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Sleep and the Talkative Mind

Sleep and the Talkative Mind

Last night, I had a very difficult time getting to sleep. I was quite tired, as I hadn’t slept much the night before, but I couldn’t turn off my brain. My thoughts continued to race, and I could not quiet them. There was nothing actually preventing me from sleeping – I wasn’t particularly worried about anything, nor had I been drinking caffeine. It was simply the clatter of my noisy thoughts preventing me from relaxing and winding down.

This led me to think about (yes, more thoughts!) the tangible impacts that thoughts can have. Thoughts are real, of course, but they do not always spring from an external reality. They are formed in our minds, often as the result of insecurities, anxieties, or merely being too wired, as I was last night. Yet their effects can be all too real. Negative thought patterns can cause us hold ourselves back in many areas of life. They can make us feel afraid, inadequate , or insecure. Yet the thoughts themselves are nothing more than mental formations.

It is for that reason that meditation is important. Gaining the ability to examine our thoughts and recognize them for what they are allows us to determine which thoughts are constructive and which are not. Knowing that, while many of our thoughts are well-formed and quite useful, many do not accurately reflect reality helps us to move beyond many of our fears and insecurities.


Read more: Mental Wellness, Spirit

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


+ add your own
1:21PM PDT on May 6, 2013

Interesting thoughts. I think I'll try meditation some time

10:01PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

with all the worry and monkey chatter, need a sleep aid

6:23AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


5:41AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012


8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

At times there are restless topsy turvy nights when it is next to impossible to sleep. Often catnip tea helps or just listening to the snores of the blind 16 year old cat that owns me will lull me into sleep or the sound of rousing purrs. Often a radio station turned to nature music helps, the call of birds or thunder rumbling.

1:52PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Thank you!

1:50AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Many years ago before I retired, I often used to suffer from a restless mind when trying to fall asleep. Now, reading these comments, makes me want to ask : "If it's not you who controls your mind, who do you think it is?" That's worth considering ...

I've been using two techniques : The one is relaxation - starting from either my toes or my head and find that before I've relaxed 3-4 areas, I'm fast asleep. Very few of us breathe fully, especially us women. I use a few deep-breathing options eg, breathing in 'wellness', 'health' or 'wellbeing', etc. then when exhaling I think thoughts of 'releasing what doesn't work for me in my life' or 'releasing all tension' or whatever may be holding one back or troubling one.

Give it a try and if your mind wonders, just calmly return to these relaxing mental exercises; but most importantly, remember that you are the one in charge of your thoughts....

1:21PM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

I haven't slept well since I was a little girl! Living in an abusive household I never felt "safe", so I never slept soundly.

6:21PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

I def have one of those minds that like to ramble on about anything and everything.

7:02AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

There are two things that work for me when I can't sleep. I listen to relaxing music with my mp3 player and it never fails. Another trick is to count backwards from 100 or 1000 and in most cases you will never get even close to 1 before you nod off.

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