How To Fall Asleep

People who meditate often have trouble staying awake. You can turn their problem into your solution for insomnia.

  1. Lay on your back with your hands clasped on your chest, or in a comfortable position.
  2. Take several deep breaths through your nose and release them.
  3. Mentally count down from 50 to 20 on each inhale and exhale. On 50, exhale. On 49, inhale. On 48, exhale…and continue this pattern until you reach 20.
  4. From 20 to 1, count only each exhale.
  5. Now follow each inhalation and exhalation attentively. Notice the pause at the end of each exhalation. Notice how the temperature of the air feels different on an inhale than on an exhale.
  6. Acknowledge distractions. If you hear a sound, don’t worry – just notice that you are hearing a sound; you might mentally take note of this process by repeating silently to yourself, “hearing, hearing”. If you notice a thought has appeared in your mind, just watch it until it fades away; mentally take note of this process by repeating silently to yourself, “thinking, thinking”. Or you could be more specific – “remembering, remembering” or “planning, planning”, or even “worrying, worrying”. In any case, do not try to suppress the thought, but rather just step back and notice it until it disappears and then return your attention to following your in-and-out breaths. If bodily sensations like itching or twitching or pain occur, just notice them also until they dissipate, and once again return your attention to following your breathing.
  7. When you feel drowsy enough, adjust your body to your normal sleeping position while continuing to follow your breathing and let yourself fall asleep. If it seems to be taking a long time, remember that following your breath in this way is just as restful, if not more so, than sleeping itself.

Dr. Stewart A. Denenberg
 

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