Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: How Do You Shut Off Your Brain at Night?

How Do You Shut Off Your Brain at Night?

Is there a process you go through in the evenings to shut down your brain?  I've been up since 1:30am this morning as I couldn't sleep.  My brain wouldn't SHUT UP!

No matter what I did with my usual tricks, I couldn't get my brain to power off and allow me to sleep.

I even got up and worked for 2 hours.  That's two hours that I don't have to work later today, though I will work as I have lots to get done, but I couldn't believe I worked for 2 hours in the middle of the night.

What's sad is that there were a lot of people on AR blogging at those hours too.  Do you other people go to bed that late?  Or did you wake up early like me?

I used to go to bed at 1-2am, probably up until about 7-8 years ago... but then I realized I could go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier and then get more things done in the day.

I had so many things running through my brain that I wanted to squeeze it out through my ears!!

Comment balloon 27 commentsDonna Harris • February 18 2009 11:10AM


Yoga and/or meditation seem to be the best for me.  I am still a night owl though!  At least when I get to sleep I get a good night's rest.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 12 years ago

Donna, some of us burn the candle at both ends not having fun but, working.  Yes, actually I was up last night also till a little after 2:00 AM.  I had to get some listing packets ready for two new listings.  I will admit I do not do it as much as I use to since I am getting a little old to keep those hours.  But, I do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) almost 12 years ago

Hey, Donna. When this occurs, I lay down and close my eyes. I then pretend that I am on the most beautiful beach relaxing. I think we all need a much deserved vacation. All my best, Jim

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Man, I opened up this post hoping you had a solution.  For the most part I do alright if I give myself a couple of hours of unwind time before trying to crash.  But if my brain gets racing...I'll be up all night!  If you come up with anything, preferably not in pill form, let a dude know!!!

Good luck...dont let the bedbugs bite!


Posted by Chad McDowell, FHA and VA Mortgage Loans Snohomish County, WA (First Time Home Buyers, Pre-approvals, Fixed Rates) almost 12 years ago

Donna - Some days the brain just doesn't shut down... I work out from 9 - 10:30 at night, by the time I get back and cleaned up it's 11pm - it's really helps me to release the stress of the day, work through the things in my mind that would keep me awake and exhausts me so that I can sleep.  I'm usually asleep by 12:30... I'm not a morning person, but naturally wake up at 7am and do it all over again...

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna~ I don't know how Debbie above works out at night and then goes to sleep!  I would definitely be up all night for sure. I hate when that happens to me.  The best thing is to just get up and go with it! 

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) almost 12 years ago

Call me! I'm up!

I don't sleep well either and maybe I can bore you to sleep!!!

If that doesn't work, stare at this for a while......

You are getting very sleepy!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 12 years ago

Red Wine... except too much and you have a killer headache when you wake up!

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) almost 12 years ago

Joan, Thanks for your ideas.

Larry, Yuck! I don't usually work late like that as most can get done first thing in the morning, if there's time.

JiMaria, But with my brain on a beach, I then think about whether I put enough lotion on, am I getting burned, how many more freckles am I going to get, did I bring enough water, the sand is hot, but I want to play Volleyball, the sun is so bright and I forgot my sunglasses... etc... my brain would never just let me lay on a beach and do nothing.

Chad, Sorry, but I was looking for help too! I took Nyquil a couple of nights ago. I had never taken that before, and boy was it my friend! Other than that, I have Ambien for horrible nights, but I don't like to use it, so I didn't... I just kept thinking and thinking and thinking.

Debbie, I used to work out really late too, and it was awesome.  I can't do that anymore.  Too exhausted since Alyssa.

Vickie, Which is what I did last night, but now I need a nap!

Craig, Thanks for the graphic. It definitely helps... I might go take a nap in a minute!

James, I've always wished I could use that as I've heard it helps a lot, but I get migraines and red wine is a huge no-no for that.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

I have been an insomniac my entire life, and constantly go through bouts of not sleeping more than a couple hours a night. My brain has no off switch and I have tried just about everything that you can.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) almost 12 years ago

Donna, if  you find an answer to this, let me know.  Otherwise, I may see you up in the middle of the night on Active Rain.

Posted by Connie Betz, Top Omaha Realtor - Omaha Homes for Sale (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate) almost 12 years ago


I too seem to go through bouts of this....and I hate it....but I do find if I get up it is way worse.  I am one of those that if your feet touch the floor that is it!  I think sometimes it is a cycle that just needs to be broken....and I try not to start thinking about ANYTHING after about 8 so I can try not to start my mental list around 3 AM....the last few months I have been doing the wake up thing at 3....I have been having a bit of tennis elbow which seems to be contributing to it...I finally broke down and took one tylenol pm early at it is just enough to zonk me out through the night but wake up ready to go...after a few nights of that I felt refreshed....

Lori Cofer Pullman WA

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) almost 12 years ago

If I wake up wide awake, I accept it and get up and either work on the issue that woke me or take advantage of the quiet time. Sometimes I can go back to sleep after a while and other times I can't.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) almost 12 years ago

JL, I used to have that ALL the time, until I put myself on a schedule of going to bed at 10pm no matter what.  I got into a rhythm of being asleep by 10:20, but that didn't start until I was well into my late 20's, though it came back when I was pregnant... I would be up for days in a row.

Connie, Great, thanks!

Lori, I'm kinda like that too, which is why I fought getting out of bed and working for a couple of hours, as I never got "tired" again, but the laying in bed and having things just running and running through my head was driving me crazy, especially when I repeat things over and over so I don't forget them later.

Sharon, Even at 2am when the entire night is still ahead of you?  There used to be good shows on at night, but not anymore...  all "paid programming" to buy foreclosures.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Donna - I hate those night I can't go to sleep due to all the thoughts running through my head. My wife's uncle recentally said that a teaspoon of honey will help me go to sleep. 

Posted by Robert Schwabe, Orange Park Real Estate (EXP Realty) almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna,

It must be something about Active Rain - before I found this site I was able to put my head on the pillow and fall immediately to sleep. But now I've had the same experience of not being able to shut down the whirling ideas in my head - and sometimes I'm finally falling asleep at 2 or 3 in the morning. It's exhausting!! Though I could always sleep despite caffeine I guess Active Rain is a more powerful stimulant. It will have to be decaf I guess - in the form of other wimpy websites - in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime.

Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) almost 12 years ago

I have definitely experienced that - where I could not sleep and so I just did some work.  Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough time during the day to get things done.  Its a good way to get ahead.  Although I don't recommend it a lot or else you will be sleep walking in the morning.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 almost 12 years ago

Hi, Donna:
Shutting the brain off is all about the happy place... you have to find yours! 

I find myself waking up and unable to fall back asleep.  So I try to get to my happy place.  It takes a little time, but works pretty well.  I start by focusing on our dream:  a large plot of land in the middle of no where.  Visualize the terrain... Add a cabin.  Then, slowly adding details, like furnishings, color, food, family being there, music in the back ground... Swimming pool full of beautiful people...

Sorry, I got side tracked.  The important thing is to check reality at the door!  It would be real easy to destroy the fantasy by thinking about bills, college savings, family health issues.  It is imperative you focus on your happy place.  If your happy place is baking cookies, visualize yourself measuring out the ingredients.  If your happy place is rock climbing, imagine tackling a steep incline that you would never have approached before.  Then, slowly add details that appeal to the senses: colors, smells, sounds... It's amazing how many times I wake up when the alarm goes off, not remembering where I left my happy place.

If that does not work, read my blogs - those will definitely put you to sleep. :D

The Stage Coach Austin Home Stager

Posted by Michael Fontana, @ The Stage Coach (Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging) almost 12 years ago

I played tennis the last two mornings. Stay on the computer till I get tired and then crash. In 3 minutes I am in a deep sleep. Really do not think about much, generally try to read news to get caught up. Once mid-night hits I am ready to crash.

Posted by Eric Bouler, Listening to your Needs ( Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La.) almost 12 years ago

Robert, I wonder what the honey does?  Maybe it makes you focus on getting all the honey out of your teeth while you're lying there... LOL

Elizabeth, Sorry to hear you're having issues too.  Sometimes we read so much "stuff" on here that it's hard to process it all before bedtime.

John, I was definitely sleep walking in the morning... Alyssa decided to keep me up last night from 1-2:30am. I guess she wanted me to know she felt my pain!

Michael, "Happy" place?  Please define. LOL! Just kidding.  I completely understand what you're saying, but that never works for me no matter how hard I try.

Eric, Blah blah blah... anything else you wanna brag about?  ;)  I do sleep better if I've worked out that day, but I haven't been able to swim in over a week because of being out of town and then sick.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

HI Donna,

I hate it when I can't turn off my brain.  Sometimes I try counting backwards from 100 several times...just to force myself to stop thinking about all the stuff (work, tv shows, family activites, what I have to get done the next day) in my head.  If that doesn't work, a small glass of blush wine usually does the trick. 

Posted by Deb Wells (REMAX DFW Associates) almost 12 years ago

Donna - I know what you're talking about.  That has happened to me.  Sometimes, nothing will help...   :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) almost 12 years ago

Deb, I'll do the counting, and it never fails that somewhere in the 70s, I'm thinking about something else and I can't control it. So weird.

Debi, Not even screaming...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

I sometimes fall asleep blogging and wake up at 3 AM and continue. My Normal day starts at 6 AM.

My theory is when you're dead it is forever, so I cram everything in to my waking moments.

Posted by Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) almost 12 years ago

Terry, But not getting enough sleep can actually shorten your life... you should get more than 3 hours of sleep!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Donna- I think this is the trappings of being self employed. Prior to Real Estate when I had a job that ended when I left for the day, I slept like a baby!

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Central Maryland (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Ellie, That's because you knew it would be there for you in the morning and that's ok. With real estate, sometimes you can't wait until the morning.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago