I’m not about to downplay insomnia. Not being able to sleep is rough. If affects every part of your body and it degrades your mental performance.
On top of that, it doesn’t feel great.
It’s a good idea to trial techniques to help you get a good night’s sleep. You’ve probably heard all the advice before – adjusting your caffeine intake, no late night meals, avoiding devices with screens, eliminating alcohol…
This should be your priority.
In the meantime, you can use insomnia to your advantage. Think of it as taking sleeplessness out for one last spin.
It’s not hanging around but, before it goes, make it pay you back for what it owes.
With enough creativity, any problem can become a resource. We don’t see things that way because big enough problems shut down creativity.
But when you think about a common complaint with self-hypnosis and meditation, it becomes obvious.
Many people fall asleep during these practices.
They struggle to stay awake.
That sounds like a good problem to have, right?
So what if you used your nighttime as a chance to calmly explore your own mind? Either you’ll stay focused and on task, or you’ll drift off to sleep.
Either way, you win.
It’s a funny thing, the way people fall asleep during meditation and self-hypnosis. This still happens to me when I’m tired enough.
It seems like, some days, the only thing keeping you conscious is your internal chatter.
If you’re tired, then your brain wants to rest and recharge. That’s not always an option. If it’s daytime, the sun is up and adult responsibilities beckon, then you can’t lie about.
So you get up, grit your teeth and get through your tasks.
All the while, your mind is patiently waiting for the chance to pull you into sleep.
As long as you keep working, you’re probably fine. But as soon as your mind realises there’s nothing going on…
This is why people crash. They feel fine until they sit on the couch, then a wave of fatigue hits them.
It’s also the cause of a lot of insomnia. Some people don’t switch off their internal chatter. Even at the end of the day, their mind keeps thinking, processing, reflecting, jumping, dancing… you name it.
Even if you’re lying still, your brain still thinks it’s work time. After all, you’re still thinking, aren’t you?
Dial down your thoughts and it creates room for sleep.
If you want to calm your mind and stay awake, the answer is to focus. Gently place your attention on your breathing. Keep it calm and relaxed – there’s no point in adding struggles here.
But if you’re curled up in bed and it’s time to sleep, do whatever you need to do to calmly quiet your thinking.
You can meditate and regulate your focus. It’s easier than it sounds to hold your attention even as you drift off.
Or you can hypnotise yourself and let go of your thoughts.