I sometimes suffer from insomnia. And when I can’t fall asleep, I play what I call the alphabet game.-Roz Chast
Waking up is automatic, sleeping is effortless and yet falling asleep for many of us is often difficult and time consuming. My trick may make it easier for you.
There are entire rituals you can go through to ensure falling asleep fast; have a cup of warm milk, stretch the body, adjust climate controls, get into pajamas, turn on white noise or music, cover all windows, turn off lights and finally getting into bed with your favorite book.
Because of my nomadic lifestyle, this is hardly possible, save for those rare times I stay at a proper hotel. Also, that’s a bit too high maintenance for me.
From my profession as a covert operator, I’ve mastered my own method of falling asleep fast for the most unlikely and uncomfortable of places like hidden in a grand tree worshiped by a cult for 4 nights.
Completely voiding your mind of all thoughts would be the most ideal way to fall asleep but very few humans are capable of this, even when we zone out.
Our brain is constantly processing information even if we don’t consciously do so, this means it makes it that much harder to clear your mind 100 percent.
It’s thoughts that trigger excitement, curiosity and depression that keep us awake, or worse, that sudden idea that pops into your head the half second into your sleep that almost feels as if it literally pulls you awake.
The trick is to take advantage with emotionless visual thoughts that keeps your steady focus while distracting yourself from your mind’s randomosity.
Specifically visualizing a mechanical movement.
Not something too complex where you’ll get lost or confused in the movement. It should be something you’re already familiar with. Perhaps if you know cars, the internal movements of the engine, or if you’re in medicine, the biomechanics of the heart.
Whatever it is, the movement should have a potential perpetual movement. Because if your focus is on a movement that will and is supposed to stop, so will your focus on inadverdant mirrored sleep.
Mechanical movements works well because despite its perpetual motion, it is finite in its isolation.
Whereas thinking about work, life, problems or even what to do the next day, the level of focus branches off infinitely, it’s too much brain processing to fall asleep.
So it’s focusing on something visual, complex but not too sophisticated and something you understand.
The idea is to focus on a single
thought visual that’s interesting and maybe even entrancing enough to hold that particular focus with minimal risk of “jumping” or “branching” into another thought.
What I visualize is the internal movement of a Rolex Submariner watch. I just recently reacquired this retirement gift from years ago but had disassembled it out of curiosity to see how it worked.
The absolutely brilliant self-powered movements I witnessed in action stuck with me and is what I think about when I want to fall asleep fast.
Before that it was a classic cassette tape playing Walkman that I took apart as a kid.
I don’t do this every time, just when falling asleep is difficult like when riding in trains, planes and automobiles. Also when I have insomnia, there’s noise, I’m in pain or I have to wake up early.
My Trick to Falling Asleep Fast.
[The featured photo was taken in Pai, Thailand.]