Trying your hardest to fall asleep when you hit the hay?
Well, here’s a counter-intuitive tip from the slumber pros I recently heard:
Cogitate on the opposite of nodding off. I know. I couldn’t exactly wrap my head around it, either, initially. I mean, you’re telling me that by laying there and contemplating wakefulness, I can stand to snooze sooner? My mind’s already going a million miles a minute. Wouldn’t that just make it worse? Not so, the say the experts of all things bedtime. See, it’s this thing called “paradoxical intent”. When you’re lying in your flannel lair, anxiously, internally demanding the sandman rub some’ve his dust in your scleras, something unfortunate happens.
Nothing. No sandman. No sleep. Just a whirlwind of worry and clock countdowns.
“If I get to sleep within the next ten minutes, I’ll get four hours…”
Yes, more arithmetic. That’s exactly what you’re already revved up mind really needs. (Sarcasm heavy enough there?) Actually, all that thought is the problem in and of itself. Think about what you think about when you lay awake. It’s not a list of pixie tales and happy affirmations, is it? You’re worried about what’s going on tomorrow. How crappy it’ll be ’cause you’re gonna be walking around like a zombie ’cause you can’t nod off now. So, then, we try to force it into fruition. In truth, though, that makes it worse – much like trying to force creativity. (Or pooping, for that matter. #justbeinghonest) All’ve these things are natural processes. But, when you’re tense and unrelaxed, they don’t happen so easily, do they? When you overthink it, you worry. When you worry, you’re tense. And when you’re tense, what normally happens naturally, doesn’t happen at all. So, what do you do? How does focusing on not sleeping help? Well, sure, the easiest thing to say is “don’t focus on it”. But, if I tell you right now not to imagine John Cena in a tutu, holding a teacup with his pinky out… what do you immediately imagine?
(Holy taffeta, Batman… I legit did *not* think I’d find anything like this when I Google image’d that idea….)
Exactly. Thus, rather than that, you redirect attention. Instead, you give yourself something to focus on that’s not only not sleep itself, but so far at the other end of the spectrum – that the thought of sleep (and all your worries sitting on the perimeter of it) can’t possibly filter in and hinder your hay hitting goals. So, you heard it here. Next time you restlessly wish you could sleep and dream… Daydream first. About not sleeping.
And you will.