It’s a tale that everyone has had the misfortune of going through at some point in their life. You’re ready for bed, with your blankets over you, and you close your eyes. In the perfect world, this would lead to you entering the land of dreams and not waking up until you’re ready to get up.
Sadly, the world isn’t perfect. For many of us, our mind seems to race. We may start worrying about what’s on tomorrow’s agenda. Some of us may have some deep thoughts, including thoughts of doom and regret. Or, sometimes it’s as simple as a brain that won’t shut off!
Many of us have dealt with this. Why does it happen? Here are a few reasons why, along with a few solutions.
You Aren’t Distracted
You may think to yourself “Why wasn’t I thinking about these things when I was awake? Sometimes, you may have been tired all day, or preoccupied with work, and as soon as your head hits the pillow, that’s when the thoughts begin.
One reason for this may be because you’re no longer distracted. You’re lying on a comfy pillow in a bed, and you have no other obligations. There’s no wonder your mind starts to wander, or starts to digest the events of today and the problems that you may face.
You’re Not Sleepy
Sometimes, you may be going to bed feeling a bit exhausted, but your body isn’t sleepy. There is a difference between being sleepy and tired. Being sleepy means that you’re yawning and drifting off to sleep. Tiredness doesn’t have that, even if you feel like you do want to take a nap.
A Mental Problem
Sometimes, it’s due to a mental problem, and that’s why you’re feeling the way you do. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, all of these mental issues can lead to your mind racing during bedtime.
No matter who you are, this can be frustrating. Here are some ways to prevent it and what you should do when you’re faced with this issue.
Learning To Unwind
If you go to bed immediately after you get home from your day, you may feel exhausted, but you haven’t unwound enough. Everyone has their own way tounwind, and it can help you fall asleep much better. Here are some ways that you can unwind:
- Take a hot bath. Just pour some hot water in and soak yourself in the tub. Sometimes, you can enhance this experience by playing some soft music or with some relaxing lavender bath salts. Either way, it can help you feel tired.
- Make sure the room temperature is comfortable. Many will recommend 60-70 F, but it all depends on the person.
- Do something that relaxes you, not excites you. A boring documentary (make sure you have a blue light filter on) can help you relax, but an exciting game may keep you up longer. Also, avoid using your phone. Checking social media can just hype up your brain even more.
- Read a good book. Even a book that is fun to read can be a challenge for your eyes to stay awake. Sometimes, it’s much better than the TV.
- Write down your problems. If you can somehow make a step towards fixing them, all the better. With some problems, you may not be able to change them right now, or at all. It’s important to focus on the problems you can fix or change.
- Try some medicine. Melatonin, an herbal tea, sleep aids, or any other herb geared towards sleep could help you. Everyone responds to medicine differently, so make sure that you find the one that works the best for you.
- Use your bed only for sleeping and similar activities including sex. Don’t use it too much throughout the day or your mind may associate it with restlessness. There is also advice from international florists to place houseplants in the bedroom that induce sleep. Lavender, lily, sansevieria and aloe will help you fall asleep faster.
When You Can’t Fall Asleep
When your mind is racing, here are some ways that you can get to sleep faster.
- Try to think of a story or do something distracting like counting sheep. It sounds silly, but distracting yourself with a story or something else can help you get to sleep.
- White noise could help. The sounds of a fan, or using a white noise machine to play rain or other sounds, may help you fall asleep faster.
- Don’t spend too much time in your bed if you can’t sleep. Get up, do something that relaxes you, and try to fall asleep again when you feel truly sleepy.
- Try meditative breathing and mindfulness. This can calm your nerves and make it easier for you to avoid racing thoughts. One popular technique is the 4-7-8 breathing method. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold it for seven, then exhale through the mouth at eight. Repeat until relaxed or asleep.
If you’re still having problems with falling asleep, it could be something beyond your comprehension. You may need to see help from a counselor or therapist. Therapy is not something to be ashamed of, especially if you can’t fall asleep. You deserve those Zs, and don’t let anyone or anything take away that.