How to Stop Worrying, Sleep Soundly, and Wake up to a New Day
It can be really hard to turn your brain off and sleep. I know from personal experience.
One day I got sick and tired of my worries and stresses robbing me of my sleep. I decided I needed to learn how to turn your brain off and sleep. I needed to just let go of things that are out of my control.
Here’s just a sampling of the worried ramblings that can to creep through my mind, keeping me awake till all hours of the morning.
I’ve got so much to do tomorrow, how on earth am I going to get to it all? *plans day out to the tiniest detail*
That BPA thing, they say it’s in plastic. What are my cups made out of? Good grief, we’re all going to get cancer.
Hey, don’t judge. You worry about freaky things, too, or else you wouldn’t be here. 😉
Stop Worrying, Go to Sleep!
My husband has a saying he likes to remind me of on a regular basis. “Worry doesn’t change a situation. It just puts gray hairs on your head and wrinkles on your face.”
Yeah, sometimes I roll my eyes when he tells me that, usually after I’ve been up most of the night. But I grudgingly have to admit he’s right. (Shhh…don’t tell him I told you that!)
But, really, worry is just your mind’s way of trying to be in control of a situation you have no power over. If you’re a control freak, like me, it’s difficult learning to let go and let life happen. But it’s essential if you want to shut your brain off and sleep.
Sometimes what you’re worrying about is a legitimate worry about situations or issues you’re facing in life, like issues you’re having on the job or problems your family are facing. These are legitimate worries because there’s usually actions you can take to address the situation.
Related: How to Cope with Sleep Anxiety Using EFT
Other worries may be far out of the realm of possibility, kind of like if you’re worried that you’re going to be in a car accident tomorrow on the way to work. These are worries that are probably never going to happen, and there’s no reason why you should be worried. Still, these worries are sleep stealers, too.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re worrying about money or how you’re going to survive the zombie apocalypse, these methods can help you turn your brain off and sleep.
Related: How Positive Affirmations can Help you Beat Sleep Anxiety
You can retrain your mind and body to relax at night by using hypnosis to calm your brain before sleep.
How to Stop Worrying and Sleep by Journaling
Physically write down your worries in a sleep journal. Be as detailed as possible so you cover every possible angle of the situation you’re worried about.
Somehow making your worries materialize into a tangible object helps to get it off your mind so you can shut your brain off and sleep.
If your worry is a legitimate worry, write down what steps you can do to solve your problem or how you’re going to handle a situation.
Again, be as detailed as possible and write down exactly what it is you’re going to do. You often do your best thinking at night, so more than likely your solutions are brilliant! Write them down so you can take care of it tomorrow.
When you’re done, close your journal and lay it off to the side. Tell yourself you’ll handle the problem tomorrow. Turn off the light and go to sleep. If something pops into your mind later, get up and write it down. Don’t toss and turn!
It sounds like a simple thing, but doing something physical with your worries can be the key to getting them off your mind. (and getting you to sleep!)
Daily Sleep Journal & Workbook: A therapeutic one month workbook to track and record your daily activities and mindset that may be affecting your sleep.
How to Relax your Mind and Sleep with Prayer and Meditation
I believe in the power of prayer and meditation. If I have a major problem in my life, so much so it’s affecting my peace of mind and ability to sleep, Prayer and meditating on God’s Word will work for me when nothing else will.
Insomnia caused by worry is human nature and dates back to the beginning of time. There are actually 58 verses about sleep in the Bible, so God knew what worry warts we humans can be.
This is one of my favorite verses about sleep.
“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Proverbs 3:24”
Whether you’re a Christian or a non-Christian, there’s evidence that meditation can be helpful to getting you to sleep. A study done by the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, shows that meditation influences your state of mind, and releases hormones that make you happy and feel more at peace.
What’s remarkable about that study is that it included 103 people of all faiths.
So if you’re worried about a situation and you want to turn your brain off and sleep, say a prayer about what’s keeping you up at night, or tune your mind to the positive and meditate.
How to Turn your Brain Off and Sleep using Hypnosis
I know, I know, you’re thinking hypnosis? Seriously?
I never used to consider hypnosis as being legitimate. I considered it a mind game that didn’t have any value in my life until I tried hypnosis for insomnia and text anxiety.
Here’s some tips for self-hypnosis you can use when your worries are keeping you awake:
- Turn off the lights and all tech. (phone, tv, tablets)
- Lay in bed, get comfortable, and close your eyes.
- Pretend you can feel a warm soothing oil flowing over your body from head to toe. Imagine it washing over your body.
- Now imagine yourself at the top of a staircase. Tell yourself you’re becoming more and more relaxed with each step down you take.
- At the bottom of the stairs is a door. Step through that door and imagine a scene that’s peaceful to you. Ocean, mountain, etc. Immerse yourself into the scene by sight, feel, and touch.
Focusing on your peaceful scene keeps you from focusing on whatever worry is bogging down your brain. The best thing is by the time you’ve made it to your peaceful scene, you’re already asleep.
And you can’t worry if you’re already asleep, right?
Develop a Relaxing Pre-Bedtime Routine
A lot of nights, I have trouble sleeping because I’m worried and tense. Whether I’m worried about my budget or work deadlines, my mind is whirring and I get tension headaches.
A really good way I’ve found to relax and prepare my mind and body for the night is by doing relaxation exercises for my mind and body before bed.
I go into more detail about developing your own relaxation routine in my post, “Easy Relaxation Exercises for Sleep: A Beginner’s Guide”, and you can learn how to do each of these. But here is a quick run down if you’re in a hurry:
- Make your Bedroom Conducive to Sleep
- Do sleep meditation exercises, like those found in Faster, Deeper Sleep
- Use the blue energy method
- Do bedtime yoga exercises
- Learn the right way to breathe
Related: How to Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine for Adults
Calm your Mind with Breathing Exercises
There’s certain breathing exercises that help quiet your mind and help you sleep. There’s the 4-7-8 exercise, were you breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven, and exhale for eight. You breathe this way until you fall asleep. If that sounds too complicated, I’ve found an easier way to use breathing to help with overthinking.
Personally, I use a Dodow to relax my mind and sleep easier. It’s a little tech device that shines a pulsating light on the ceiling that you breathe along to. It stops my overactive brain, and it makes me sleepy. I really like using it because I don’t have to think to count. I just breathe, quit thinking and sleep. 🙂
Related: How can I Relax and Go to Sleep? Try these Easy Relaxation Techniques to do Before Bed
Can’t Sleep? Stop Worrying about Sleep!
Sometimes what’s keeping you up is you’re worried because you’re not falling asleep.
Nothing can ruin my night more than being awake at 2 a.m. and worried about being awake at 2 a.m.
Before you know it, it’s 5 a.m., and I’m obsessed with the fact that I’ve got to hurry and get to sleep because I’ve got to wake up at 7 a.m.
If worrying about sleep is keeping you from sleeping, good news! This is the easiest worry to fix.
- Get rid of any light up digital clocks in your bedroom.
- If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set your phone as far away from you as you can.
- Remove all TV’s, tablets, and computers from your room.
The purpose of all this is to keep you from obsessing about time. If you can’t see what time it is, it’s easy to turn your brain off and sleep because you can’t worry about how much time you’ve got left to get to sleep.
Stop Worrying and Turn Your Brain Off and Sleep
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy learning how to stop thinking and sleep at first. It took me a few days to really get my worries under control. It still rears it’s ugly head whenever I have issues going on in my life. But, hey, that’s normal, right?
I went to a sleep doctor a few years ago, after about a decade of poor sleep. He said I need to practice good sleep hygiene. He didn’t really spell out what that means, and left it for me to Google. I’m pretty glad he did it that way. Because, it led me to articles like this one. I am still always looking for ways to improve my sleep hygiene. Every step I take closer to optimal sleep hygiene seems to help me feel better.
Julia K says
It’s true. A lot of doctors have very little to offer in the way of improving sleep, besides prescribing drugs. The best education is often self-education!
You have some very good points here. I usually sleep pretty good but lately have been concerned over the health of a couple individuals who are close to me. Worrying just does not do any good at all. In order for me to be able to help anyone else I must get my own rest. I like that sleep journal and think that might help along with prayer and meditation.
Julia K says
Worry about the health of loved ones is the worst kind of worry. You feel so powerless! It’s times like this the prayer and meditation can be the only things that work.