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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
January 13th, 2016 10:48am
Try listening to music. Find the music that calms you down, download it on your phone and put headphones on. It could be weird at first but trust me you'll get used to it and soon you won't have any problems with sleeping. It surely helps me. :)
May 23rd, 2016 6:03pm
Take a melatonin, if recommended. Also, breathe in for 5 seconds, out for 10. Deep breathing helps.
March 6th, 2017 2:49pm
Try a progressive muscle relaxation activity, starting with toes and up to head. You can tense up muscles and deep breathe for 20 seconds, then release for 20 seconds. Move to next muscle, and all the way up. Starting with toes, tense toes and release, then arch of foot, then release, then ankles, then release, calfs, etc. If I am deep breathing during this, I usually fall asleep before I get to my shoulders. If not, my body is completely relaxed when I'm done and I drift off.
February 5th, 2018 6:29pm
If you can't sleep due to stress, do something that will keep you away from thinking e.g.. playing a game on your phone whilst on bed
May 10th, 2015 1:46am
Try to wear yourself down before sleep. Either by exercise, chamomile tea, or doing something that consumes energy. Or try to rid yourself of the cause of the stress. Also, eating too close to bedtime can cause your body to keep going. Or, keep telling yourself to stop thinking about it for now and to get some rest. Although that sounds like it's easier said than done, just try to say it out loud to yourself. Talking yourself through things. I have personally found exercise to work the best, make yourself so tired that you just pass out (obviously in a healthy way.)
May 29th, 2015 9:43pm
You should try and find ways to relax yourself. Have a walk around the house, get a snack, read a book or take a quick shower. You could also do some exercise during the afternoon so that you are exhausted when you go to bed hence not worrying about your thoughts. Relaxation music and meditation also helps. Find a time during the day to give importance to your thoughts, sit down and have a time for yourself, a time to listen to every thought (introspection).
May 30th, 2015 12:32am
Usually what I do in this case, is literally stay up :p I use this as an opportunity to watch anime or play handhelds games that I'm a bit left behind with. Eventually, after a short while of playing/doing whatever it is your doing, you'll fall asleep as quick as sudden rain.
May 30th, 2015 3:46pm
well dear use proper bed,mattress,stretch and relax it will help you and try to limit caffeine eat dry fruits before sleep
June 18th, 2015 11:08pm
I drink something warm or eat something warm.. then I listen to soft music via headphones, lay my phone down and keep it on silent. and I usually tend to fall asleep.
June 19th, 2015 8:00am
Turn on a light and grab a piece of paper and a pen. What are you stressed out about? Write it down. Then think about a few things you can do to relieve those stressors and write them down as well. Leave your paper on a positive note with writing something like, "I will take charge of this tomorrow!". Go to bed knowing that in the morning, your work is waiting for you on that paper, but tonight, your mind is in your bed, getting you rested up for the day ahead.
June 19th, 2015 8:29am
Try meditation. Relaxing music like nature sounds helps a lot. You can also try opening window. Fresh air is so calming.
June 19th, 2015 12:08pm
Drink tea before you go to bed and hear music before you fall asleep,music which make you feel good,happy etc
June 19th, 2015 6:36pm
I take deep breaths and stay calm before going to bed. If there is a lot on my mind and I simply cannot shut it all off, I get up, pray, or write in my diary and let out the thoughts. I try my best to stay positive, and think rationally about everything I am worrying about. If I am still unable to shut it off, I try my best to plan out what I can do with regards to my worries. Hope this helps!
June 19th, 2015 7:32pm
Don't sleep untill you are ready. Engage in different activities that keep your mind off the issue and then... when you are ready you sleep
June 19th, 2015 9:08pm
What helps me the most is visualization meditations
June 19th, 2015 10:29pm
Listening to something can sometimes help whether it is calming music, or a guided meditation track, or even just white noise. Focus on these sounds instead of the thoughts in your head. You can even try to meditate a little as you lay in bed. Focus on your breathing, and focus on the weight of your body sinking into your bed. If the thoughts creep back into your head, gently push them away and refocus.
June 20th, 2015 2:51am
I do some breathing exercises and play some soothing music. If it still does not work, i think of happy thoughts and tell my whole body to rest.
June 20th, 2015 5:03am
I would suggest u better not concentrate on your sleep and thoughts. Just engage yourself in some activity like reading or listening music , or any other activity .but don't focus that u can't sleep.. Try it once I am sure it will help you out.
June 20th, 2015 1:30pm
Just do what you like, & Put on headphone with a song you like then hear the lyrics. If not change the environment you often sleep
June 20th, 2015 5:01pm
I find that all the electronic gadgets (phone, computer etc.) really wind my brain up for the day so now I try to shut everything down and disconnect at least .5 hr before bed. Some things I find helpful are guided meditation or just peaceful music on UTube like rain or tibetian bells. I also try to keep my sleep environment free of sounds and at a coolish temperature. In other words, until my mind has a chance to wind down, any little thing can afford a distraction or irratation, so I try to make the area around me peaceful. Sometimes I light a scented candle or incense. I also find when all else fails and I am really restless a hot show in candlelight helps me. Reading a good old fashioned (paper in hand) inspiring book can help. Something that puts me in a positive frame of mind (funny or spiritual). Basically that half hour is for transitioning in a pleasant way from the days hectic business. Things I do not do regularly myself but which I hear can be helpful is gentle yoga stretches, sitting meditation, deep breathing and writing a gratitude list of 5 things you are grateful for in full sentences like "I am grateful for my cat kittie coo, because she is cuddly and keeps me company. Oh and sometimes (if she is in the mood and snuggling with me) I pet her or brush her fur. She always returns the favor with some scratchy cat shows of affection. And keeping a journal generally is a great hobbie and growth tool and a comfort.
June 20th, 2015 6:31pm
it seems to me that this stress is causing you to overthink when all you want to do it shut off and sleep
June 21st, 2015 12:14am
Breath. Try to put your mind in blank. Then think about how it would feel to be stress less. Remember tomorrow will be a new day to try to solve your problems.
June 21st, 2015 5:39am
What I tend to do personally is to do some deep breathing exercises. When that doesn't work, I usually put on some podcasts to listen to because it helps distract my mind and especially with comedy podcasts, they make me laugh and help me get my mind off of things that I'm worrying about :)
June 21st, 2015 8:18am
Trying to sleep when you are super stressed is one of the hardest things to do. Although, there are many things that you can do to help you get the sleep that you need. Trying those different things is important until you find the right one for you specifically. Some people drink tea or milk before they go to bed. Some people may eat a banana, or listen to music. My college roommate would go for a drive every time she felt overly stressed, it didn't matter what time it was, she would just hop in her car and drive. Finding something that helps calm you is important not just for sleeping but for every day life.
June 21st, 2015 4:17pm
It's too normal. If I were you, I try to listen to music while I sleep. I think it will help you. But use new songs. :)
June 21st, 2015 6:34pm
Try and relax, picture a nice memory and practice deep breathing. If you are struggling to sleep even then then take some sleeping medication have a bath and drink a nice hot chocolate and you will fall straight to sleep
June 21st, 2015 11:07pm
There are plenty of de-stressing and relaxation techniques and practices that can be found online. I have found my greatest resource to be a good story. Whenever my thoughts begin to run, i put that energy to use and daydream an adventure for myself while i'm in bed. I couple this activity with my SleepGenius app, and it makes for a wonderful night of slumber.
June 24th, 2015 2:25am
try the 4-7-8 breathing technique - it is very effective! (consult a physician first if you have any health-related concerns_) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
June 24th, 2015 4:37am
This takes time, relieving of stress can performed by breathing, doing hobbies that you enjoy or simply calming down and resting. Shutting off thoughts, is a complicated process, if sleeping is not an option, meditation is known to relieve of stress.
June 24th, 2015 4:39am
Try thinking about things your going to do, goals you hope to accomplish. By focusing your thoughts onto one subject, you should feel more calm and you'll go to sleep with a positive feeling. Another way is to listen to calming music or nature sounds
Talk to an expert therapist about sleep
So far very responsive, helpful and kind.
Reviewed Jul 6, 2020

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