Tossing and turning at 3am isn’t fun, is it? Trying to fall asleep when you have a lot on your mind is almost impossible.
Therefore, calming down and resting the mind is a skill, and for overthinkers this can be a real challenge.
From restlessness and self-consciousness to perfectionism and worry, there are many traits that people who think too much at night and have trouble sleeping usually have in common.
So let’s take a closer look and know that if you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. Many people share the same struggles as you.
1) They worry constantly
While I’m not one to worry all the time, I do have periods where I just can’t fall asleep because I think about what kind of world I’m leaving for my son.
On the other hand, my wife worries not only about that, but about many, many more mundane things, many of which are completely out of her control.
So it’s no wonder that she can’t fall asleep, but also that sometimes she can’t sleep at all. When I notice her tossing and turning, I try to reassure her, but she’s just overthinking things, and nothing seems to help at this point.
Overthinkers like her simply get caught in a cycle of worrying about possible outcomes or future scenarios, making it challenging to stop the mental chatter.
2) They are hyper-analytical
People who have trouble sleeping like to break down situations down to the smallest details and often analyze things down to the last detail.
It’s as if their brains are in constant analysis mode, even when it’s time to wind down. If they don’t learn how to tame that mind that is working overtime, they will almost never get a good night’s sleep. can lead to many health problems.
What helps me fall asleep is focusing on breathing for five minutes. Many fitness trackers and smartwatches have breathing exercises built into them and guide you on how to do them.
Essentially, you simply focus on breathing deeply in and out, and it works like a charm. I often fall asleep within a few minutes just by focusing on this simple exercise.
3) They have perfectionist tendencies
There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. In fact, I wish more people would strive for perfection in some aspects of their lives.
That said, the pursuit of perfection can lead to… constant feeling of not meeting requirementscreating a mental loop that is difficult to escape, especially when trying to sleep.
And that’s the biggest problem, right? Comparing yourself to others. The urge for perfection should ideally come from within and not because you want to be better than your friend, neighbor, colleague…
4) They are very self-aware
Being acutely aware of your thoughts and actions can sometimes translate into overthinking. You just can’t turn off your introspective tendencies, right?
You are so aware of every little thing that happens in your head that you have a constant stream of thoughts.
When it’s time to wind down, like when you’re trying to wind down for the night, your mind doesn’t just flip a switch and turn off. Instead, it keeps analyzing and thinking about things.
5) They cannot let go of thoughts
Picture this: You’ve had a long day, you’re finally in bed, and it’s time to calm your thoughts. But for some reason, certain thoughts refuse to take a backseat.
Many people have difficulty letting go of thoughts, ideas, or worries, even when it’s time to relax. The mind holds them, making it difficult to transition to a more relaxed state.
In a nutshell, it’s like trying to leave the office when you’re on vacation. Your brain has trouble clocking out, and those persistent thoughts can be a real party pooper when all you want is a peaceful night’s sleep.
6) Their creative thinking is on overdrive
While creativity is fantastic, an overactive creative mind can lead to a flood of ideas and thoughts when all it takes is a mental break.
Some people’s brains are like a vibrant workshop of creativity, where thoughts, concepts, and what-if questions are constantly emerging.
So the downside is that when they should be getting into relaxation mode, their mind is still in high gear, exploring possibilities and conjuring up new ideas.
For such people I recommend keeping a diary. If your mind is a tornado of thoughts, drop them onto paper. This can be surprisingly therapeutic and can help clear the mental clutter before you hit the hay.
7) They think about the future. A lot of.
Constantly thinking about the future, whether it’s making plans or worrying about what’s to come, can keep the mind alive when it should be winding down for the night.
While this forward thinking can be great for setting goals and making plans, it can become a bit of a night owl’s nightmare.
The mental reel keeps rolling and you find yourself starring in scenes from the future instead of peacefully enjoying the present moment.
8) They are very sensitive to external stimuli
I am very sensitive to noises, lights and other things, like cats waking up at 3am and running around the apartment.
I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to create a good sleeping environment. If you live in a city, there are people driving around all the time. In the countryside the dogs bark, the owls screech, the wind rustles, and so on.
That’s why I’ve been sleeping with earplugs for almost ten years. Once you get used to hearing almost nothing other than a strange sound of silence coming from within, you’ll sleep like a baby.
9) They are restless
Restlessness is a big one. It can be a big deal when you should be sleeping, but your mind has other ideas.
The worst part is that it’s not the kind of restlessness that makes you want to get up and go for a run; it’s more of an internal agitation.
The thoughts keep racing, the mental gears keep turning, and it feels like there’s an invisible force keeping them from calming down.
No matter what you do, your body and mind just can’t cope, and you sit on the edge of the bed with your hands holding your head up, not knowing what to do next.
10) They are conscientious
Many people who think too much at night and have trouble sleeping have a strong sense of responsibility and thoroughness, which results in overthinking, especially when assessing past actions or anticipating future responsibilities.
This sense of responsibility lingers long into the night. It contributes to a sense of duty that prevents the mind from calming down.
A conscientious person is the one who plans things meticulously, crossing all the i’s and dotting the i’s.
They are diligent and thorough in their work, ensuring that every detail is correct. You can count on them to be reliable because they don’t mess around when it comes to keeping appointments.
The downside, however, is that their principled nature means they have a hard time letting go and going with the flow.
They find it a bit of a challenge to leave their sense of duty behind, even when it’s time to wind down.
Ultimately, it seems that many overthinkers who can’t get a good night’s sleep crave control.
This manifests in the need to anticipate and plan for every possible scenario, leading to overthinking about the future.
Fortunately, there are many proven techniques and remedies you can use to fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed.
From white noise and mindful breathing to tea and a bedtime routine, there are lots of things you should try.
Still, the best remedy is to learn to relax and leave your thoughts outside the bedroom. And if you have a source of stress, eliminating it is your best chance for a good night’s sleep.
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