How to cure insomnia caused by a wandering mind

by Martin Reed on 4 October 2012 in insomnia cures

If you find sleep difficult because you struggle to switch off your brain at night, read on.

According to new research, the Default Mode Network (DMN) is a region of the brain responsible for our wandering minds, tension and self-referential thoughts when we're in an inactive state (like trying to fall asleep).

Basically, even when you're not consciously thinking about something, your brain is.

If your DMN is hyperactive, it's going to make sleep close to impossible.

The good news is that research suggests it's possible to disable this part of the brain by performing specific cognitive tasks.

These cognitive tasks are known as awareness practices - and they've been proved to alter brain circuitry without requiring any medication whatsoever.

Follow the three steps below to calm your wandering mind at night - you may just be surprised at the results.

Step One: Write down all the thoughts, concerns and worries that are currently on your mind before you go to bed. Don't edit anything, don't think too hard - just get everything written down.

Step Two: When you're in bed, concentrate on a mundane sound - this could be the air conditioner, a fan, the fridge, etc - anything monotonous.

You want to tune in to any form of white sound. If your bedroom is absolutely silent, you may want to consider investing in a white noise machine, but radio static on a low volume can be just as effective.

Step Three: Keep your focus on this sound until you fall asleep. Don't think about anything else other than the sound you're tuned into.

Although this all sounds rather simple, research has demonstrated that these steps are effective at disengaging a wandering mind by switching off the brain's Default Mode Network.

That being said, brainwave entrainment is our preferred method for curing insomnia that's caused by excessive mental chatter.

Source: Elephant Journal

Improve your sleep without sleeping pills with my free sleep training. As always, there's more information and advice in our insomnia support group

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angela January 4, 2016 at 3:48 pm

I have tried the method of distance noise, doesn’t work for me. when I do fall asleep…by day light of course……im angry with my self.the way my mind wanders scares me…..its crazy things,its in 900 places in one. how is that possible? I need help with this.iv’e tried medications they might and might not work and if they do it’s a short period of time.it really worries me.iv’e had doctors to tell me if I don’t get something done with my insomnia my body will shut down. What do I do?

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Martin Reed February 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Meditation techniques often help if you struggle to relax due to a racing mind. Have you tried the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

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