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9 Tips to Help Calm Racing Thoughts at Night

hiker meditating on rock to calm racing thoughts at night

hiker meditating on rock to calm racing thoughts at night

After crawling into bed at night, what you want is to drift peacefully off to sleep. That's nearly impossible if your mind is racing with dozens of different thoughts. If your brain can't relax, neither can your body. These tips can help you calm racing thoughts at night and enjoy restful slumber.

1. Set Aside Time for Worry

Often, people worry about things they need to accomplish. Some will also fret over things happening the next day and will wonder whether they are ready. The associated worry can leave you tossing and turning and then becoming even more anxious over your lack of sleep.

Margarita Tartakovsky, an author and associate editor at Psych Central, advises setting aside time during the day to address your worries. Spend a few minutes writing down things that are likely to come up when you retire at night. That way, whenever a negative thought comes up, you can tell yourself you have already dealt with the issue.

You should ideally do this at least 90 minutes before lying down. Writing your troubles away will provide you with enough time to separate your list of worries from your bedtime.

2. Shut Off the Screens

If you can't sleep, it might be tempting to turn on the television or browse the Internet. However, doing so might make you more alert. According to the Sleep Foundation, electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets emit an artificial blue light which can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Rather than feeling sleepy, you will feel wide awake and antsy.

Electronic devices can do more than inhibit sleep patterns, as scrolling through social media feeds or watching an action flick can automatically make you anxious. Make it a habit to shut off all electronic devices at least 60 minutes before bedtime. If possible, ban them entirely from your bedroom so you will associate that space with sleeping rather than mentally-stimulating activities.

3. Use Self-Affirmation

Out-of-control thoughts are sometimes due to fears over what others think or about your past performances. These fears become more prominent the more you visit them. The best way to counteract them is to use positive, self-affirming statements.

Practice repeating positive thoughts over and over until you believe them. There is power in allowing yourself to hear those words out loud. Accordingly, you should speak them verbally whenever possible. You can also write them on index cards or post-it notes and place them in strategic areas of your home.

4. Deep Breathing and Meditation

Try meditating as part of your unwinding process before sleep. Go into a quiet area and put on some relaxing music while you try to clear your mind. Practice some deep breathing exercises to slow your heart rate and help yourself begin feeling drowsy.

Meditation and deep breathing can also help once you are in bed. If you find yourself having racing thoughts at night (or repeatedly wake up in a panic), use deep breaths to slow them. Once you do, you'll find it easier to clear your mind of unwanted ideas.

Focus on something positive, or use nature sounds to help you picture a relaxing scene in your mind. For example, you could use a technique known as visualization to place yourself at the beach. Play a soundtrack of waves crashing against the shore to help you feel as though you are there.

5. Exercise Regularly

Aside from its health benefits, regular exercise can also reduce tension. The Mayo Clinic reports a workout can increase the number of endorphins produced by your brain. Endorphins are the body's "feel good" chemical, and are primarily responsible for placing you in a good mood.

Physical exercise is also a confidence booster. Those who work out regularly generally have higher levels of self-esteem than individuals with a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity especially crucial if your racing thoughts primarily revolve around your image.

6. Release Your Frustrations

Vigorous sports such as martial arts can eliminate worry by providing you with an outlet in which to vent your frustrations. Try boxing, kickboxing, or another similar activity if you are often preoccupied with anger or feelings of helplessness.

7. Get Outdoors

Outdoor exercise can be especially beneficial, as it ensures you get ample amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with an increased risk of depression, fatigue, and lowered immunity—all of which can negatively affect sleep hygiene. Aim for at least 30 minutes of outdoor time daily for best results.

8. Drink Chamomile Tea

A warm cup of chamomile tea just before bedtime can help you relax. Chamomile is an ancient remedy used to treat anxiety and depression. However, it is also known for its relaxing properties that help you fall asleep.

Many people remark chamomile helps them feel drowsy so that they can drift off to sleep much sooner. So, you will have less time to spend tossing and turning with uncontrollable thoughts in your head.

9. Use Lavender Essential Oil

The lavender essential oil is another herbal remedy that can help you relax. Dab a few drops on your pulse points, or place in a carrier oil and spritz your pillow and bed sheets. You can even use a diffuser to emit a pleasant fragrance inside your bedroom.

The scent alone has some incredibly calming effects many people find therapeutic. The lavender essential oil may also provide tremendous pain relief and is frequently used to treat migraines. As such, it can prove especially helpful if your mind is preoccupied with headaches or discomfort.

Control Your Thoughts to Control Your Sleep

Most of us are bothered with racing thoughts at least occasionally. When they occur regularly, it can disrupt sleep patterns and wreak havoc on your daily activities as well.

In addition to these tips, the right mattress, bedding, and furniture are equally as important.

Good sleep requires the right environment in which to slumber, but Nest Bedding has everything you need.

Please contact us to find out more.