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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
June 24th, 2015 2:24pm
You can try writing down any thoughts you're thinking about before you go to sleep - any thoughts that might be intrusive. Getting them down on paper and out of your head may help you clear your head and become more relaxed allowing you to sleep.
June 24th, 2015 5:36pm
meditation 10 minutes before you go to bed really helps insomnia , also if you write down your thoughts, it can put things in better perspective
June 25th, 2015 12:29am
Get out of bed and do something else. If you cannot stop thinking about these things, try to set a time for getting them in order before bed-time.
June 25th, 2015 3:33am
Know that it's alright, that you are resting anyway. Focus on how nice it is to have the time to just lie still, feel the sheets or blankets, how comfortable they are, how the temperature in the room is nice (or change it if it isn't), how this free time is a chance to rest, or help yourself rest, with aroma, or breathing or positive thoughts, meditation, anything that helps you rest.
June 25th, 2015 6:18am
Turn on some music or some white noise. Feel your body gradually turn into cement and sink into your bed. Invision a line running slowly down your body, from head to toe.
June 25th, 2015 11:09am
I find listening to music in bed is a good way to sleep, make sure in the evening you keep your lights dim to stimulate your body to sleep I would also download a program called F.lux to your computer that adjust the screen in the evenings so the glare doesn't effect your sleep you can also get an app for your phone called Twilight which also helps by dimming and adjusting the colour at night.
June 25th, 2015 5:52pm
Try listening to calming music, or read. Also, you can write out those thoughts, giving them orginization, better helping to slow them down
June 25th, 2015 6:40pm
read a good book until you are tired, it helps you to stop your thoughts and focus on that what you are reading right now. You can also watch your favorite movie or tv show until you fall asleep.
June 25th, 2015 10:45pm
When this happens to me, I use a guided meditation sleep video on youtube... and just try relax with it.
June 26th, 2015 6:46am
Maybe you could try reading a book before bed, or slowly fall asleep to a show. Do something that relaxes you first before bed
June 26th, 2015 9:15am
If you can't fall asleep, but want to, purposely think about something other then what is stressing you out. This will first trigger your mind towards a slower state and you may start to feel some relaxation. Then focus on something that is slow and dull, hence why most people fall asleep in lectures with monotone teachers or boring subjects. For those of you in tune with your body, when you begin to fall asleep your eyes roll up looking towards your forehead. You can relax into this position and you may notice your mind "fuzzing" in and out towards the center of your mind. This is your trigger to fall asleep. You know you have it when you feel "time distortion" (when you can't tell how long you have been in that "fuzzed" state). You can begin to hold that position and fall right into sleep. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this method, practice closing your eyes and rolling your eyes in the back of your head comfortably, forcing will be painful. Then finding that trigger that pushes your focus to the center of your mind, it feels very similar to the direct center of your head. Focusing there you will forget about whatever you were stressed about and when you do it correctly, you can fall asleep as fast as 30 seconds and as slow as 10 minutes. If you are still awake, do a fun activity that involves a lot of thinking to drain your mind first (not vigorous exercises that pump your blood rapidly), which will also keep your mind focused on something other then what you were stressed about. The most easiest way to practice to know how to do this method is when you are very tired, then you will know how to do it when you are not so tired or need to sleep. This is a method that some people use for poly-sleep schedules since it can be difficult to sleep so quickly (Example of poly-sleep schedule: Sleeping 30 minutes every 4 hours)
June 26th, 2015 6:08pm
This is a perfect application of mindfulness. You can both begin a mindfulness practice everyday as well as learn mindfulness techniques that are responsive to specific situations like not being able to sleep and ruminating. There are many good web and mobile products for mindfulness as well as many classes you can likely take in your community. Mindfulness is very much worth the investment of your time that you put into it!
June 26th, 2015 7:26pm
Try to distract yourself with something. Read a book, or maybe listen to some relaxing music. Positive thinking can help a lot aswell.
June 27th, 2015 12:30am
Using a guided meditation can help shut off buzzing thoughts by giving you something soothing to focus on. Setting a time for the meditation can help tame your mind and put it in a state of relaxation, ready for a restful nights sleep.
June 27th, 2015 5:02am
Develop a before-bed routine that allows you to settle down and let your frustrations out. For example, you could begin to keep a journal where you write down all your thoughts and feelings. Writing can be cathartic- as can drawing, playing music, working out, verbalizing your feelings, etc. You'll find that over time these activities will help stop those racing thoughts; it's as if they're telling your brain it's time to "cool down". It should be easier to sleep, then.
June 27th, 2015 9:54am
The first thing to do is to recognize those thoughts. Then shut them down. I know that they pop up unintentionally, but you can do this!
June 27th, 2015 2:41pm
About an hour before you go to bed, shut down your computer, tv and phone and dim the lights, so your brain will ease from extra stress. If possible, go for a run/walk about three-two hours before going to bed. Before going to bed, read a book, draw.. anything that is relaxing and that relaxes you, anything but something related to technology. Drink chamomile tea. Go to bed and give yourself permission to think about everything for ten-fifteen minutes, so you won't stress about it. In this time, you might already be asleep.
June 27th, 2015 8:02pm
You could try mindfullness! Just download an app and do it at least five times a week (your brain needs to change first). Or you could try to write your thoughts down in a journal. Or start with a routine before you go to bed (writing in your journal, mindfullness, brushing your teeth etc). And turn of your Phone, at least a half hour before you go to bed. Because otherwise the light will keep you awake.
June 28th, 2015 2:28am
Try reading, find something that might intrest you and read to the very last minute before falling asleep. It will help you distract yourself from those thoughts that deprive you from sleeping and help them shut off. I hope you do find a way :)
June 28th, 2015 2:34am
There are a few things you can actually do. However, the one that works best for me is practicing relaxation and breathing exercises. These exercises tend to focus on breathing. Once you focus on breathing, your mind tends to relax allowing you to fall asleep easily.
June 28th, 2015 1:22pm
Making up stories in your mind can help. Just imagine who and where you want to be. I always imagine to be a lighthouse keeper at a calm shore =)
June 28th, 2015 7:47pm
You could try some relaxation exercises. Breathe in and out slowly. I also make up cool stories where I am the hero to avoid thinking about stressing thoughts. Hope I helped a bit!
June 28th, 2015 8:04pm
Here are available free help guide called "Sleeping well" say interesting things, do yourself a look.
June 28th, 2015 11:07pm
I listen to a podcast about something that I'm interested in so that my thoughts stop. This helps me be focused, thus drifting to sleep.
July 1st, 2015 2:18am
Get off from bed after 20 minutes if I couldn't fall asleep. Then visit 7 cups of tea to unload all of my thoughts. Or if I have no internet connection, I'll do my hobbies to distract myself.
July 1st, 2015 5:13am
Put on a guided meditation video on youtube and follow along. Write down what is on your brain and leave there it on the page. Talk it out with a listener on 7 Cups of Tea.
July 1st, 2015 9:59am
This happens to many, many people, so despite how it may feel, you're not alone. If it's due to general mind chatter, I listening to an audiobook on headphones helps me. It's better than the radio, because there are no sudden noises (like a jingle) to wake me up again! There are loads of them online, for example Librivox or Audible. Also available from my local public library, and of course from bookshops. If I can't sleep because I'm worrying, my favourite thing is Emotional Freedom Technique. I'm not trained in it, so I won't try to describe it, but there are many self help resources on the web, in books, etc. I find the videos by Brad Yates on YouTube, to be especially helpful. If the insomnia is coming from thinking about stuff I need to do or to remember, I find writing it down, in a notebook I keep by the bed (or on a phone app) works well. When I really need to connect with another person, or get something off my chest, or I'm just going round and round in my own head - chatting with a 7 Cups Listener is wonderful. I hope those help, do message me if you'd like chat about sleep or anything that's bothering you.
July 1st, 2015 3:21pm
The best way is to distract your mind by concentrating on something else. You can do a body inventory, which is concentrating on each muscle from the toes and fingertips in and relaxing each muscle. Or you can do imagery, like concentrating on feeling like you are floating on a cloud. Or you can use a fantasy situation and concentrate on how it would work. Like I imagine I'm stranded on an island and imagine how I would build a shelter, get food, etc. Any time you feel your worries begin to intrude, go back to the image you are using. You can also try some yoga or meditation before bedtime. All these things can help. You just have to determine which one works best for you. Good luck!
July 1st, 2015 10:16pm
Talk to someone about it, It may be hard but with enough venting you'll feel a lot better. Don't worry!
July 2nd, 2015 2:26am
Try counting your heart beats for 60 second then rest for about another 60. Repeat. If that doesn't work try listening to quiet classical musical or pull out a book. Stay away from electronics as they wont make you fall asleep. They will be more of a distraction.