I have battled insomnia ever since I was three years old. Over my lifetime thus far I have developed strategies for falling asleep. Healthy habits such as healthy eating, decreasing caffeine consumption, and exercise may help. But, they do not provide immediate help for when you are laying in bed unable to sleep. This is where my strategies come in. On this page I discuss meditating, breathing, listening, and relaxing.
Do you ever have racing or recurring thoughts while you are trying to sleep? I do! These thoughts may be positive, negative, or neutral. Regardless of the type they prevent us from sleeping. If your thoughts are lists of things to do write these down or put them in your phone before beginning to meditate. I recommend guided meditation for this strategy. The other three strategies are very much part of unguided meditation. You can access guided mediation through free apps or YouTube videos.
Aside from breathing being a life promoting function, it can also provide relaxation. To start get into a comfortable position. This position may be sitting upright in a chair or lying down on your back or side. Close your eyes and pretend there is a glowing light around your body. What color is this light? Mine is usually blue, but yours can very well be different. Focus on the color of this light. Now add in your breathing. As you inhale the glow will become bigger and brighter. As you exhale the glow will become smaller and dimmer. While focusing on the glow start to slow your breathing to make each breath longer than the last. Try this for at least five breaths. For more breathing techniques check out Life Emblem’s pages about pain and stress.
Now listen to your surroundings. Listen to any sounds that are near you first, such as fans and vents. Then expand it to sounds that are more distant, such as TVs, people talking, and people moving around. Finally, expand to sounds that are coming from outside, such as wind, traffic, and airplanes. Take your time with each sound and follow it for as long as your mind can stay focused on it. This may be a few seconds or a few minutes.
Still awake? Try progressive muscle relaxation. I start by relaxing my peripheral body parts and then moving towards my core and up to my head to finish. In doing so, I first focus on relaxing my legs and then my arms. While focusing on relaxing I take deep slow breaths. Once my legs and arms relax I move to relaxing my chest, abdomen, and back. Again taking deep slow breaths. When almost my entire body feels relaxed I finish with relaxing my face, head, and neck. Once again taking deep slow breaths.
If you are still awake listen to guided meditation again. Be kind and gentle to yourself. It may take time for your body to fall asleep despite these strategies. The more you practice them the easier it will become due to your body mastering a sleep routine.