Have you ever experienced a racing mind at 3 am that leaves you tired and wired, with thoughts spinning in your head so much that your head hurts from jaw clenching? I think of this process as “chronic levitating” or pulling myself into my mind cave.
For me, chronic levitating happens when my mind won’t stop racing. I start thinking about all the things I need to do, all the things I haven’t done, and all the things that could go wrong. My body tenses up, and I feel on high alert. It’s like my adrenal glands start pumping out stress hormones in the middle of the night, and I can’t calm down. My body is in fight or flight.
Sometimes this cycle will play out night after night, and it’s not just in my head. My body is affected too by fatigue, aches, and a foggy brain the following day. Other chronic levitators experience intense ringing in their ears or unrelenting migraines. While others have digestive problems, and get acid reflux or some close cousin of gnawing stomach pain. Either way, it’s uncomfortable and can really affect our quality of life. If left unattended these issues can have real effects on our long-term health.
Having experienced too many disrupted sleep cycles and feeling exhausted and grumpy, I knew I needed to find ways to reset my biorhythms. Here are a few remedies that really helped me – especially on those days that slam you:
- Get moving. Exercise is a great way to burn off some of that extra energy that would otherwise keep me up at night. Even a 10-minute walk around the block can help. Place post-its around the house saying, “Get Moving!” to remind you.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine that works for you and sticking to it can make a huge difference. This could include things like taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to calming music. I do all of these.
- Get away from your smartphone and other electronic devices.
- Cold Water. If you find that you are especially mentally focused and are struggling to come more into your body then I would suggest running cold water on your feet or splashing your face with cold water.
- Take a 20-minute afternoon nap or break. It may be difficult to find the time but so worth it if you can. Try to rest by lying down or sitting in a quiet place, like your car, to take a break from your daily activities. When I was working for a school district in their Assistive Tech department I would take my lunches and then go lie down in my car. It made all the difference in the world.
- Talk to a professional. Sometimes, levitating can be a symptom of a larger issue, like anxiety or depression. Speaking to a mental health professional can help me identify the root cause of my levitating and work with me to develop a plan to manage it.
I understand that chronic levitating can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience but with support and over time, it can be transformed. You can unwind the adrenal-powered, monkey mind and come into more embodied, calm states. If you’ve experienced something similar ie feeling wired and tired in the middle of the night, know that you’re not alone. Try some of these suggestions and see if they help. If you need more support, please give me a shout. I am here to help. Taking care of yourself is important, and it’s never too late to start.
Also, please join us for My Weekly Meditation for guided meditations and relaxing somatic exercises.