Day 14 Blog June – Closed eyes racing mind

I don’t suffer from insomnia, in that I wake up at ridiculous hours, once I am asleep I usually stay asleep. However for longer than I care to remember it sometimes takes me a long time to get to sleep. Some nights 20 minutes. On a bad night over an hour. Much longer than the supposed 7 minutes it takes the average person to fall asleep.

My mind races from one thing to another. Sometimes going over the current day’s events or rehashing past events or experiences. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern as to what comes into my mind or why.

I tried listening to quiet music. This sometimes worked but not always. Telling my mind to stop thinking didn’t work either. Nor did breathing techniques. I tried to meditate but with little success as well.

Then I got to thinking, if only I could stop my mind from racing from one thing to another I might be able to fall asleep. So I needed something to concentrate on. But not something that was important enough to be remembered for later on.

Then I remembered a friend telling me about a drinking game she had recently played with friends. It involved choosing a category e.g. band names and then they went around the circle and each person had to say a band name (in this case) starting with the letters of the alphabet. If a person paused too long or got it wrong, they had to drink (or something like that, honestly I could be making that part up).

Anyway, lying awake one night desperately trying to get to sleep I tried it. I picked a category, movie titles (or something like that) and then went through the alphabet from A to Z thinking of a title for each letter. It worked. I fell asleep. Some nights I get completely through one category and have to come up with another. Other times I get to G and boom I’m asleep. As time as gone on my categories have become more elaborate, 2 word movie titles, 3 word movie titles, book titles, singers with only 1 name, cities in Europe, cities or town in the USA, a male and female name of a person I know, things related to craft. The only limit is my imagination. If I can’t think of a word I don’t stress, I pass and move on. Sometimes it will come to me later; sometimes it just doesn’t even exist.

For some reason forcing my mind to concentrate on one task forces it to slow down enough to fall asleep. It sounds odd that I have to use my mind to shut it down, as it were, but for me it works.

Do you have trouble falling asleep?

What techniques work for you?

Give this a try, it may work for you too.

Tagged on: ,

3 thoughts on “Day 14 Blog June – Closed eyes racing mind

  1. Sally

    I remember playing alphabet games to help me sleep at night when I was younger. Nowadays I have two strategies that I use when needed. One is quiet music, which you have already tried, but I am very specific about the music. I listen to Strauss waltzes – it’s beautiful music, and doesn’t have dramatic highs and lows to jolt you out of sleep. The trick is to concentrate on every note, and not let your attention waver. It’s not background music, it’s foreground music, and all those busy thoughts must be pushed into the background while you concentrate on the music. The second strategy is probably a simpler one, it’s the Buddhify app on my phone – specifically the Can’t Sleep: Settle track. When I first started using it, it was weeks before I ever heard the full track to completion, as I always fell asleep before it finished! It’s 7 minutes long 🙂

  2. Michael

    I use guided meditations, work on my breathing, if that fails. I’ll have a small snack, and surf the internet for an hour or so. Sometimes I’ve been known to get on my bike at 02:00 and ride for an hour. If sleep is becoming a recurrent issue, I’ll ensure I start exercising, taking a warm bath with salts, and meditating before bed. I may also book a reiki session to reboot the mind. Essential oils like lavender can be of value, as can minimising screen time and turning off bright lights a couple of hours before bed and using natural sources of light, such as candles etc. for lighting. There are some specific yoga poses that help as well.