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.