Saturday, September 14, 2019

Formula for Falling Asleep

Once you're in bed with lights off...

1. Un-smile your face.

2. Press your head gently into the pillow, then keep applying just the slightest downward pressure (almost none at all).

3. Imagine the minor ways your body will slump once asleep, and do that.

4. Think of a comforting object or pet or deity (just not any actual person). Perhaps your teddy bear when you were a kid, or an imaginary friend, or a departed pet, or Jesus or Buddha or whatever. If nothing comes to mind, buy yourself a rubber chicken or toy crocodile and sprawl it across your nightstand. And let's call it "him".

5. As thoughts, sensations, feelings, memories, worries, and emotions arise, outsource to "him". Something you forgot to take care of? Let "him" do it. Tight hamstrings? Let "him" fix it. Someone you're worried about? Let "him" worry. Tough problem to solve? Let "him" work on it. Bad thing someone said to you? Let him stew over it. Keep doing this unceasingly; whatever your mind or body or emotions produce, hand it over (imagine a sprawling flow chart where every contingency leads away from you and towards this central point that's not you).


Steve said...

I learned this relaxation technique in an Alexander class for voice:

Take in a deep breath.
Starting with the top of you head, working down: As you exhale imagine your body sinking deeper into the surface you are lying on. Your ears, your brow, cheeks, facial muscles, every part sinks deeper and deeper. Go slowly, and with each exhale work on just one small portion of your body. The part you are working on sinks down, and the parts you already worked on sink even deeper, until there is no difference in feeling between the surface and you.

James Leff said...

Thanks for commenting.

That’s called “progressive relaxation”, and while it’s helpful, it doesn’t address the mental chatter, which is usually a much greater sleep inhibitor than muscular tension.

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