How to Stop Overthinking to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

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You feel exhausted after a day of giving to everyone else.  All you want to do is have a night of restful sleep … but your mind is filled with thoughts about today’s worries and tomorrow’s ‘to-do’s’. How can you turn your brain off and find peace of mind? Use the approaches below to help you stop overthinking and start falling asleep at night.

Good discipline = good sleep
Turning off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bed will give you a buffer zone of time that your brain is not being stimulated by the blue light of electronic screens.   Instead of putting your energy into reading and reacting to the thoughts of others, use that time to reconnect with yourself.  Establish a pre-sleep ritual that signals your body to start winding down. It could involve lighting a candle, drinking chamomile tea, putting on pajamas that have nurturing fabrics, etc.

Mind follows breath
The fastest way to calm your mind is to calm your breath. Breathing in stimulates your energy systems; breathing out calms your energy. So if you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, you will start to relax. Try it for a minute: breathe in for the count of three, and out for the count of six. Any form of meditation you have learned is helpful to slow and deepen your breath, thus relaxing you.

An attitude of gratitude
Reflect on your day for one to two minutes make a list of the things that went well. Replay those moments in your mind. Focusing on those positive moments should bring a smile to your face and positive emotion within your body. On your list, also include what you are grateful for in your life. Doing so will change your energy, as it takes you out of your mental exertion and puts you into your heart energy. It will make you think of beautiful images as you fade off into the sleep sunset …

“To-do before to-sleep”
Write down your ‘to-do’ list for the next day so you can empty your mind of the things you have to remember. You might also keep a journal and require yourself to get into bed and write for five minutes so you can clear your head of what you will accomplish tomorrow.

Make peace with your problems
If things in the day have upset you, reflect constructively on those situations.  If you took something personally and reacted, try to look at the situation with a new perspective now that you are out of the heat of the moment. See if you can be more understanding of the other person’s intentions and avoid staying frustrated with them. Make a plan for how you will revisit the situation with the person. See what lessons you can learn to move forward. Sleep soundly knowing you have made peace with the day. 

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