I love sleep. Sleep is a good thing, and there is nothing like waking up in the morning after a great night's sleep -- refreshed and ready for new day.
Nights like tonight on the other hand -- not so great.
3:42 AM: My eyes don't want to open and my body is so tired it hurts, but my mind is like a puppy who has been crated for a couple hours -- wide awake and ready to play. A tired body just doesn't stand a chance against an energized mind.
3:45 AM: I ask myself, "What are you worried about?" This is usually a good question for me, because I usually realize that there's not much I can do in the middle of the night that I can't do better in the morning (with a couple more hours of sleep). No worries come to mind tonight, just a whirlwind of ideas.
4:00 AM: Search my nightstand for my rosary beads and pray. This is along the lines of counting sheep, but a whole lot more rewarding in my opinion. I keep rosary beads beside my bed and somehow just holding them in my hand usually puts me right back to sleep. While I pray I am unloading all that is on my mind and it quiets right down. When this works, I'm usually snoring 1/3 of the way through the first decade. Tonight -- the entire rosary.
4:30 AM: Break out the deep relaxation music on my iPod. I have several great podcasts that I play in sequence that always do the trick - no words, just relaxing sounds that typically whisk me off to some tropical island paradise in my mind. This morning the boat to paradise was anchored on the shores of some big party town.
5:00 AM: I surrender to my inner puppy and drag my tired butt out of bed and down to my office. Check my email. Read about a truck that is ablaze on a local highway. Make my to do list for the day.
5:20: Let my brain release some of its energy and write this post.
6:15 AM: My mind is finally quiet....just in time to start my day. Of course now all I want to do is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Sleepless nights happen to the best of us. What's your best trick for falling back to sleep?