How can we stop the ridiculous thoughts that keep us awake at night, cycling through our head like a broken record. Yet, all of us are so tired by the end of the day but when it’s time to sleep, we can’t. Yet, we aren’t actively addressing our worried thoughts while we lay in bed.
I have to admit that I lay awake at night sometimes worried about absolutely embarrassing, horrid things that I will share shortly. I hope that I am not the only one, and after having this confession session that we can move on and get some desperately needed sleep.
Stupid Things I Have Worried About and Lost Sleep Over:
1. Why is my neighbor seriously picking on Charlie (the Maltese)? She is thinking his little drops of puppy urine are killing her plants. In actuality, his pee is fertilizer and you should see my maple trees. They are botanical society worthy.
2. I am so embarrassed to admit this (but I know I was like this). Why did that Billy Bob Joe Jankins on Instagram unfollow me? Lame. So. Lame. So lame until I realized this Billy Bob Joe Jankins doesn’t pay my mortgage, nor gets up 54367 times to give my kids water at night. So, you know what, eff Billy Bob.
3. Global Warming. I am so serious, I have been worried about the Earth I am leaving behind to the next generation and why I can’t be more like Erin Brockovich. Am I recycling enough? For pete’s sake, I live in Seattle and we recycle everything, and anything we use is made from recycled things. But, ugh, I am still driving a car all around to buy coffee so I’m still contributing to the death of polar bears. I am so sorry polar bears.
4. Poachers killing elephants in Africa. I hate these people but what can I do? I physically can’t be a bodyguard to elephants out in the Sahara. So much of what I can do is pray, and sometimes it just feels like not enough. So, I lay awake, and I stay awake reading news about stuff like this on my phone (killing more natural melatonin that is slowly depleting from my body anyway). All I can do is educate my kids on the precious meaning of what all life is.
5. Airplane turbulence videos on YouTube. I stay awake watching turbulence videos and give myself motion sickness, as I lay in bed. Then, I swear I will never fly again. I can’t deal with flying, and so I am a train wreck on every flight. I don’t have access to the good drugs from the pharmacy, so I have to breathe and text my best friends and family things like, “If I land, I will send you coffee. I love you.”
Do you have similar, random thoughts that make you worried and keep you up at night? Yet we aren’t actively engaging in problem-solving behaviors to quell these worried thoughts. We simply lay in bed awake until 3 a.m.? Or, we are on our cell phones searching the internet for more information that only makes us more worried? So all we are doing is “worrying over nothing”?
Being worried over the big presentation we are giving the next day, or thoughts about how the dentist check up will go, are completely normal. However, if we are worrying over situations we really can’t control (see #1 through #5 above), then it’s time we take control of our own thoughts and get some sleep.
How to Stop Worrying Thoughts that Keep Us Up At Night:
1. Identify what keeps you up at night and avoid all of it. Put away the phone, turn off the news, turn off Facebook/Instagram/YouTube, and just pray for the elephants and polar bears. Then, in the morning, recycle better. Letting go of what we can’t control isn’t avoidance, it’s focusing on our present situation and being mindful of what we can control. So if I can donate to a “save the elephants” foundation, that’s a productive action I can take so that I can stop worrying about the elephants.
2. We’ve talked about the supplement Theanine about 18 times now, but this is an all natural way to help you relax before bedtime. It is non-habit forming, and it will exit your system by the time you wake up to pee for the 5th time at night. It honestly, truly, helps you drift off into sleep so peacefully and gently and keeps you in a deep sleep state. Also, I can promise you won’t wake up groggy the next morning (as long as you don’t overdo it, but talk to your health care provider first to make sure you are cleared to take any supplements).
3. Tell yourself there are things you can’t do, no matter how hard you are trying to be a good and perfect human being. So many things are out of your control, so accept that you can only do your best with what you have. In the morning, make your spouse and kids a nicer breakfast. In the morning, just try a little better than you did the day before. Each morning is a new day to do better. We have to treat ourselves as imperfect just so we aren’t so hard on ourselves.
4. Face your worry with a smile. When your neighbor asks how your plants are looking so incredibly amazing, tell them it’s Charlie’s pee with a big smile.