Why You Are Having Racing Thoughts at Night

Posted by Darian Dozier on Sep 4, 2023 9:20:00 AM

Canva Design DAFQiPac810

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that many Americans struggle with period one of the symptoms of anxiety are racing thoughts. Racing thoughts are when your mind feels like it just cannot slow down. They also feel hard to control, intrusive, and they make it impossible to get a good night's rest. Racing thoughts are often caused by stress, anxiety, medications, and excessive caffeine consumption, to name a few.

It starts when you lie down to go to bed, and it's so quiet that your mind simply just cannot turn off. you may be thinking about the things that you need to do and the following day, or you may be thinking about something that happened that day, whatever the thoughts are, they are often negative, and very anxiety provoking. Instead of being able to relax, like you're supposed to do at night, you actually end up spending the whole night worrying. If you constantly struggle with racing thoughts, then this puts you at risk for sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation makes it even harder to cope with stressors the following day, so it's important that you find ways to cope with racing thoughts so you can get goodnight rose. Continue reading to learn positive ways of coping and getting a good night's rest when your mind doesn't want to go to sleep.

Why your thoughts raced at night

For some who have racing thoughts at night, they also have racing thoughts during the day due to anxiety. For 24 hours a day it seems like their brain just cannot turn off. However others have learned to feel relatively calm during the day, but when they lie down they go to sleep, then their brain immediately starts thinking about a million different things. The reason for this is that during the day you normally are distracted by your job, family, and other aspects of life. But at night time, when you're lying there in the dark, there is nothing to distract you from the thoughts that you have running through your mind. The darkness, and the quietness, provide the perfect environment for your brain to take off about all the things that you might worry about.

What racing thoughts feel like at night

if you're unfamiliar what racing thoughts feel like, here are a few things that you may know this if you are having racing thoughts at night. One of those things is that you have a list of thoughts that just stream through your mind on a loop. You don't actually come up with a solution for anything, and nothing feels solved, but it's just a running list of thoughts about various things. You also may feel like you are watching your thoughts and different scenarios play out in your mind like it's a movie real. The thought seemed to come very quickly, without very much time to think a lot about the previous thought. You also may experience other symptoms of anxiety, including a racing heart rate, sweating, fast breathing, and other physiological symptoms of a sympathetic response.

Causes of racing thoughts

there are plenty of things that could be causing racing thoughts. One of those are life stressors. Any part of life can be stressful, such as money, job, kids and family, and just trying to function and the world that seems to have something going on every other day. Embracing thoughts is newly onset, then this is probably the cause of erasing thoughts. However, if you have always had racing thoughts, then you probably have anxiety or some other mental health disorder that prevents your mind from relaxing.

Major life transition such as having a baby, getting married, changing crabs, etcetera are all things that could lead to racing thoughts. You may be concerned about the unknown, and what's in store for your future. This can prevent you from getting a good night's rest and truly being able to relax.

There are mental health disorders that can lead to racing thoughts. One of those is anxiety and panic disorder. This is a disorder where you are unable to relax and turn off your mind as you worry about the worst possible things that could happen in life. Another one of these disorders is bipolar disorder.

One aspect of bipolar disorder is a period of mania. Mania is described as feelings of greatness and high energy with a little need to sleep. Racing thoughts is one of the primary symptoms of mania as this flight of ideas comes through someone's brain and they feel like they have to act on those ideas right away.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is another mental health disorder that consists of an individual having obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, and therefore needing to do something to relieve that obsession. So this could be making sure the stove is turned off 150 times in order to relieve the anxiety that comes with the thoughts of the house burning down.

Medications and recreational drugs can also lead the racing thoughts. Certain medications can lead to insomnia and racing thoughts, especially if they are medications that activate your sympathetic nervous system. These medications can include those used to treat ADHD for example. Recreational drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine can also cause racing thoughts because they also activate your sympathetic nervous system. Withdrawal from some of these drugs, like opioids, and also cause racing thoughts and insomnia as one of the side effects. Catherine is another one of those substances that can cause racing thoughts. Caffeine is used to make the brain more alert, so if you drink it too close to bed then you may be unable to fall asleep.

How do you cope with racing thoughts

dealing with rumination and figuring out a way to reduce racing thoughts at night is important for your ability to get a good night trust. One way you can reduce racing thoughts is to keep a worry journal. If you're able to write down some of your thoughts on fears, then you're able to get them out of your head and put them somewhere else that way you can rest and deal with those issues in the morning. Take about 5 to 10 minutes right before going to bed and write out all of the things that worry you, or just spend that time free writing anything that comes to your mind, and then set that to the side when it’s time to go to bed.

Decreasing screen time is also going to help you limit your racing thoughts at night. It's very common for most people to spend many hours on their phone, especially right before going to bed. However consuming media can actually increase the amount of racing thoughts that you have. Also the blue light that is limited from the screens are stimulating to your brain and your eyes. This can interfere with the release of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone that should help you Get a good night's rest.

Finally, it's going to be important for you to actually address your life stressors, if you can. Some life stressors are just unavoidable, but it's better for you to address them than to try and push them off. If you just try and push them off and eventually they will start to interfere with your life, and your sleep. However if you can find a way to come to terms with your life stressors, and even find solutions to those that can be solved, then you may be able to address your racing thoughts in a productive manner.

Treatment options

If you're racing thoughts are unable to be addressed using the aforementioned coping skills, then there are other steps you can take to address them. One of them is therapy. Therapy is useful for helping you identify the source of your racing thoughts. This is especially helpful when you're racing thoughts are caused by something underneath your consciousness. A certified therapist can help you unveil some of the stressors of which you may be unaware. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular type of therapy for addressing racing thoughts and improving the positivity in your mind and behavior.

If your racing thoughts are due to anxiety, the medication may also be warranted. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are going to be the first I'm therapy for anxiety. If you think that you are struggling with anxiety and could use help from a medical professional, then it's important to talk with your PC .

Additionally if you are struggling to get a good night's rest then our sleep health professionals are available to assist you with improving your sleep. In order to get in contact with them, please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test.

Take a Free Online Sleep Test

Topics: anxiety

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all