5 Tips to Stop Your Mind from Making Mental To Do Lists All Night Long

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning, friends!

As you might remember, I am working with Kohls on their Make Your Move campaign, which is all about moving more, stressing less, and eating and sleeping better. For my first post, I shared how I plan to move more in 2015. My second post was about our Happiness Board, which helps me stress less and be more positive in my everyday life, and my most recent post was all about my favorite kitchen tools that encourage me eat better. This blog post is all about sleeping better, which is an area that I definitely struggle with. My brain never shuts off, so I often spend a lot of time laying in bed (sometimes for hours) making mental To Do lists. I’m totally aware that I do this and that it prevents me from falling asleep, so I came up with some ways to help me quiet my mind.


Ok, right off, I’m going to tell you guys that some of these things probably sound a little weird. Maybe even a bit goofy? But, hey, take ”˜em or leave ”˜em. They work for me and my manic brain most of the time!

How to Stop Your Mind from Making Mental To Do Lists All Night Long

The beautiful bedding pictured above is from Kohls. I want it. 

Read. This is my go-to strategy for when I can’t sleep. Even reading for just 10 minutes will usually make me tired, so it definitely helps me when my brain is wired. Instead of tossing and turning for hours, I’ll whip out my iPad or an issue of US Weekly and read until I’m sleepy.

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I focus on my third eye. My ”˜think about pink elephants‘ trick has since morphed into focusing on my ”˜third eye,’ which is taken from my yoga practice over the years. The third eye is located between your eyebrows and is associated with intuition, concentration, and focus, so it is really helpful for calming my mind. I just think about it and nothing else, which means I can’t keep making mental To Do lists, and I will eventually fall asleep.

I keep a note pad and pen by my bed. Since I’m always thinking about what I need to do, I leave a pad of paper and a pen on my bedside table. (This journal with lined pages is also super cute for writing down To Do lists.) Anytime I think of something I need to do, I jot it down, so I don’t keep running it through my head over and over again. Basically, once it’s written down, I know I won’t forget about it, so I can relax.


I contract and relax my muscles. This sleep tactic is old school. It’s actually from an overnight retreat back in high school. I’ve randomly used it from time-to-time over the years, but, recently, I started doing it again. Ok, here’s how it works. First, imagine yourself laying on the sand of a warm, tropical beach; you are totally relaxed. Start at your toes: Contract all of them for 10-15 seconds and then relax them for the same amount of time. Then, move up to your ankles””flex them for 10-20 seconds and then relax. Continue to do the same tighten and release as you move onto your calves, quads, glutes and then your fingers, hands, arms, shoulder, neck, and finish with your face muscles. In theory, you’ll be so relaxed, you won’t even make it there!

I think about being super comfortable. This one is a little hokey, but it works sometimes! I simply think about how comfy and cozy I feel in my bed. I focus on the cuddly blankets and how my head is positioned on my pillow. I listen for Murphy’s soft, rhythmic snoring and move around until my body feels just right on the mattress. I keep reminding myself how comfortable I feel and all of those happy thoughts just make me fall asleep.

Question of the Day

What is your go-to tactic for quieting your mind when you want to sleep?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.

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