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How to go back to sleep at night when you can't sleep

You wake up in the middle of the night and want nothing more than to go back to sleep. Then the thoughts come. What am I going to do about that? How will I get through this? Money!

Now your heart is pounding like it is all happening now. You feel too tired to get up but can’t sleep. You replay arguments, sort through relationship issues, and worry.

Will I go back to sleep at all tonight at all? Urgh, I’m gonna be so tired tomorrow! Did I just use the word “urgh”? How is that spelled? I’m never going to sleep and I can’t just lay here all night!

On rare occasions, there is a good reason to think through something in the middle of the night when the world is still. Sometimes, a certain kind of clarity emerges that reveals an answer you have been searching for. Most of the time, however, the train of thought is pointless, worried, and circular. You stress the body, lose sleep, and if this becomes a pattern then you end up very tired and even ill. What can be done to stop this cycle?

The best way to fix this is to meditate once or twice per day—in the morning, after lunch, or any time you feel tired. Meditation trains you to not follow a train of thought. It takes practice, but once you get it then you also have to power to let go of a train of thought at night so that you can relax and drift back to sleep.

If you don’t already have a meditation practice, I recommend guided meditation. My favorite is called Meditation Oasis by Mary Maddux. Follow the podcast link on her website, try some different meditations, and just follow along as her sweet voice soothes you for 15 minutes or so. It seems kind of funny at first, but you’ll get used to it. At the end of the meditation, you stretch and go on with your day calm and rejuvenated. I always look forward to my daily meditations because it feels so good and fixes me.

Do this every day for a few weeks and you will notice a difference in your ability to go back to sleep at night. Also, you will probably not get sick anymore and will be far less grumpy and emotional during the day. These short meditations work better than a nap and you also get the benefit of learning to observe thoughts and let them go when desired.