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Q. Why do a lot of thoughts prevent me from falling asleep?

 

Hi doctor,

I cannot sleep early at night and cannot wake up early in the morning. I normally sleep at around 2 AM and wake up at 10 AM in the morning. I am also very tensed when I try to sleep, lots of thoughts come to my mind regarding my life, my past, and my future. I think unnecessary things. I also watch TV and use my mobile before sleeping sometimes, but even if I do not use them, I cannot sleep early. Please suggest any exercise or some other method to solve this problem. I do not want to take any medicines.

 

Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen
MASTERS IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY., MPHIL IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY., PHD IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Psychologist/ Counsellor

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I completely understand that you are concerned about your sleep timing and have difficulty in initiating sleep due to excessive thoughts.

  • Sleep problem may be due to stress or tension. Since childhood, you have been sleeping late at night, so it might have become your pattern. Secondly, any problem in setting your sleep cycle may also result in mood irritability and tension because the natural sleep system serves as healing process of daily wear and tear of our body. Any disturbance in this natural healing process may result in tension, stress, and low energy.
  • To set your sleep timings, you need to understand the process working behind it. Sleep timing is set by your internal biological clock. Once sleep cycle is regularized at a particular timing, it takes some time to change the set sleep pattern. Initially, when you try to change this natural sleep cycle, you may face difficulty, but once your biological clock gets harmonized and adjusted to your daily routine, you can reschedule your sleep time.
  • You can apply this fact to your condition. For instance, you start waking up before 10 AM (whatever timing suits you), by setting alarm or telling someone to wake you up. Gradually, you will start feeling sleepy before 2 AM at night just to complete your sleeping hours. Initially, you may feel difficult to fall asleep, but with regular practice, it will become your routine.
  • As you experience difficulty in initiating sleep, do relaxation exercise and deep breathing to calm yourself down and initiate sleep. Do it in sitting position just before you go to bed or you can do it while you are lying on the bed. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on the air going in and out.
  • The correct breathing pattern is to inhale through your nose, fill the air in your stomach just as you fill in a balloon, hold it for 5 seconds in the belly, and then exhale the air slowly from your mouth. Focus on your head muscles and relax them, focus on facial muscles and relax, similarly, relax every group of muscles in neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, legs, and foot.
  • From the hair of your head to the tip of your foot, you will get relaxed. While focusing on your breathing and air going in and out, just imagine something positive. Do this exercise daily. You can also do it during the daytime because it will help you relax and reduce your tension, so you can improve your focus and concentration over your work or daily tasks.
  • Everyone has positive experiences in life. Try to imagine those moments when you are having disturbing thoughts. Do not ruminate upon your negative past experiences, or ponder on unseen future happening. This will do nothing positive to you but increase your anxiety, tension, and depress feelings for sure, which may be the reason behind your sleep problem.
  • When you are stressed, instead of over thinking, just solve the problem to overcome life problems. Sit calmly and think about how you can solve the problem at hand. Find as many solutions as possible no matter small or big. Then pick up the best solution and start working on it to gradually solve this problem. If you cannot focus, just take a piece of paper to write down problems and solutions.
  • Include some pleasurable activities in your daily schedule. It can be anything you enjoy. For example, listen to music, walk, exercise, read books, eat a favorite food, wear favorite dress or aromas, go out with friends, etc.
  • I appreciate that you consulted at an initial stage of symptom development. Do take action at the earliest. Delay in treatment may worsen your problem.

I hope this information is helpful. Do follow-up if you feel the need. Best regards.

For more information consult a psychologist counsellor online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychologist-counsellor


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