There are many reasons why a mind races, the biggest one being “worries." When you worry, it’s hard to rest.
And there are so many reasons to worry. If it’s not personal then it could be political, communal, social, or any combination.
Other reasons you may have a racing mind and sleep seems like a forgotten friend is because of chemicals in your bloodstream from what you consumed either from food, drinks, smoke, conversations, games, movies, or the news. Because what you consume becomes you.
After supper, as you prepare for bed, say to yourself “I deserve a good night’s rest. Everything else can wait. Right now I am my number one priority.”
That might not be everything you need to find peaceful rest at night, but it will get you started. And what follows below should do the rest.
How to relax your body, calm racing thoughts — and sleep like a baby
Think of your mornings. Don’t you take time to prepare yourself for your day ahead? What about an important meeting or welcoming a guest to your house, you get things ready, right?
Similarly, you need to prepare for the 5-9 hours that you need to rest at night. Remember the purpose of sleep is for your mind and body to rejuvenate.
When you are awake and taking care of your daily needs you are on high alert. Even when you are idling yourself with something casual and entertaining, your emotions are engaged in an internal confetti party.
When you try to fall asleep after that, the party continues and you toss and turn without the rest both the organs in your body and your mind need.
Sometimes, sleep takes work
If you are used to drinking or smoking before bed, then the following may not work for you right away. This is because your body naturally wants to maintain a healthy balance, so it begins to detox as soon as you lie down.
And in a few hours when it has reached that healthy state you wake up and need to use the bathroom or drink water or both.
Usually, when sleep gets interrupted you struggle to go back to sleep. So, work with a health care professional or a hypnotherapist to work on those habits too besides following the ways mentioned below to sleep well.
Your body temple adores rituals. And, the ideal way to love it is by nurturing practices at the same time every day that make you feel soothed. This helps with your biorhythm. Going to bed at the same time each night lets your body know you care. So it will do what it can to help you with whatever you need.
According to Ayurveda, showering, taking a bath, or washing your knees and lower legs before a meal makes you digest your food easier so you can sleep better.
Your body is three-quarters water, and water is not for a physical wash alone. Water helps with emotional cleansing and mental relaxation too.
Using a drop of lavender and geranium essential oils help you feel calm, soothed, and comforted when you use them during or after your nighttime water ritual.
10 ways to settle your racing mind and get a good night's sleep
Depending on how much time you have on your hands, you can try one of these:
1. Indulge yourself in a warm or cold shower
Water's healing properties soothe the body and the mind. The temperature is entirely up to you — whatever feels right!
2. Or take a 20-minute soak in the bath
Add a cup of Epsom salt, a tablespoon of baking soda, and essential oils. This relaxes your muscles and soothes your joints.
3. Wash your lower legs, from your knees to your feet
After you dry your legs and feet, you could apply lotion with a drop of essential oils on them. Even fragrant talcum powder will soothe your nerves and allow you to relax after a shower or washing your lower legs.
4. Drink a cup of tea
Tea with Tilia flowers also known as Linden is very effective in reducing blood pressure, helping with anxiety reduction, and soothing digestion. Mint and chamomile teas help with digestion and calming your nerves.
A strong cup of tea made with Valerian root in it will make you fall asleep and stay asleep for around eight-nine hours.
Now, if want something lighter than Valerian root, then have a cup of non-caffeinated tea with Ashwagandha in it. Ashwagandha is a known adaptogen which means it will supply your body with whatever you need for optimal functioning.
5. Watch a video about your hobby or interests
Watching a short video on one of your hobbies for five to seven minutes will fill you with love and joy. If this is the last thing you do before bed, you connected with what your soul feels passionate about.
6. Hang out with your plants, or pets if you have any
If they begin to converse with you, you might already be asleep!
7. Perform restorative yoga
Follow your favorite instructor on a video, or do it from memory. Either way, you'll find peace.
8. Do something else physical
If you like singing, dancing, sewing, or knitting, then do it for 15 minutes before bed.
9. Read a story or a well-loved novel
There’s something magical about stepping away from your world and into someone else’s. You can easily lose yourself in any story and when your eyes look at the black and white your brain regresses to an infant-like state and you can sleep very easily.
10. Record your racing thoughts and daily events in a journal
Writing helps you stop worrying. Here are a few ideas:
- Think of one to six good things that happened today and write them down in your journal expressing gratitude for each of them.
- Now think of at least one thing that was less than ideal. Once you bring it to mind, write it in your journal as it happened. Then think of how you would have liked it to be. Put your feelings aside and like a good reporter stick to the facts.
- Now ask yourself what did you learn about yourself from your experience earlier today. It could be as simple as staying away from this place, person, food, drink, website, or whatever brought you down.
- Write in your journal your learnings and you will notice how you feel better already. Each loss is the price you pay for the learning you received.
Now you can go to bed with a lighter heart. Because if you had gone to bed with the hurt, it would have piled up over all the past hurts and your heart would have gotten a bit heavier.
Your mind and heart are connected. Letting go of your load and stopping the loop of recurring thoughts by putting them down in your journal, give your brain a break from all those worries that keep you from resting.
Keya Murthy, M.S., C.Ht., uses therapeutic hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming, and energy medicine to help her clients calm their mind, heal their heart, and find peace. Her latest book is The Book On Happiness. She's also the host of the Be Happier With Coach Keya Podcast.