Busy Mind Sleeplessness is a pretty common affliction. You lie down, close your eyes, and find yourself thinking about to-do lists, revisiting a mistake, or trying to work out a story/poem/etc for later.

It’s pretty impossible, as far as I can tell, to make yourself stop thinking about something. Turning it over in your mind, poking at it like a loose tooth. (Did you let your baby teeth fall out naturally? Because I confess I twisted and tugged at my teeth, and made quite a few come out early. I just couldn’t leave them alone.) It’s frustrating to try, because you feel like you should be able to control your own brain, but you can’t.

You really can’t, it’s a twisty, contrary thing that seems to take delight in making your life difficult. Throwing up fears and nightmares at the most unhelpful times, and bringing up some hilarious memory at really inappropriate times. Though sometimes I wake up with a clever idea I have to write down right now. So there is some kind of trade off…

Have you ever had this problem? What do you do when your brain won’t quit chugging away?

*    *    *    *    *     *     *

A wise man somewhere must have said

that writing poetry in your head

is not of the choices perhaps the best

way of finding peaceful dreaming rest

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

5 responses »

  1. Getting up and writing it down is the only think that works for me. I can try to ignore that nagging voice and get back to sleep, but it will keep waking me until I pay it attention.

    But then, I was a tooth twister too.

  2. Christopher Lampton says:

    I’ve had this problem all my life, but found a cure for it years ago. I place a loud floor fan next to my bed and turn it up to full speed. It’s as though the sound of the fan drowns out my thoughts and lets me sleep. The woman I live with thinks it plays the same role as a mantra in Buddhism: It gives me something to focus my mind on that blocks any temptation to start thinking. Whatever, I find it works.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Wow, that’s interesting. A bit like listening to music or tv–I’m one of those people who finds noise horribly distracting, though…

      • Christopher Lampton says:

        Has to be white noise. Any information in it or even changes of pitch and it doesn’t work. I can’t sleep to music or tv either.

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