Almost all of us struggle with a racing mind when we go to bed at night. We have finished the daily chores, had a happy meal, and technically we are done with the day. But our mind is not. The moment we come to bed and try to sleep, a sharp wave of thoughts rises inside us. It’s like an explosion of all old and new memories, the recent happenings of the day, the expectations, and disappointments, even the pleasant things that occurred during the day, all accumulate and set the chain reaction in motion.
Our subconscious mind also comes into the play and adds more imaginative drama to the whole process. Basically, the loop is all about what went wrong and what went right, what should have happened instead, and how to make it better. But, the thing is, it cannot be called proper planning because the complete story that plays in our mind is purely involuntary. It goes on without any effort and sadly, we don’t have any button to pause it when we want to.
Most of the thoughts that occupy our mind at night are random. They do not carry any particular structure or form. We just flow in the big waves of our speculations filled with all kinds of feelings and emotions. Some may be happy, some make us sad, and others might make us curious or fearful.
The night hours pull us into such vulnerable state that we hardly have any control over ourselves. The subconscious mind takes over the conscious mind and takes us wherever it wants to. At one moment, we may be thinking about something, and the next moment the thoughts may be completely different and unrelated to the previous one.
Generally, it is nothing but just worry and anxiety that we think about. A non-productive process and very self-consuming on that, it may pull people into a deeply negative state of mind, causing further stress. Although, it is quite normal and up to a certain level acceptable to have such troubles and racing state of mind while trying to fall asleep, proper attention should be given to this issue if one sees things getting out of the hands.
The results of non-stop thinking and consistent sleepless nights can be very serious. It may ultimately impact every aspect of our lives and worsen our health and peace of mind. A large population across the globe is dealing with troubles while trying to sleep and the condition is spreading like an epidemic. However, with some necessary changes in our way of living, thinking, and with the help of medicines, excessive sleeplessness can be controlled.
For the solution of any problem, it is essential to first find out about and understand its root cause. Only then, can that problem be resolved properly and completely. Giving a thought to what is actually troubling our mind enables us to solve those issues and gain access to a healthy sleep cycle.
Nothing eats us alive like those emotions and feelings which we have suppressed. Suppressing doesn’t erase them, but only worsens our situation. Things that we hide in us keep revolving inside and do not let us sleep peacefully.
Worry is just an accumulation of clueless and random negative thoughts that solve no purpose in real life. It is just the opposite of some constructive thinking and drains the mind badly for days. Over the time, the habit of worrying continuously becomes so natural that we hardly can control it. The disturbances also creep into our sleeping time and consequences are sleepless nights.
When we go to bed with unresolved issues, they stay with us for a longer time and on a deeper level than we can imagine. Things we try to run away consciously, come back to haunt us when the subconscious mind takes over and this precisely happens at night when we are about to sleep.
It’s a fact that money is a crucial aspect of our lives. We all have different standards and ways of life. In order to continue living that way, a smooth and consistent source of income is necessary. When we face any challenges in that matter, it may disrupt our peace of mind and take away the sweet sleep that we used to have before.
Having relationship troubles with our partners, old parents with illnesses or kids performing poor in academics are some of the very common personal problems faced by all of us. When these troubles cross the limits and begin to pose a serious threat to our healthy personal lives, the results are bound to show up in the form of disturbed sleep.
Going through some serious illnesses can interrupt in the circadian cycle. Diseases are accompanied by restlessness, dizziness, irritability, mood swings, weakness, and unpredictable changes in body and mind. The hormones of the body can also be affected which in turn deteriorate our sleep cycle.
Excessive indulgence in junk foods, sitting in the chair for a long time, having mostly an indoor life, not keeping busy in a creative way are all parts of a poor lifestyle and lead to a racing mind at night. The other factors responsible may also include not eating on proper time, having too much caffeine during the day or evening hours, and binging on fried foods.
Most of us don’t realize how much browsing or television watching is too much watching. Screen time is not just about phone usage. Kids and adults both indulge in excessive usage of video games, television, watching TV series on the internet without keeping any track of time. Hours and hours pass away unnoticed, such as the spell of various kinds of online and offline entertainment available on the computer. This tires our mind to great extent and causes trouble while trying to sleep.
Excessive Screen Time
The type of blue and white light which reflects on our eyes while we stare at the phone, computer or television screens confuses our brain. It is very much similar to the daylight and gives our mind a false perception of daytime instead of night. Consequently, those parts of our brain are activated which keep us bright and awake. This acts as a hurdle and prevents us from falling asleep at night.
Different kinds of chemicals may have several kinds impacts on the working of our brain. Drugs, especially, for mental disorders or other chronic physical diseases dissolves in the brain and influence the sleep mode of the body. If one is not able to sleep, medicines can also found to be playing a vital role in that.
Scientists have revealed that our brain and body function just like zombies. They are more comfortable when they know what to expect next. This is why following a routine is recommended. In absence of a routine, the brain gets puzzled and it becomes harder for us to fall asleep at new bedtime every day.
Alcohol sounds like something which might help us to fall asleep. But, it deteriorates the quality of sleep over the time, causing sleepless nights and even insomnia. Drinking excessively ruins the digestive system of our body and also has serious consequences on the circadian cycle.
Sleeping is an important component of human beings. We spend almost more than one-third portion of our life sleeping. When such a crucial component is disrupted due to any reasons, the body goes into a severely unhealthy state and shows symptoms that require our immediate attention.
Sleep is necessary for our sound mental health. Needless to say, being unable to sleep for a considerate length of time leads to depression. If the person was already suffering from it, sleepless nights would make the case worse. One would constantly feel low, indifferent, and the activities which used to interest him before would look dull and stop appealing to him at all.
Untreated conditions of racing mind and absence of sleep would possibly cause insomnia along with other health issues. The brain slowly learns to stay awake and without the help of clinical treatment, chances of falling asleep naturally fade away. The hormones, that induce sleep, dry up and then the only way to treat the condition is through drugs so that the source of that hormone can be replenished again.
Irritability, Mood Swings, and Lack of Concentration
Lack of sleep means groggy mornings. It gives rise to irritability and mood swings. Naturally, when one is not sleeping properly at night, the dizziness would show up during the daytime and interfere with the working. It then becomes hard to concentrate and execute things properly, whether at home or at work. A point may come where even running the daily errands also seems like a tough accomplishment.
Loss of Appetite
Sufficient sleep ensures good appetite and a lighter mood. Lack of sleep means just the opposite. Insufficiency of sleep leads to a poor digestive system. The secretion of juices that need to be released in order to digest the food becomes unstable. It may result in acidity, nausea, and poor appetite. The desire to eat slowly vanishes and consequently causes the loss of weight, weakness, and lack of interest in other activities.
Our mind is always in search of engagements, whether constructive or destructive. After a long time, the sleeplessness may become highly difficult to deal with. Only some people find positive ways to solve the issue. For others, what may look easier is falling for addictive things in order to keep the brain engaged and pass the nights. The addiction may be of alcohol, caffeine, drugs like heroin, and marijuana.
For a healthy mind to exist, having sufficient sleep is critical. When the brain does not get enough rest, it has been seen to link with multiple mental health issues, including mental disorders. The common diseases that show up as a result of insomnia are schizophrenia, OCD, depression, and anxiety.
A restless mind only reflects an amount of energy that is either poorly channelized or has yet to be channelized in a constructive way. There are many simple ways, in which one can indulge and feel healthier during the day. The way we spend our day and feel during the day can majorly decide how our night is going to be. A beautifully spent day leads to peaceful mind at night. Efforts should be made with the help of the loved ones to focus more on the things that you love to do and that can really take your mind off the topics which make you feel stressed.
By creative engagements, it may be understood those activities which soothe the mind and body and make you feel happy. Every person has different interests and it really helps to think about your favorite hobbies. For example, gardening, having pets, reading, painting, teaching, cooking, these are not just some acts to pass the time. Doing something that really pleases us helps our mind heal and calm down. In a simpler way, it distracts our brain from getting into the loop of those negative vacant thoughts and prevents our energy from being sucked out. Thus, it is worthwhile to get engaged in small playful hobbies and stay rejuvenated.
Sometimes, things really are beyond our control. At such phases, self-help doesn’t work. In fact, relying too long on the situation to resolve by itself, when the case is extreme, can be very dangerous. Thus, it becomes necessary to take help of a doctor and follow the prescriptions. Our mind and body are driven by chemicals. Once, the chemistry is disturbed, it is a wiser thing to take the medicines for a particular duration, at least till it comes under control. Another important thing is to not feel ashamed of having to go through any form of treatment. Having a tough time is not about being weak, in fact, it indicates that we are strong enough to accept and deal with the situation.
One of the most powerful ways to stop the mind from racing on its own is journal writing. A further effective version of this is called dumping. Dumping is a literal term, which means you actually keep pouring out the thoughts and ideas as and when they emerge in the mind. It is a very effective strategy to keep the mind clutter-free and get rid of sleepless nights. One can also use this method to make a to-do list for the next day and keep the unnecessary worries at bay.
This includes everything from getting up to having meals and going back to bed. Our body likes to know what is going to happen beforehand. It likes routine and regularity. The anticipation of something unexpected exerts pressure on both mind and body. Following a regular routine for a long time eases the body to go into the sleep mode at the right time and saves the mind from wandering here and there.
Including nutritious items in the diet like green leafy vegetables, opting for fresh food, and healthy beverages are some choices that come under a healthy lifestyle and leaves a lasting effect on our sleep cycle. Our food choices govern the health of our mind also. So, consuming more soups, green tea, green veggies, seasonal fresh fruits lead to a positive mind and erases negative thoughts or uncontrollable thinking.
Proximity to Nature
Nature has a unique healing power. It is true that nature can thrive without us but not vice versa. Today’s lifestyle doesn’t allow us to stay close to nature. It should be, thus, made a point to spend a sufficient time in the natural surroundings to absorb the positive vibes within us.
Physical movements help release more positive hormones in the body. Exercise activates those particular brain parts which uplift our mood, give us the strength to deal with stress, and keep us positive. So, working out on a daily basis is always going to increase our energy levels and diminish the constant thinking over the time.
90% of our body-weight is made of water. It only makes sense to keep it hydrated always. Deficiency of water restrains the brain from working efficiently. We become more irritated, restless, and feel less in control. Drinking plenty of water before going to bed and early in the morning gets rid of many kinds of toxins and improves the sleep quality.
Less Phone Usage
Limiting the phone usage, especially at night, gives our brain the signal to slow down. Spending less time looking at the phone can drastically improve the circadian cycle and enhance the quality of our sleep. It is even better to put the phone away after evening hours. In the beginning, a smart way would be to put the phone in silent mode and away from the bed.
Lesser Screen Time
Try fixing the time duration for which you are going to watch the TV series or anything of your choice. We can also take help of the automatic reminders or alarms as a sign to indicate that the time is up for that particular day. Strictly following the alarms would slowly lessen our viewing time and soothe our brain.
Meditation has found to be very effective in calming the mind and body since ages. Taking some time out on a regular basis, like 10 minutes every day and sitting to meditate greatly helps in alleviating restlessness at night.
Mindfulness is simple yet difficult. It takes a great deal of discipline and self-observation to stay mindful. But in the end, it is always worth it. Mindfulness should be made a way of life. One has to do nothing but stay aware of the thoughts that are coming and going in one’s mind. Staying aware immunizes us from getting affected by those toxic thoughts and puts us to sound sleep.
When things are getting beyond control and it seems to hard to control the thought process after a certain limit, then, the only safe step to take is to visit a therapist or a counselor. Therapy and self-help groups heal us internally. The specialists performing the therapy are experts in their field and very well know how to treat our situation. The early treatment increases the efficiency and speeds up the recovery process.
Talking to Loved Ones
There is no substitute for having your loved ones around and being able to open your heart to them. Family members, close friends, parents, partners, or even close colleagues can help us a lot and be trusted. If there is any personal matter which is troubling us, it is better to say that out. It is the best way to the heart to feel light and the mind to feel restful.
Another sure shot way to having a relaxed mind and great sleep is to previously plan the next day. Make a list of all the important tasks that need to be attended to the next morning. Writing them down would prevent the mind from wandering off and erase the possibility of missing out anything urgent. Hence, with the help of proper planning, we can enjoy a nice sleep time.
One Step at a Time
In the whole process, one important thing to remember is to take it slow. Nothing changes overnight. So, instead of hurrying and forcing our state of mind to change, one step should be taken at a time in order to make the changes visible. It would be unfair to expect the improvements in our sleep troubles within a day or two. Henceforth, along with the clinical treatment and proper routine, patience and consistency are the keys to all the effective steps that have been taken in order to bring our sleep cycle on the natural and healthy track.