We’ve all been there – lying awake in bed at night with our thoughts going 1,000 miles per hour. Even though you had a long day and are exhausted, you feel like your mind is racing and your thoughts are louder than ever.
Loud, racing thoughts while lying in bed at night are known as rumination and are almost always the result of stress and anxiety. Stress hits you hard at night and has you tossing and turning because you have nothing to block them out. During the day, you’re often too busy to deal with your anxiety, which means it waits until bedtime to creep into your mind and keep you awake.
Because rumination is almost certainly stress-related, finding ways to deal with stress during the day is important. If you can learn to remove stress before going to bed, you won’t have to deal with it when you’re trying to sleep. This will help you fall asleep faster, resulting in a better night’s sleep.
Understanding the Phenomenon of Loud Thoughts at Night
As we said above, loud thoughts at night while you’re trying to sleep are known as rumination. While rumination is almost always due to stress and anxiety, your brain activity also plays a role.
At night, your brain automatically releases certain neurotransmitters that induce sleep and make you feel tired. These neurotransmitters have a calming or dampening effect on cells that cause excitation and activate cells that promote relaxation.
When you’re stressed, however, these neurotransmitters aren’t as active, which means you’re more excitable and less relaxed. This happens because the frontal cortex of your brain is still highly active. It also happens because when you’re stressed, your fight-or-flight response is activated, which means you have adrenaline pumping through your veins.
How Does Mental Health Affect Racing Thoughts?
Anyone can struggle with racing thoughts that keep them awake at night. Everyday issues like problems at work or school, family difficulties or the stress of a newborn can trigger rumination. However, people with mental health disorders are at increased risk of having sleep problems related to racing thoughts.
Conditions such as ADHD, anxiety disorder, OCD, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others are likely to have racing thoughts at night. People with these conditions can’t turn off their brains and it races through the night. People with mental illnesses are also more apt to experience negative thoughts while lying awake at night, which can complicate the problem.
What About Exploding Head Syndrome?
In addition to everyday worries and mental health problems, exploding head syndrome can cause racing thoughts at night. Exploding head syndrome is when you hear a loud explosion while you’re sleeping or starting to fall asleep. However, the sound is in your head and isn’t real or heard by others.
While exploding head syndrome isn’t as dangerous as its name implies, it can cause rumination and difficulty falling asleep. Even if they’re imaginary, hearing explosions is enough to stress most people out at night. Therefore, if you struggle with exploding head syndrome, seeking treatment is essential so that it doesn’t become a sleep disorder.
The Impact of Racing Thoughts on Sleep
In addition to making it impossible to get a good night’s sleep, racing thoughts can start a vicious cycle of ongoing sleep and health problems. The biggest risk is that intrusive thoughts at night can lead to insomnia, a common but detrimental sleep disorder. Insomnia, in turn, puts you at higher risk for developing diabetes, heart problems and hypertension, among other things.
Strategies to Manage Racing Thoughts
Because of the potential physical and mental health problems involved with racing thoughts and insomnia, it’s important to find ways to manage your racing thoughts.
One of the best ways to quiet down loud thought patterns and get to sleep is by practising Sophrology. Sophrology is a form of dynamic meditation that helps you destress, deal with anxious thoughts and put your racing mind to rest. In addition to aiding with sleep, Sophrology helps you deal with anxiety and stress during the day so you don’t struggle with them at night.
On top of teaching you meditative, relaxation, visualisation and body awareness techniques, Sophrology also includes deep breathing techniques, emphasises positive thoughts and teaches progressive muscle relaxation. Using each of these methods, you will be on the road to better sleep in no time.
Our Sleep Like a Pro 5-day online course is just £12 and you will discover simple techniques to learn how to let go of any stress and tension that will help you sleep quickly and soundly through the night. Sophrology can be introduced to your bedtime routine with just 10-minute practices per day to prepare you for deep sleep and support your overall health.
In addition to practising Sophrology regularly for 10 minutes a day, it might also be necessary to make lifestyle changes. For instance, excessive caffeine intake or consuming caffeine too late at night can lead to rumination. Conversely, exercise, eating a healthy diet and taking care of yourself physically will improve mental health and sleep quality.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Another great way to deal with racing thoughts and sleep problems is to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy. This form of therapy is administered by a mental health professional and is designed to help you cope with the anxious thoughts that keep you awake.
If nothing helps you fall asleep, you may need to visit a sleep specialist or healthcare provider who can prescribe sleep medicine. Sleeping pills and other medications can help you fall and stay asleep when nothing else can. They can also treat an underlying condition, such as insomnia if it’s the source of your racing thoughts.
Expert Advice on Handling Racing Thoughts
According to sleep experts, racing thoughts are almost always a result of stress and anxiety. Therefore, the key to overcoming them is to find ways to cope with whatever is stressing you out. One way to do this is by scheduling “worry time” during the day. Another option is to keep a journal because writing is a great way to release stress and fearful thoughts. Natural remedies like diffusing lavender or drinking chamomile tea before bedtime can also help you relax.
Most importantly, however, we recommend you practice Sophrology before bedtime to help calm and clear your mind. Once you achieve a relaxed, meditative state, it’s harder for thoughts to race through your mind and intrude on your peace.
As you can see, it’s vital to deal with racing thoughts that are keeping you up at night. Racing thoughts can lead to insomnia, which can cause a wide variety of health problems and complications. Therefore, to avoid these problems and improve your sleep quality, you must find ways to deal with stress and anxiety and calm your mind at night. If Sophrology, lifestyle changes, and other remedies aren’t doing the trick, it’s important to seek help from sleep experts so you can get the rest you need.