13 weird tricks to help force yourself into deep sleep
Struggling to sleep... But don't want to get addicted to nasty sleeping tablets?
Here are 13 weird tricks to fall asleep fast when everything else you've tried has failed.
Why 13 you might wonder?
You see over the last 20 years working in mental health, I've seen the pattern where one strategy that works perfectly wonderfully for one person will completely destroy another person's sleep experience.
So, my suggestion would be to work through this list and choose any of the strategies that work for you. You might find that you are okay with just one... Or you may need to combine two or three to get the perfect mix for your specific situation.
With that said, let's dive in.
Because it's a trap that will make you frustrated with yourself.
You'll get anxious that you're struggling to sleep.... You'll keep telling yourself I should have fallen asleep by now and then that anxiety and the frustration will start keeping you awake... Then, the more that keeps you awake the more you get frustrated about it... And the more you start to beat yourself up... And the more that keeps you awake...It can go on and on in a vicious cycle until morning.
So instead of following that dreadful cycle, use one of these other strategies to help trick your mind to leave the self-criticism behind.
I once told a friend of mine who was struggling to sleep that I could make her sleep in under 20 minutes. She laughed and said it was impossible. So I set up my mind spa for 20 minutes and placed it on her. To my surprise, she fell asleep in 15 minutes (She is the lady bottom right in the picture above).
My wife fell asleep in 10 minutes (She is the lady top left in the picture above). But my mum was the most shocking. She fell asleep in 5 minutes (She is the lady top right in the picture above).
The pictures were taken when they'd all fallen asleep.
The mindspa was voted Best Stress Buster On TV's 'The Gadget Show'
It's an audio-visual stimulation system. It uses light and sound to guide people gently into a deep relaxing mind and body state.
The MindSpa combines the soothing effect people experience from listening to calm relaxing music, and the equally relaxing effect people can experience from gazing into a flickering fire.
See the video below to learn about the mind spa
Often times, the reason you can't sleep is because of the thousand of issues overwhelming you. Most people worry with no pattern or structure and this just causes worry to take over all aspects of your day.
Instead of this, choose a specific hour every day to sit down and allow yourself to worry through all your problems. Sit down, write your worries on the paper, problem solve, and analyze as much as you can and avoid doing this outside this hour.
This will ease the pressure you carry to bed making it easier to fall asleep.
Here's an example of what that is.
Imagine that as you're breathing actually in and out, you're able to picture your lungs inflating up and down like two balloons.
But as you are doing this be aware of this common difficulty. When trying to do any kind of meditative exercise, your mind might just wander away. Most people conclude that they are no good at and mindfulness when this happens.
Beware that this wandering away of the mind is actually a necessary part of mindfulness. All you just need to do is to call your mind back. The act of recognizing that your mind has gone away and then calling it back is what strengthens your brain's ability to keep calm and focused.
And as you get better at this, you'll find it easier to focus on that image of your lungs inflating and deflating which then boosts your ability to fall asleep.
Yes, I know...
Loads of people say DON'T DO THAT! Because this goes against sleep hygiene principles. Everyone tells you to not watch TV or watch of all your devices.
But if you are struggling bad with sleep difficulties. This tip might be the one that works for you.
So, the idea here is to watch many episodes of a series you love over and over until you fall asleep.
You might have to watch loads of episodes first of all and then eventually fall asleep. But as you watch the same series over and over you will realize that you are getting good at visualizing whole episodes in your head.
And when that happens, you'll find that your brain will start associating just thinking of the episodes with sleep time. And this will naturally lure you into sleep.
Play the same song over and over again until you fall asleep. the longer the song the better. You can turbo boost this strategy by using guided meditation. This does similar things to trick number 3.
moving on quickly
Focus on all the separate muscles of the body from the forehead down to the tip of your toes.
You do this by flexing and relaxing them until you fall asleep. If you are a beginner at this, I would suggest finding a tape or a track with someone guiding you through this rather than trying to do it by yourself in your head.
Trying to do it in your head might actually keep you awake when you are new at this. But once you get better at doing it, you can graduate to doing the exercise in your head.
Consistently following a solid routine before bedtime helps your brain know it's time to wind down for sleep. This works best if you do it regularly at the same time every day.
So maybe around 8:30 PM you start to dim the lights and turn off all your devices. Then you lie in bed and cover yourself warmly.
And before you know, you are sound asleep.
Magnesium helps to restore healthy levels of GABA which is a neurotransmitter that helps to promote sleep. You can get this over the counter.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally creates when it gets dark at night time. This helps you go into sleep mode.
Some people find that taking lots of melatonin to supplement what their body produces knocks them out. I would suggest getting guidance from your doctors for the best effect.
Putting yourself into a pitch-black room from early evening triggers your body to produce more melatonin. Some people go as far as using foil to cover the windows so no light can get in.
This is a good alternative to taking melatonin aurally. Do this and you'll soon find yourself sleeping in no time.
What is sleep restriction therapy?
This is a therapy where you restrict your sleep just as the name suggests. But do it ina specific way that encourages your body to naturally sleep longer and longer until you are sleeping a full 8 hours a night regularly.
To do this, you only stay in bed whilst you are asleep. So, if you are currently only sleeping two hours at night, as soon as you wake up, you get out of bed and stay out of bed the whole day until the next night. It is crucial that you take no naps.
As you do this, your body begins to naturally reset itself. And the result...
Your actual sleep hours starts to increase gradually until your sleep problems are gone for good.
Moving on to trick number 9
You know how when someone trapped in the snow eventually drops into deep sleep and possible death due to hyperthermia.
This trick copies something similar... You make yourself colder at night.
OBVIOUSLY NOT SO MUCH THAT YOU DIE!
But for example... you open all windows, switching off your heating and sitting up in your bed in pyjamas until you feel sleepy. Then jumping into bed to sleep.
This one is really strange because we all want to really cover up, warm up and get cosy. This might just be why you are not sleeping.
Now for the final tip...
Engage your brain in some intense, deep, pleasurable imagination.
You could imagine a game you enjoy playing. Perhaps football.
So, you imagine yourself dribbling. Doing some spectacular moves, scoring goals and experiencing the crowds clapping for you.
Or maybe you imagine yourself in a competition to determine who's going to fall asleep first.
And then imagine a commentator praising you. saying things like a look at that amazing strategy she's using... She's in a fetal position... look at that spectacular bed with state-of-the-art electric duvet covers...
So, the idea is to immerse yourself in the imagery in a way that moves you move away from the self-critical dialog.
I was around 16 when I had my very first experience of struggling to sleep. I couldn't sleep right through the whole night. I was thinking of telling one of my lady friends that I was interested in her. And this bugged me so heavily right through the night.
Yep, sounds silly now...
But imagine how something that simple could keep me awake all night... And you can understand why the bigger worries you may be having now... like the coronavirus pandemic that we're all or worrying about or number of other things that could weigh down on your head.
All these things can easily make you push you in a space where you will struggle to sleep.
So I encourage you to use any of these strategies above. Remember that you may need to combine them to find a solution that works perfectly for you.
Doing this will help you drop out of the negative self-critical thought spirals... And this will give your brain that much-needed space to turbo-boost you into sweet, sweet sleep.
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