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jabag11's avatar

How can I sleep without my mind thinking of a million things?

Asked by jabag11 (676points) December 30th, 2010

Every night when I go to bed, it takes me an hour to fall asleep because there are so many random thoughts running through my head,

and then when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and go back to bed, it takes me a while to fall back asleep sometimes again because of so many random thoughts going through my head! I have tried all the tricks in the book to stop it but nothing works.

I have tried meditation (really), I have tried counting, I have tried focusing on one image since a lot of our thoughts come from images, I have tried focusing on one in particular boring thing like my toe!, my mind is just to powerful! help please! thank you.

p.s. I am 19 and am a male if this matters.

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32 Answers

Summum's avatar

It takes some time and a big effort but if you learn to still your mind in meditation you can let go of the thoughts. There is also self hypnosis which really works well. You can goole that and find out how too.

Coloma's avatar

Music, ( soothing, like classsical, lullaby, new agey ( flutes, drums, harps type stuff ), CD’s of ‘spiritual’ or motivational teachers, like Eckhart Tolle, who give you a new perspective on what you call ‘problems’, and, he has a very soothing voice.

Yes! And self hypnosis!

Math321's avatar

Try finding cool music that settles you down and listen to it while going to sleep.

Coloma's avatar

I keep a portable CD player next to my bed and that is what I do on the nights I am over-amped with mind stuff.

Summum's avatar


Great idea I had forgotten about those. I have a lot of those CD’s and they do help a lot. Lurve to you

faye's avatar

Audiobooks on your computer, especially done by the guy who read the Road. Or concentrate on every breath you take, if your mind wanders, pull it back to your breath.

tedd's avatar

The trick that has largely worked for me of late is taking a few melatonin, and watching television on my laptop until I literally pass out watching it.

Summum's avatar

@tedd Just be careful with melatonin suppliments your brain making the substance will start to rely on the suppliments and there are withdrawals if you decide to quit using the suppliment.

marinelife's avatar

Well, I can suggest a couple of things to try. One is to imagine a large trunk or footlocker. Imagine yourself dropping each random thought in the footlocker as you tell yourself that you are going to lock away all of your problems for the night. Then when all of the thoughts are inside the footlocker, imagine yourself shutting it and locking it. Tel yourself you will pick up the problems again in the morning, but you are putting them away for now.

Also, you can try going to a drugstore and getting Calms Forte. It is an herbal sleep and de-stress aid.

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russellst's avatar

put a small fan next to the bed, and your mind will only think about the fan and you will go to sleep

kelly's avatar

keep a notepad next to bed and “take the idea out of your head and put it on paper”, then you don’t have your mind trying to keep track of the LIST in your head.

phaedryx's avatar

You say you’ve tried counting, but have you tried counting backwards? I try counting backwards from 100 to 1. If my minds wanders then I start over. I’ve found that counting down is just the right balance of mental effort and boringness.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My son has the same sleep disorder. His mind is just going a hundred miles an hour all the time and he can’t seem to turn it off. He lays in bad and solves the world’s problems a hundred times over. I am only that way when I have a lot of problems. Counting sheep and thinking of boring stuff just doesn’t work for me. So, I put together a little fantasy. I get all my characters gathered up in my mind and put together scenarios where they interact with each other. I know it’s weird but it gets my mind off my problems and gets boring enough after a while that the next thing I know, it’s morning.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Cut back on the sugar content of the foods you eat.

Math321's avatar

I think very crazy thoughts very quickly. And then I forgot those thought and new ones come. It doesn’t happen all the time, though. Just randomly.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Probably already said but anyway in case it’s not. Cut down on the sugar and caffeine. You might have just to much extra energy. Also try exercising before bed. Listen to music. It works for some people but not all.

963chris's avatar

(1) meditation
(2) medication (otc’s such as melatonin, or rx like ambien or sonata)
(3) white noise (ambient, static, fan, etc) or calming music
(4) dont exercise before bed
(5) dont eat, have caffeine, amphatamines/speed or sugar before bed

Taciturnu's avatar

Insomnia sucks, and I have fallen victim.

What works for me is picking a color (I usually go with black) and closing your eyes and focusing on only that color. (Try to breathe rythmically.) When your mind starts going, keep repeating the word black in your head. (I HAVE said it out loud on a really “busy” night, and my husband puts the pillow over his head.)

Takes some practice. It’s a form of meditation, I suppose, but I just look at it as a way to get to sleep.

Taciturnu's avatar

Also, as some have mentioned, music works. Make sure it’s not something you’re familiar with, or you could have a totally different kind of “busy brain” on your hands. (Songs get stuck in my head, and I sing them in my sleep.)

cockswain's avatar

I have the same problem sometimes, and have found two solutions I like: read or watch c-span. Reading can be hard if you aren’t awake enough, but not tired enough to go back to sleep, but usually works pretty well. If you have a tv in your bedroom, listen to c-span. It is interesting enough to not be irritating, but dull enough to lull you back to sleep.

Math321's avatar

Cockswain said:

It is interesting enough to not be irritating…

Unless you’re ADDish.

skfinkel's avatar

Here’s something you can try that works for me: write down your thoughts in a little book that you keep by your bed. Sometimes, I think the thoughts you keep thinking are there because you want to remember them. If you write them down, they are remembered for tomorrow or later, and then you will be able to relax your brain and fall asleep.

6rant6's avatar

I think @Taciturnu has given some good advice. For myself, I find that focusing on a very specific problem helps. For example, I have a book that says one word can be formed out of the letters in “New Year can’t” I’ve fallen asleep a couple of times with that one. Or compute the powers of two.

Or write a story. If I can’t fall asleep at least that one feels like I’ve spent the time well.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Call me old-fashioned, but reading a book puts me to sleep thinking only of the book.

jabag11's avatar

wow these are great answers, I am going go try them from most common to least, and the list is like this,
1) most of you said music
2) then a lot of you said writing down your thoughts
3) then a lot of you said reading or watching T.V.
3) then a lot of you said focusing on something, creating a story, and other things.

thank you!!!

bryanking's avatar

You might be out of exercise. Try to work out in the afternoon and by evening, you should be too pooped to even think of your problems or what have you.

jmbnjcl's avatar

Wake up earlier. It is easy to get into a vicious cycle where you sleep in because you haven’t been able to fall asleep the previous night, and then it’s difficult to fall asleep again the next night. Putting yourself on a regular sleep schedule will also help. Sleeping in on the weekends, only makes it more difficult to fall asleep on the weekdays. Also, expect to take at least 15 minutes to fall asleep. That is how long it should take. If you fall asleep quicker than that, you aren’t getting enough sleep.

cockswain's avatar

@Math321 Yes, and I suppose my suggestion wouldn’t work as well for a deaf individual either.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@skfinkel What a great idea! I think you’re right – I do play my problems and possible solutions over in my head because I’m afraid to forget. Especially now that I am getting to that forgetful stage of my life. I think your idea would work for me, but I don’t have insomnia very often. Don’t know if it will work for my son, though. His is more related to hyperactivity.

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