Those Overnight, Racing Thoughts We All Experience Has a Name

We’ve all been there.

Those middle-of-the-night wake-up calls leave our overactive minds racing like crazy, creating scenarios, making up stories, and even going from a current stressor to trying to relive things from years ago.

Falling down this dark rabbit hole is truly heartbreaking and dismal, sometimes even scary.

Tero Vesalainen

Tero Vesalainen


It’s only when daylight hits and it’s time to start the day that we think back in horror about the places our mind traveled.

According to the Well and Good website, that 3 A.M. racing mind happens because it’s truly the only time we’re alone with our thoughts and have nothing distracting us.

This is called ‘monkey mind’ and according to Psychology Today, it’s a mainstream term that started with Buddhism. Monkey mind refers to the unsettled, restless, or confused mind and inner critic.

It’s the part of your brain most connected to the ego, which contends that you can’t do anything right. The monkey mind insists on being heard. It is also the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted. The ego has the ability to create false thoughts, which is the inner chatter we hear most often. In fact, it is the voice in our heads that we sometimes tell to “shut up.” Otherwise, we can become overwhelmed by these thoughts or even lose touch with reality.

The habit that keeps me from monkey mind is to grab a book or open my iPad and watch a familiar and favorite show. It’s comfort television for the soul. Usually, within an hour I’m back asleep.

READ ON: This Simple Snack Before Bed Helps With an Incredible Night’s Sleep

From creating a nightly routine and journaling before bed to breathing exercises and meditation, according to Well and Good, this can help you avoid those racing thoughts. Also, talking to someone about your monkey mind is key since depression, anxiety, or ADHD enhance it.

Thoughts and ideas

Marina Zlochin


The important thing to note is that most of us go through this so no one is alone in experiencing monkey mind. Finding something that helps you is key. So if getting out of bed and walking around helps or listening to music then do it.

The last thing you want to do is beat yourself up because you can’t fall asleep. Putting pressure on yourself will just ignite our monkey mind according to Well and Good.

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