Sometimes getting to sleep can be particularly hard for the over-excited anxious mind. I have previously blogged about the importance of letting go of wanting to sleep, and learning to accept what your body wants to do at any particular time.
Sometimes though we need to indulge in a little paradox. We try to sleep even though we accept fully that our bodies might not want to sleep and therefore won’t sleep. It takes a bit of practice.
What I suggest is a simple exercise to relax the mind, help stop it buzzing through all those different memories of the day, worries, irritants and fears.
This technique should be tried while lying in bed in any position in which you could comfortable sleep.
Here is the method
- Reaffirm to yourself that it is absolutely ok if this doesn’t work. Strange, I know, but the art of a good night’s sleep is involves acceptance, not struggle and striving. Trying to force yourself to sleep and getting angry with yourself or others for not sleeping are both doomed to failure.
- Allow your eyes to close.
- Relax as much as you can, without forcing yourself.
- Allow your body to be still but don’t deny yourself the right to scratch an itch, or re-arrange the duvet.
- Now, in your mind’s eye, imagine a view. See a flat plain stretching to mountains in the far distance. The details of the view are not important, just accept what comes.
- About twenty metres in front of you see a large “100” floating in the air at about the same height as your eyes. Just watch that large 100, hanging there.
- After some seconds of watching the 100, when it feels right, allow the 100 to dissolve. And when it has dissolved you will see a “99”, about twice as far away as the 100 was, and about half the size. Allow this smaller, more distant 99 to hang in the sky for some moments. Watch it, just focus on it without being obsessive.
- Eventually let the 99 dissolve. And when it has dissolved you will see a “98” hanging in the air, about twice as far away as the 99 was and about half the size. Again, allow this 98 to hang there until you are ready to let it dissolve.
- Continue counting down until you feel ready to stop, don’t expect to fall asleep right away, just allow yourself to be relaxed and allow your mind to dwell on pleasant thoughts, safe in the knowledge that here in this moment, you are absolutely fine.
Of course you should speak to your doctor if you have insomnia, and this method does not to any extent replace therapy or drug programmes your Doctor or Therapist has placed you on.