Why Does Overthinking Happen At Night? Tips To Overcome Your Overactive Mind

Profile image Divuni Mindfulness
   Mental Wellbeing   
Feb 11   
Updated Apr 12
Many people around the world suffer from a very common issue: overthinking at night. As common as the issue is, not everyone understand why it happens to them.
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For many people across the world, getting to sleep is not an easy feat. This is because the moment their head hits the pillow, their mind decides to go over the entire day in detail and overthink every single little interaction throughout the day. Sometimes, even the brain begins to rehash the past and predict what the future may hold.

Overthinking at night can be a result of the restlessness of the mind. The reason for the mind's restlessness could be due to negative thoughts and feelings such as the stress of the past day, thoughts, fears, and worries about the past and future. It could also be due to positive feelings such as excitement and anticipation.

This process can be frustrating and detrimental to your sleep cycle and health. So if you have ever asked your mind why it likes to overthink at night, you might want to keep reading. We are going to look at why your mind betrays you when you are trying to get some shut-eye and ways that you can overcome that overactive mind.

Trouble Shutting Down: Reasons Your Brain Is Overthinking

Unfortunately, the truth is that your overthinking at night is caused by a system built into your brain's programming. It is built to do a bit of a reflection on the day as it begins to shut down for its rest cycle every night.

The unfortunate thing is that in this modern age, our brains are overstimulated throughout that day, and this makes the processing time longer and much more intense. Basically, because our brain is not allowed any time during the day to do small processing, it is left for the evening, and this means a lot of us will struggle to quiet our minds enough to drift off into sleep.

Another culprit, of course, may be the technology that we are all so attached to. The blue light created by our technology mixed with the overstimulation of the content on these devices can activate the beta-brainwaves system. This is the system that causes us to be alert and engaged with our surroundings.

Tips To Help Quit Your Mind

But just because it may seem hopeless, it doesn't mean it is. We are here to share with you some tips that we use to make sure we don’t end up overthinking at night on a regular basis. The simple truth is that there will always be some moments where you can’t shut down, but you can reduce the occurrences by employing a few of these tips:

Reduce Screen Time

Those little tools that make our lives so easy throughout the day need to be put away at least 30 minutes before bed. It would be better if it was a couple of hours, but 30 minutes will be enough time to let your brain begin closing down for the night.

The devices, as we said, produce a blue light that inhibits melatonin creation, which is vital to getting to sleep. On top of that, the apps and other feeds you have may cause your mind to be on alert due to anxiety and stress. So turning your devices off is a good start to stopping your mind from overthinking at night.

Create a Routine

Our brain is great with signals and routines. So it is a good idea to create a routine that signals to your brain that it is time to begin the evening shut-down procedures. This procedure can include things like shutting off your devices, reading, journaling, meditating, or even enjoying a nice hot cup of chamomile tea.

Once you have done it over and over, it will become a habit and your brain will recognize your routine as the signal that you are intending it to be. This will create triggers that begin your nightly shut down and reduce the chances of overthinking at night.

Get Up & Write It Down

If you can get your brain to be quiet, then maybe you should get up and do something. It could be getting up and moving around a bit or even jotting down your thoughts in a journal. By unloading all these thoughts, it could help reduce that overthinking. You could also do a quick task (nothing too strenuous), and this could help your brain kick into shut-down mode.

Do Some Breathe Work

One great thing to do to help with overthinking at night is to do some breathwork. By slowing your heart rate down a bit, you might find it easier for your mind to relax a bit. One of the most suggested breathing work systems is the 4-7-8 method.

This can be done by inhaling for a count of four, and holding that breath for a count of seven. Then you can exhale to a count of eight. Try to repeat this several times and you will find your heart rate has slowed and that it is much easier to drift off to sleep.

Sleep Schedule

Routine is a big thing, and this includes making sure you keep as consistent of a sleep schedule as possible. In order to ensure you have a successful sleep schedule, you need to try to sleep at the same time and wake at the same time. The amount of time is also important as too little sleep will disrupt this schedule and may lead to overthinking at night before bed.

Tools to Help Curb Your Overthinking at Night

Those tips can be helpful, but there are also some tools that you can use to help with the process both in the moment and throughout your day. Here are some tools you can incorporate into your daily routines to help combat overthinking at night.

Mindfulness

By building a mindfulness practice throughout the day, you will allow yourself the time to breathe. By slowing down for a few moments, you may find your brain is better able to process things through the day, leaving the nighttime for sleep. This practice can be anything from mindful eating to a nature walk to simple breathwork.

Exercise

Exercise can help get your mind and body active. By using the energy your body has stored, you can tire yourself out. This might keep your brain from having the energy reserves to overthink while you are trying to get to sleep.

Journaling

Journaling, much like mindfulness, can be helpful in allowing you to process anxieties, stress, and situations before your brain takes on the task. Getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper alleviates the backlog of information for your brain to process at night. This will help limit instances of overthinking at night.

Diet

Diet plays a big part in how your body and mind work. So limiting sugar and sugar-creating food late in the day may help deplenish the energy reserves your body builds. By eating healthier in general, your body processes will work at higher levels of performance. This might mean that by eating right, you could potentially see less overthinking at night.

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Final Thoughts

Lying in bed for hours rehashing the day's events and what could happen the next day is something we all have happen to us on a regular basis. But there are steps we can take to help combat our body's built-in download system. By allowing ourselves throughout our day a little time to breathe and contemplate, it might be possible to reduce all that overthinking we tend to do at night.

The world has become so inundated with overstimulation that our brains are on overload all the time, and this makes overthinking at night very common. We hope that all the information and tips we have given you in this article have helped you find a way to silence your thoughts and get some much-needed rest.

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