Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!

Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!
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Are you struggling to shut your mind off while in bed? Is your mind endlessly going over all the mishaps you had in the past and possible ones you can have in the future? We’ve all been there!

Having an overactive mind at night sleep is more common than you think, and it can affect the quality of your sleep and daily life if it persists. So how can you deal with it? In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about having an overactive mind at night, including how to improve it through habitual changes.

Why You Can’t Quiet Your Mind at Night

Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!
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Before I jump right into the solutions, you should know the possible reasons why you’re struggling to quiet your mind at night so you can sleep. This way, you can fix the issue properly. Here are a few common reasons behind an overactive mind at night.


Stress is one of the most common, if not the most, reasons for an inability to sleep. Are you going through a stressful period in your life? Do you have loans to pay or debts to settle? Then, stress is the culprit behind your racing mind.

When your brain is under stress, it sends your body signals that there’s a possible danger nearby, which leads to the secretion of a stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol gives you energy and keeps you alert, which is the opposite of what you want to happen while looking for sleep. Not to mention, cortisol is the hormone your body utilizes to wake up when morning comes.

Mental Disorders

Many mental disorders can keep your mind awake, like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you’ve been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with any of the above conditions, then you already know the reason behind your insomniac mind.

Anxiety causes irrational fears to go through your mind all day long, which leads to the release of stress hormones, and you know the rest. Also, bipolar disorder can cause mood fluctuations, delusions, and stress, all of which can give you a restless mind. OCD patients often fixate on specific topics and think about them all day, even at night.

Finally, people who suffer from PTSD experience vivid flashbacks to a traumatic event, which can prevent their minds from shutting off at night.


Your favorite cup of coffee that you drink one or two hours before bed might give you an overactive mind. As widely known, caffeine raises blood pressure, stimulates the nervous system, and gives you a quick energy boost. Unfortunately, all of these reactions aren’t doing your sleep any good.


Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!

If you’ve been recently prescribed a new medication and have been struggling to sleep ever since, it might be the reason. Many medications prescribed for mental and physical conditions can cause insomnia. You can consult the doctor who gave you the medication about its side effects and whether you can change it.

How to Stop Your Mind From Overworking at Night

Now, you should know the possible culprit behind your inability to shut off your mind. Since that’s out of the way, I can now discuss some habitual changes you can make to improve your night of sleep.

1. Don’t Use Electronic Devices in Bed

I know you probably love to scroll through Facebook and Twitter right before sleep, but these few scrolls affect your brain more than you think.

Electronic devices, whether smartphones or laptops, emit blue light, which can make you more alert and disturb your sleep cycle. When your brain sees the light, it gets tricked into thinking that we’re in the morning, so it doesn’t secrete melatonin, one of the sleep hormones that your body secretes in response to darkness.

Another issue with checking social media before sleep is the amount of new information and stressful news that you get introduced to. They can consume your mind and leave you thinking of them all night long.

Ideally, you should ditch any electronic device that emits blue light two hours before bed. If your lifestyle or job prevents you from doing so, try to ditch them at least half an hour before sleeping.

2. Create a Wind-Down Routine

Do you know how parents read their kids stories right before bed so that every time they pull out a children’s book, the kids start to feel sleepy? This happens because they’ve built a sleeping routine, and their bodies got used to it. Believe it or not, you can do the same!

If you create a wind-down routine before bed, your body will know that it’s time to sleep, so your mind will shut off. But what should the routine include? You can meditate for half an hour before bed, practice yoga, write in your journal, or listen to soothing music.

Whatever action you choose, try to do it every day for at least a month. This way, your brain will know that it’s time for you to go to sleep once you start doing it.

3. Set a Work Curfew for Yourself

Ever since the pandemic hit, many people have started to work from home. And while working from home has its pros, it can consume your day more than you think because there isn’t a specific time when you shut off your laptop, go home, and forget all about work. Instead, you can receive notifications and emails right before bed.

Checking and responding to work messages while you’re trying to go to sleep can be detrimental to your sleep health. Instead of winding down for the night, you’ll start thinking about the tasks you need to do tomorrow, and you’ll lose sleep.

To fix this issue, you should set a work curfew and abide by it. An ideal solution here is to turn off any notifications you get from work at 6 or 7 pm so that you aren’t tempted to open them.

4. Meditate

Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!
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Meditation encourages you to focus your mind on one aspect, be it breathing or yoga moves. By focusing on one thing, you’ll tune out any cluttering thoughts that keep you awake at night. Over time, doing so can give you better sleep at night.

Famous meditation techniques you can try are focused breathing, taking a walk, mantra meditation, and transcendental meditation. You can give each of them a try and see which one works better. Also, you can work with a meditation professional to create a routine.

5. Stay Awake

I know it sounds weird, but if you can’t go to sleep because of racing thoughts, you should get out of bed. Trying to fall asleep for too long can have adverse effects on your mind, like giving you insomnia.

An ideal solution here is to leave the room and do a relaxing activity that can make you sleep again. For example, you can take a warm bath, listen to calm music, do some breathing exercises, or read a book.

6. Write a To-Do List

The majority of people can’t sleep at night because of thinking about tasks they have to do the following day, be it preparing lunch boxes for kids, sending work emails, or cleaning the house. The fear of forgetting a task in the chaos of the day can keep you rolling in bed all night, trying to memorize what you have to do once you wake up.

The perfect solution to this issue is to write a to-do list right before you go to bed. This way, you guarantee that you don’t forget any tasks.

7. Keep a Stable Sleep Schedule

Ideally, you should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and it’s much preferable if you go to sleep and wake up at the same time. This is because your wake-sleep cycle is regulated by an internal clock in the body, also known as the circadian rhythm. When you maintain a stable sleep schedule, the clock stays regulated.

If your sleep schedule is chaotic, your circadian rhythm can get disrupted, which can keep you awake at night and make you sleepy in the morning.

8. Address the Source of Your Stress

If you can’t sleep because of stress, then you should address the reason behind it. Are you in a stressful job? Do you pay rent more than you can handle? Then, maybe it’s time for a monumental change in your life. Look for a new job, or move to another rental property that you can afford.

If you aren’t ready for such a change, incorporate healthy habits into your daily life to reduce stress. For instance, you can go for daily walks, go to the gym, play yoga, or do any activity that makes you happy.

9. Keep a Journal

What keeps your mind awake at night are the endless uncompleted thoughts running about in your head. Whether you’re thinking about how you’ll put your kids through college or what you’ll wear for the wedding you have later this week, jotting down every thought you have can do wonders for your sleep health. That’s why you should keep a journal on your bedside table.

Right when you’re about to go to bed, grab the journal, and write everything that comes to your mind. You can write what you did all day, what you have to do tomorrow, or any thoughts passing through your mind. Doing so will clear your head and keep you from overthinking all night long.

10. Stay Active and Get Sufficient Sunlight

You may not be able to shut your mind off before sleep because you aren’t even tired. If you don’t move or get enough sunlight throughout the day, your body won’t feel the need to relax and reenergize at night, so you won’t be able to sleep.

Getting sufficient sunlight is essential for the regulation of your circadian rhythm. When your eyes see the light, they send your brain signals that it’s the morning, so your body wakes up. Now, if you don’t see the light, your brain won’t tell mornings from nights, so your wake-sleep cycle will be disrupted.

11. Don’t Eat Right Before Bed

Overactive Mind at Night Sleep: 12 Ways to Shut Your Brain Off Before Going to Bed!
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I know how tempting it is to have a late-night snack right before bed, but it could be the reason why you’re rolling in bed all night with an active mind. Some foods like aged cheese, soy sauce, preserved meats, and pickles contain a natural compound called tyramine.

Tyramine stimulates the release of another chemical called norepinephrine that raises blood pressure and boosts brain activity, keeping you awake for a longer time.

Another famous culprit behind insomnia is sugar, which, aside from its myriad of disadvantages, has been proven to affect sleep health adversely.

12. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

My last tip to help you shut your mind off before you go to sleep is to try progressive muscle relaxation. It consists of tensing and relaxing your muscles while lying in bed, all the way from your head down to your toes. The tensing movements take your mind off of the racing thoughts going through it and make it focus on your physical being instead.

On top of that, the movements lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and make you calmer and more relaxed.

To Wrap Up

We’ve all struggled with overactive minds at night sometime in our lives, but I have a few tips for you that can shut your mind off before you go to sleep. To name a few, you should keep the usage of electronic devices to a minimum before sleep, create a wind-down routine, meditate regularly, and maintain a stable sleep schedule.

If you don’t see improvements for a long time, check to see if you take any medications with side effects regarding sleep, address any stress you have in your life, and keep caffeine intake to a minimum.

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Easy Sleep Guide

We are a group of individuals who have a fascination, with the world of sleep and dreams. Our website and social media community were created with the purpose of educating and informing our audience about every aspect of sleep. We cover everything from tips to the advancements in sleep technology. Our team, consisting of real life experts works tirelessly to curate top quality content that offers an understanding of sleep related topics. We take pride in being your trusted source, for all things related to sleep providing insights and knowledge to help you achieve an revitalizing sleep experience.

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