you can do. One thing is, if you're worrying about remembering things for tomorrow, you can keep a piece of paper and a pen next to your bed and write things down. That way, you don't have to focus on that anymore. If it's general stress/anxiety, you could try progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises. Feel free to check out our self-help guide on sleeping has some great ideas also!!
August 14th, 2015 10:34pm
Well if this has been constant you should probably see a doctor or a councillor. They are able to provide you with therapy or sleeping pills
August 15th, 2015 5:24am
Well. Whenever I csnt shut off my thoughts as you put it before I go to sleep I play relaxing music to try to help calm me. And I also try to think about good things that happened and avoid the bad thoughts.
August 16th, 2015 4:45am
In fact it is nearly impossible to shut off thoughts. don't try to stop. just observe them without involve emotionally. you feel light. then try to remember your happy movements for couple of minutes and then try to count 100 to 0 slowly.. very slowly.... very very slowly... . I hope you never come up to zero, because, in between you already fallen in tot deep sleep. It helped a lot of people. Why not for you?
August 16th, 2015 9:38am
Try to drink manzanilla tea it helps you to relax and sleep comfy, try to clear out your mind for a while
October 16th, 2015 12:21am
I myself have the same problem, I usually start by watching a some tv and lighting a lavender scented candle (They are proven to enhance sleep), to get my mind off the things that are stressing me out I avoid talking to any people that have to do with that a couple hours before laying down.. and I think about all the productive things I have done, and rather than thinking about all the things I have to do the next day I think about one thing and how I can get it done to avoid anxiety.
January 2nd, 2016 4:42pm
Try to meditate, take a deep breath and focus to it. Then listening with a relaxing music will be helpful too. Don't be afraid to anything that's negative, just see it as a normal matter that can't be avoided and remove the thinking of "What IFs!" because after all if you fail, then it isn't the end.
January 6th, 2016 2:46am
Personally i listen too music or even a film too tire me out a bit of background noise will help shut of thoughts!