A Simple Strategy for Falling Asleep
Instead of getting nervous because you can’t fall asleep, attempt to relax and visualize peaceful images that can help you get to sleep.
When you’re up late at night, your brain initiates a complex spiral that combines anxiety, tiredness, and unwanted concern about why you can’t fall back asleep.
People who sleep light are the ones who experience this type of problem the most.
In this case, it is most common that your rest is characterized by almost never being able to get past the third stage of sleep. REM sleep, or deep sleep, comes after this stage.
The net day, the person awakens exhausted, with a headache and the undeniable sensation of not having recovered energy.
It’s clear that being unable to fall asleep at night is due to many causes.
Insomnia is one of them, but stress and anxiety are negative emotions that also alter our brain chemistry and cause this type of interruption in our sleep.
Today, we want to teach you a strategy to use when you’re having troubles falling asleep. Apply it according to your needs to enjoy a deep, rejuvenating sleep.
How to fall asleep at night when you’re wide awake
John Floyd is a well known television producer for the BBC that achieved his name to fame after directing a program about scientific curiosities.
He’s also the author of the book The Book of General Ignorance. In one of his chapters, he deals with some erroneous strategies that many of us have used to help get to sleep. Here’s just a few of them:
- Walking around the house.
- Focusing on mantras such as, “I’m going to fall asleep. I need rest.”
- Counting a series of numbers.
- Watching TV for a few minutes and waiting for sleep to overtake us.
All of these mechanisms respond to what is known as “the pink elephant.” That is to say, all it takes is for someone to say, “Don’t think about the pink elephant,” and that obsessive thought is born.
The same thing happens with insomnia.
Counting sheep, convincing ourselves that we should sleep, or watching TV are actions that feed this state and our own worries even more.
Next, we’ll explain the best way to approach these cases.
The importance of your temperature
This might seem strange to you, but there’s a lot of strong medical backing to this.
To reach deep sleep, we need to have a room temperature between 66 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (19 to 22 degrees Celsius). Keep in mind:
- Having “a little” chill facilitates relaxation and helps oxygenate the brain a little better.
- You can slightly lower the cover to the top of the waistline or even shed some clothing, your pajamas, or your nightgown.
- If you sleep with socks on, take them off and stick your feet out from under the covers. This act, though small, will allow you to regulate your temperature.
- If you’d like, you can also open the window a little.
Now, it’s important to improve your core posture in bed in order to optimize rest and facilitate your ability to fall asleep again.
If possible, try to sleep on your left side. This way, you don’t apply pressure to your liver, and you give your body every opportunity to carry out its processes without applying any pressure.
- Now, lodge a pillow between your legs. This will take good care of your lower back and your spine, allowing an sufficient bodily balance.
- This position will also ease muscular tensions and make you feel more relaxed.
Suppression of anxiety-causing thoughts
When you’re awake in bed, the most common thing to do is to bury yourself in your pillow and toss from side to side, hoping to go back to sleep.
- Thoughts like “I should fall asleep because in 4 hours, I have to get up to go to work” only work to intensify anxiety. You need to avoid such thoughts.
- Substitute mental verbalizations with images.
- Visualizing something has a stronger impact on your brain when it comes to promoting pleasant sensations.
Words demand another type of activity that tends to over-stimulate our cerebral hemispheres. That’s one of the reasons why the ideal solution is to use images instead of words to try and help yourself fall asleep.
Let’s take a look at an example.
A palace of serenity
- Visualize a shiny palace. You’re approaching it little by little. When you reach it, you enter a white room with tranquil light.
- This room has some massive windows that open toward a calm sunset.
- You can also hear the gentle trickle of a river from the open window.
- The temperature is perfect and nothing is disrupting this thread of perfect balance.
- All of your problems are left in another distant universe, and nothing—absolutely nothing—can find you in this peaceful white room.
- You feel light and very relaxed; so much so that you decide to curl up on a couch to immerse yourself in this magic.
These images should relax your mind and body. Keep in mind that people who are accustomed to performing meditation exercises will find it easier to use this technique.
Put it into practice. Always try to start by searching for a comfortable posture to later commence this simple visualization exercise.