You've probably been in this state before, and you probably do it every night. Overthinking before you go to sleep can't be easily stopped, even with the best relaxing techniques. Before you know it, you've already spent hours and hours overthinking and you find yourself missing precious hours of sleep, which makes you groggy and less than alert the following day. 

The cause

Therapist and psychologist Hope Bastine's explanation on Cosmopolitan Australia actually makes sense. She explains, "We don't have the time and space during the day to process the day and what's happened, to evaluate and make sense of it and the only time we do that is when we get into bed. A lot of people tell me that when they get into bed they start having all the thoughts rolling around in my head—it's a blizzard and they're suddenly remembering all the things that they should have done." 

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The solution

Hope recommends that we give ourselves an extra hour before going to bed that we'll spend relaxing our bodies and our minds. "A sleep ritual—an hour space—before you actually plan to go to bed is really, really important," she says. "This time allows you to activate the 'alpha' brain wave state. If you don't have time to have a full hour, then just pick two of your favorite things you do to relax and switch-off. For me, it's making some herbal tea, lighting a candle, sitting and meditating."

She also recommends that you chat up family or friends to release your feelings and process what happened in the day, or you can start writing your thoughts in a journal. What's important is you form a habit out of this since we're habit-forming creatures.

Another thing to remember? Don't try and block off your thoughts because this will just make things worse. "Blocking thoughts is kind of a taboo in meditation and mindfulness because our distress comes from the resistance to the unpleasant and the clinging to the pleasant and our fear of losing something," she reveals. "When we accept the law of impermanence and appreciate that everything passes (both the pleasant and unpleasant), that is the key to happiness."


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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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