How to Stop Your Mind From Racing When Trying to Sleep

Sleepless Young Woman with Insomnia in Bed, Watching Alarm Clock

Are you exhausted when you finally get into bed at night, but can’t seem to turn off your brain so you can get to sleep? Lots of us go through this and it may be even tougher these days with everything going on in the world.

Unwinding before bed can help quiet those thoughts so you can get a full night of restful sleep and Dr. Melissa Bernbaum, a neurologist who specializes in sleep medicine, says this process actually starts hours before bedtime.

So what does that mean for your routine? Here’s Dr. Bernbaum’s advice:

  • Avoid daytime naps and cut off caffeine around noon if you’re usually in bed by 10pm- For those who say caffeine doesn’t prevent them from falling asleep, she points out it may decrease deep sleep.
  • Cut off screen time- Starting at least an hour before bedtime, turn off devices including smartphones, tablets and computers.
  • Avoid things that cause stress in the evenings- Yes, this means work, too. She advises trying to put off any non-urgent work-related things before bedtime.
  • Set aside time in the evening to work through anything on your mind- If you’re busy all day, you may only have time to worry when you’re in bed, so designate time to get it out of the way before then. Make a to-do list for the next day or write down problems and come up with a solution for each one, so you’ve dealt with your stresses before you try to sleep.
  • Do something relaxing at least 30 minutes before bed- Dr. Bernbaum recommends reading a book or practicing meditation.


Photo: Getty Images

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