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Ask a Sleep Expert: "How can I calm a racing mind at night?"

Dr. Shelby Harris wants to help you score some shuteye.

By Womaness Editors   1-Minute Read
Dr. Shelby Harris menopause sleep expert for WomanessWelcome to ASK AN EXPERT, a series where we pose your real questions to our menopause experts for the answers you need. Have a question? Post it on The After Party, our private Facebook Group.


Your Question:

These days, I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind is racing. How can I calm it down (and hopefully get back to sleep)?


The Answer:

From Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed clinical psychologist in behavioral sleep medicine: “When you wake up in the middle of the night, your rational brain is not there. It's literally not fully turned on.

If you tend to have the same thoughts over and over, write it down. Write, ‘There's nothing I can do’ (or write down what you can do about it) or just say, ‘I've already thought about it and I need to let it go.’

It’s also important to do a ‘brain dump’ beforehand. Spend 10, 20 minutes, even an hour before bed getting stuff out a piece of paper—because what you go to bed with on your brain is going to be there at three in the morning. If you put it on paper, it can help soften things in the middle of the night.”


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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a physician. Womaness strives to share the knowledge and advice from our network of experts and our own research. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.