From what I hear, people just lose it all the time. Or, they simply don’t get it. People are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for therapies, treatments, and books to learn techniques, to be able to sleep peacefully!
So here I am sharing one of my secrets, free of cost, how you can fall asleep.
It’s not as if I fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. Sometimes I struggle too. Meaningless thoughts seem to swirl in the mind endlessly. Small challenges and worries seem enormous and unmanageable. These thoughts seem apparently unstoppable.
Worry is the biggest sleep stealer.
Cut to a few years ago. I was expecting my first baby. I had had a miscarriage once already. My husband and I went to a retreat which was on a hill station. The road to the venue was so bumpy that I was afraid that I would have a miscarriage once more. It had me worried for two days and nights. I was pushing my anxiety on to my husband too. Then I met a couple of psychologists at the retreat. I expressed my worry to them and they suggested I do something. What they said altered my life for ever. They suggested that I set aside 10 minutes every day that I was going to be in the retreat and sit with them so that I can worry to my heart’s content and after that I can get on with the rest of the day without lugging my worry around with me. Imagine that! I can set aside some time, worry deeply and intensely and then let it go. This technique is one of the first that I learnt to control my thoughts, my worries, and how to fall asleep.
Let me pause here a bit and let that sink in. Yes, you can control your sleep merely by controlling your thoughts.
I have heard many people say, oh, but I can’t control my thoughts, I can’t stop them. The worst is when you keep thinking feverishly – I am not able to sleep, I am not able to sleep. This worries you more than the other worries. But think about it. There are many times when you were so busy that you could not worry about something ‘right now’. It had to wait. Now if you become conscious that your mind CAN suspend thought and especially worrisome thoughts, you can actually do it. The key words are ‘become conscious’.
So when I do want to fall asleep and my mind is going in endless circles, my first step is to become conscious that I am doing it. Then I tell myself, okay, this has got to wait till tomorrow morning, which is when I am going to intensely worry about it. But now, I must get on with the business at hand, which is – sleeping. Pronto. I fall asleep. Sometimes, I play a little game with myself. How many seconds before I fall asleep? 15, 14, 13….
Here are some simple steps to a good night’s sleep if you are an uncontrollable, chronic worrier.
Step one, become conscious that you are worrying. Watch your swirling thoughts. Catch yourself and say hey, look. I’m worrying. Once you do that you are ready for the next step. Step two, set a time for the next day to worry about the problem. You can even write it on a piece of paper if it helps. Step three, switch off. Your mind, not the lights. I assume the lights are off already. That sounds easy-breezy, doesn’t it? No? I agree. It’s not. But like with any other technique, even this gets better with practice.
The beauty of it all is that with good sound sleep, you are better equipped to deal with the problem than otherwise. I must tell you though that more often than not, the next morning I can’t recall what it is that I have to worry about intensely. This is especially true when I have vague undefined worries.
I have few more techniques which I will share soon. Till then, good night! I mean a really good one.
image source: www.blissfulbabydoulas.com