It is long after dark. Your eyes pick straws, thoughts begin to get confused. You gather all your forces to reach the bed, lie down, stretch yourself… And 15 minutes later you realize that your brain has tricked you – it turns out, you still have enough energy for a dozen of inner dialogues. Familiar? Then you should definitely read this article.
The main reason that you cannot fall sleep is the internal dialogue. It is often associated with feelings regarding the events occurred, or worrying about the future. However, even productive thinking is not appropriate at bedtime.
Generally, if you are unable to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, further attempts are doomed. You start thinking that your mattress and pillow were created to torture you. As luck would have it, it is in such moments that someone slams the door in the street, someone comes and leaves, and neighbors wander from room to room like sleepwalkers!
So, your internal dialogue turns into whining and grumbling. To avoid this, you need not start it at all. For this purpose, it is necessary to divert the brain from disputes and hypotheses. Use one of the following methods and fall asleep easily today.
1. A ball
Everyone knows about sheep. However, a much more effective visual image is a ball. Think of a ball that sways gently, spreading waves around it. If you notice that thoughts distract you, go back to the image of the ball immediately.
2. Mental mouse
Imagine any object. Mentally move it away, zoom, and rotate it like you do with a mouse thumbwheel. Building a detailed visual image helps to distract from disturbing thoughts. Do not discuss the features of the object with yourself – just watch.
3. The scout method
Lie down on your back, stretch and relax. Roll your eyes under closed lids. Do not overdo it – your eyes have to remain relaxed. This is the natural position of the eyeballs during deep sleep, so it helps fall asleep more easily.
4. Four – seven – eight
Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, then hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. This kind of breathing helps lower the adrenaline level and slow down the pulse. Besides, concentration on the breath will distract you from thoughts.
5. Autogenous training
Lie down comfortably on your back. Stretch yourself and begin to spread a feeling of heaviness and heat through the body. Observe how the feeling spreads from head to fingertips, then legs. Do not forget about the face. Your chin, cheekbones, eyes and forehead should be completely relaxed. Try not to move.
6. The time machine
Remember the day. Without emotions and evaluations, just scroll all the events that happened today. Try to remember more details, but watch from the sidelines, as if watching a movie.
7. Dreams reconstruction
Remember one of the pleasant dreams that you have seen. If you do not memorize dreams – make one up. Pay attention to feelings, add details to the picture. This is your dream, and it can be as perfect as you want. It is possible that, falling asleep, you will find yourself in it again.
8. Reverse blinking
Close your eyes. Open your eyes just for a split second and then close again. Repeat after 10 seconds. Such ‘blinking’ will help you relax and start sinking into distracting reflections.
9. Rapid eye movement
Open your eyes and quickly look from one object to another. Do not rest your eyes on anything specific. After 1-2 minutes, you’ll feel your eyelids have become heavier. Resist to your tiredness a little more, then let your eyes close.
10. A fairy tale
Many parents know the situation when you tell your child a story, and he/she begins to feel drowsy. Tell the tale to yourself. Invent any senseless plot and let it develop on its own.
11. A word game
Think of a word with three letters starting with each letter of the alphabet, then proceed with four letters, and so on. Do not try to analyze – accept the first word that comes to your mind. Such a boring and monotonous activity usually “turns off” the brain pretty quickly.
12. Trying to hear the silence
Lie down in a comfortable position and listen to the silence. Try to hear the quietness and not the sounds outside the window or in the stairwell. It is not easy, but once you succeed, you will relax and fall asleep.
13. White noise
Find (or create) a source of a quiet monotonous noise. Listen to it carefully without allowing yourself to be distracted by thoughts. After a while, you will start to doze.
Relax in a comfortable position as well as you can. Calm you breath. Relax even more, repeating to yourself phrases like “I’m getting more and more relaxed”, “my body is getting heavier.” Then say to yourself “When I count to zero, I will fall asleep” and slowly begin to count down. You can, for example, count 50 exhalations.
In any case, do not forget to properly get ready for sleep
The classic rule is that the last meal should be 2-3 hours before bedtime. However, if you are used to eating often, the feeling of hunger will not allow you to sleep just as the full stomach. In this case, drink milk, eat half a banana or a small amount of cheese an hour before bedtime.
For a good night’s sleep, you need to move enough (preferably outdoors) during the day. Develop a habit of walking before bedtime. Even a 20-minute walk will help to get distracted from problems and prepare the mind for sleep.
Be sure to ventilate the room before going to bed. It is better if the window is ajar overnight. But if you are afraid of freezing, at least air the room well before you go to bed.