We've all had those nights, you know the ones where you lay there tossing and turning slowly becoming more and more upset because you glance at the clock every 20 minutes only to see that you've now got 20 minutes less to sleep. The traditional advice is to count sheep. I'm not sure about you, but that never worked for me. But I have found a method that usually has me out for the night within a few minutes: Painting Numbers.
Things You Will NeedA comfortable bed and concentration.
Step 1How it works:
As you're laying there in bed, tossing and turning, get into your "comfort position." You know the one that you get into those "good" sleep nights. Close your eyes and count backwards from 10 to 1 slowly inhaling and exhaling once per number. This is to slow your breathing down and make sure that you're not to tense from not being able to fall asleep.
Step 2Next imagine you're standing in a large room and there's a 10 foot tall huge number in front of you. The number 1. It doesn't matter what the number is made of so long as it is detailed. For example, last night I imagined I was standing in front of a huge wooden #1.
Step 3Now imagine you're holding some type of painting or coloring device. (I prefer paint brushes, but it could be a Sharpie if that's your preference.) Now imagine you're coloring or painting the number. Detail is key. If you're having a hard time sleeping it's often a sign of stress or too much caffeine before sleep. This means that you're having a hard time clearing your mind. While monks may say to clear your mind you much think about nothing, I've found it easier to clear your mind by thinking of something mundane.
Now that you've got your number and paint brush and have starting painting, DON'T STOP. You'll find other things popping into your head, perhaps all sorts of random things. It doesn't matter. When you realize that you're thoughts are wandering, refocus and continue painting.
Make sure that you're being realistic about how long it's taking you to paint. And again make sure you can see every detail: the paint in the can, the excess paint dripping on the ground, your paint brush gliding over the wood grains. This is extremely important because it's what essentially shuts off your brain by crowding it out with thoughts of painting.
If you follow these steps, you may find yourself quickly falling asleep and waking up more satisfied instead of tossing and turning. Personally I've never made it to #2. I'm interested in hearing your experiences.