Black Reasoning | A Blog About Sleep

“How often one goes to sleep troubled and full of pain, not knowing what causes the travail, and in the morning a whole new direction and a clearness is there, maybe the result of the black reasoning.”  -John Steinbeck

I’m sure most of us have been there.  After having taken care of the duties of the day, having prepped for our morning ahead, maybe having completed our homework, or maybe after having delivered our children back to their rooms (maybe 3-4 times), or having finished a lengthy phone call with a sibling, parent, friend, or work colleague, or simply having attempted to think of all that needs to be done for the week, we head to the place where we’re supposed to capture solace the most… our beds.  And yet, in those first quiet moments when we endeavor to rest, the wheels of the mind begin spinning faster and faster with little hope of slowing down enough to fall asleep in relatively short order. This conclusion follows a deluge of conversations with those who suffer similarly.

We need to sleep more.  There’s nothing like when it comes to self-restoration, or at least that’s my belief.  But with the quiet, comes time.  Time to recount the day’s goings-on or attempt to solve a longstanding problem.  Quite simply, this is the point in the day when we have… time. Thus, the mind, at the end of the day, tries to do the work it has not had time to do prior to these moments of quiet, however futilely.  And, as stated above, this does not allow for solace, but rather for travail.

But, here’s the good news.  What we fight to figure out at the end of a long day, our minds do automatically during sleep.  I love the phrase “black reasoning.”  It’s true.  We awake with a fresh sense of what might still need to be solved versus steady rumination about what is out of our control.  In the “black reasoning,” the brain keeps what is important.  And what might need to be abandoned is packaged – or repackaged – and shipped out.  Does this mean all of our issues are resolved upon waking?  Probably not, but our response to the issues are perceived with a calmer, wiser frame of mind, simply due to the brain’s ability to cull and then reassemble what was so worrisome the night before.  As Steinbeck said, what a great way to gather clearness, and to steady ourselves against the force of the day’s troubles.

Written by Ann Kellogg, MS, LPC