How do I stop thinking so I can fall asleep?

Whenever I'm in bed and want to fall asleep, I start thinking a lot about life and other matters and this keeps me awake most of the night. Do you have any tips on how to calm my mind so that I stop having so many disruptive thoughts?

Doctors Answers (1)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 1/13/2014

Excessive "thinking" while trying to fall asleep is felt to represent a state of hyperarousal of the brain. This increased arousal state may respond to relaxation techniques but often requires medication. If simple treatments are not effective, a sleep specialist or a psychologist may best be consulted. Research has shown that certain chemicals build up in the brain which create this increased arousal state. The more we learn about these chemicals, the more specific medications can be developed to eliminate them. Avoid most over the counter sleep aides as most of them have an adverse effect on restorative sleep and often lead to a hangover.