Saturday, February 2, 2013
How to Fall Asleep
I recently had trouble falling asleep because I was thinking about work too much. I then remembered that the mind has trouble concentrating on more than one thing at a time so I searched for a way to distract myself from the worries of the day. I came up with a solution that hopefully will work for you. The solution consists making up nonsense words in your mind preventing you from thinking about other things. Eventually, your mind drifts off. I will explain in more detail below, but first, there are two important steps you may want to consider when you have trouble sleeping because something is keeping you up. This posts assumes that you have a normally busy day and the reason you can't sleep is because you mind is active not because your body is not tired.
First, read Dale Carnegie's book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. This book is required reading for the Dale Carnegie course and a must read for anyone who is gripped with fear about what may happen in the future. If you are still unsure, you may want to consider that 193 reviewers out of 237 gave it five stars on Amazon.
Second, keep a notebook by your bed. When you have trouble sleeping, it is often because you are not sure how a particular event is going to unfold. While you may not be able to control the outcome, you can control your actions. Create a what-if scenario and then create an action plan if each scenario occurs. Then, write down the top three actions that must be performed depending on the outcome. Once you have clear path of action, you can relax because you know what must be done. You may not like taking a particular action, but in your heart, you know that it must be done. Then when you start to worry about the particular event, you just think about your action plan and you know what steps need to be taken.
Now comes the interesting part. The goal is to distract your mind so that no other thoughts can enter your head. You do this by creating up nonsense sounds or words in your mind that have no meaning and no connection except perhaps rhyming. For example, you would begin to say, "ba, ma, sa, tee, wee, pee, knee, nin, pin, rin...". The words should not tell a story or have any association with real life. As soon as you say one word, begin to say the next. If you find your mind wandering to a concrete thought, refocus so that you get back to saying the words.
When I first started to use this trick, the tempo of the words began to increase until the sounds came rapid fire and became distracting. I then realized that the sounds were much faster than my breathing. By slowing down the creation of new words to match my breathing everything came together. With each breath, I would create a new sound and this would be relaxing, my breathing would then slow with the relaxation and so would the speed of new sounds. Eventually, I was not aware of either my breathing or the sounds and I was asleep.
The solution works because you conscious mind does not know how to interpret the words you are saying. Your mind is engaged but there are no follow on thoughts that go in circles leading only to more worry or frustration. You are literally creating static or white noise for you brain. The brain is keeping busy but it does not know what it is doing. With no clear action direction, your consciousness begins to lose control and you enter into Stage 1 Sleep which is the transition from consciousnesses to un-consciousnesses. If your conscious mind can not track the thoughts in your head, it it cant be aware of whether you are awake or asleep. This then allows you to enter the other stages of sleep automatically.
In conclusion, if you are having trouble sleeping because you worry too much, two things you should do are read "How to stop worrying" and create an action plan about what you should do. The third trick that I recommend is to distract your mind by making up words that don't make sense When you time these words to your breathing, your mind and body are in harmony and you will soon enter the next stages of sleep.
If this technique works for you or if you have another technique that works better, please share it in the comments section so that my readers may benefit from your success.