How I Overcame Sleeplessness

A Simple Way to Quiet Your Mind

Paul Dorsey
Age of Empathy
4 min readSep 11, 2021


Photo by Author

A sunset offers inspiration to reflect on the day gone by, giving perspective to the greatness of the world around us.

As dusk threatens the horizon, the far-away sky glows orange which softens to blue before giving way to complete darkness. It calms the soul for the approaching bedtime.

Naturally, I would expect my mind to settle into low gear as I shut off the lights before I shift into park and close my eyes.

It’s frustrating when the room goes dark, but a faraway star still twinkles behind my mind’s eye.

Photo by Author.

A small thought whizzes through that restless chamber in my head. Then another sparks and fizzles out. I think about tomorrow, then remember the day.

A conversation from lunch crashes through an invisible window in the wall. Did I really say that when I should have said this? The more appropriate word echoes about the chamber. I repeat it to myself until it veers away as another subject lights up in front of me.

Now it feels like caffeine is kicking in, but I haven’t had coffee since breakfast. A random prediction about an unknown future turns to worry. The gerbil picks up speed on the invisible wheel.

Maybe watching the news will help. Nope. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the local 11 o’clock, CNN or FOX. The talking heads remind me that the world as I know it will somehow end tomorrow. And I can’t control any of it.

A good book might settle the mind. I find myself reading the second paragraph on page 47 for the third time. The wheel’s hitting full speed.

I resort to a sitcom re-run. With its familiar characters, the storyline can lull me to sleep. My eyes draw to a close.

Who the hell rings a doorbell in the middle of a laundry soap commercial?

It wakes the dog. She barks loud enough to wake the old man next door and neighbors across the street. I worry about what they will say in the morning as I get in the car for work. Then I stare at the ceiling wondering whether or not I locked the car in the driveway.

I roll from side to side, trying to guess what time it is without looking at the clock. This exercise distracts me from the neighbors. Oh hell, I peek over the pillow. It’s three-thirty… in the morning.

My body wants sleep, but my brain can’t stop thinking how tired it’ll be in three hours.

An infomercial might work. Yes, of course I need a new computer. I wonder what I did with the charging cord for my computer. Remember to check for it in the trunk. Did I lock the car when I took the dog out for a walk? I hope the neighbors aren’t still awake from the barking. Damn doorbells.


Recently, I’ve found an efficient way to settle down when my head hits the pillow.

I listen to a quality podcast on wireless headphones.

First, find an inexpensive pair of earbuds (wireless headphones ) that feel comfortable for you. These inexpensive Purity True Buds fit tight to my ear so I don’t wake when turning my head on the pillow.

I typically wear one earbud at a time. The charge lasts a few hours. I’ll switch them out if I wake up in the middle of the night.

Next, I search for a podcast with a narrator’s soothing voice.

As a writer, I enjoy listening to advice on writing. Some examples:

Helping Writers Become Authors — K.M. Weiland’s discussion of characters, plot and theme helps me drift off to sleep with a focus on my most recent work.

Writer’s Routine — Dan Simpson interviews successful authors from London. Sometimes I skip over an episode if the interviewee’s voice is not conducive to sleep.

Bedtime Stories

Spotify also has a great selection of Adult Bedtime Stories.

I especially enjoy Nothing Much Happens. It’s easy to fall asleep during a fifteen-minute story about an afternoon nap or soup on a rainy day.

I look for podcasts that distract me from the mundane matter that pepper my mind at day’s end. The subject matter interests me, but won’t keep me awake. I know that I’ll catch up on it at some other time when I’m more refreshed.

Invest your time to find a subject and tone that appeal to you.

It sounds simple, but it works for me.

A good night’s sleep rejuvenates the body giving hope for the day to come. Now if I can remember to say “that” instead of “this,” it’ll be a great day.

Don’t forget to recharge the earbuds so they’re ready for you when you’re ready for sleep.

Happy dreams.



Paul Dorsey
Age of Empathy

When not working as a Financial Advisor, Paul writes about everyday people.