Boost your Mind: How to beat a racing mind before bed

Stress is one of the most common causes of sleep disruptions. A racing mind, rumination, and replaying of daily events is a common reason people have trouble falling asleep. 

Here at Rested Health, we want to teach you the habits that have the least effort with the most reward. So, without further ado, here are the most important changes you can make to quiet a busy mind before bed. 


Action Plan

Journal before bed every night

The Problem:

Carrying the stress from your day into bed can lead to your brain associating your bed with rumination time

How to do it

Set aside at least 10 minutes before bed to journal.
Write “to-do” lists, log your day, or do free association (write whatever randomly comes to mind).
Journal from bed before sleep or as a part of your wind-down routine before bed.

Nearly 50% of people report regularly dealing with a racing mind before sleep

The Science

Learning how to effectively decompress before bed is a game-changer. Journaling is recognized as one for the most effective exercises for quieting the mind and getting rid of pre-bed stress. As a bonus, a regular journal practice will also help you learn more about your own habits, triggers, and strengths – all while building a better emotional vocabulary. 

 A 2018 study on journaling before bed found that people who wrote out a “to-do” list fell asleep significantly faster than other groups.

Research has shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction, such as journaling before bed, reduces stress-related sleep problems, such as a racing mind, and improves sleep quality. Better sleep quality means more restorative sleep, improved mood, better immune functioning, and less reactivity to daily stress. 

Quiet a Racing Mind

Try making lists! This grounding technique is designed to pull your mind out of unhelpful patterns. Simply list random objects like “car, potato, sock” and keep going until you find slumber. You can also try a Progressive Relaxation Track, like this or this.

Health Benefits

  • Helps to relieve stress and work through any difficult emotions, looming duties, or other stressors.
  • Gives your mind closure on the day and creates a cue that it’s time for sleep.
  • Improves sleep quality and quantity
  • Reduces how long it takes to fall asleep


  • Invest in a nice journal and pen that you will look forward to using

  • Feeling stuck? Buy a journal with writing prompts in it

  • If you’re not feeling like writing, try sketching pictures of your day/feelings


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