Insomnia is a condition that involves finding it difficult falling or staying asleep. It is a common health problem that can become very distressing and upsetting for some people. This article presents a handful of psychological techniques and strategies to help you overcome insomnia.
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Focus on how to fall asleep
Usually the more pressure that you put on yourself to fall asleep the harder it becomes.
Arguably, this is because thinking about sleeping does not tell you how to fall asleep. Sleeping, like many things in life, is an outcome that is composed of a set of processes that precede it.
Focusing on the outcome will not help you get to sleep but uncovering and executing the processes behind it will.
Therefore by adopting a mindset that is orientated towards executing the processes behind the outcome of falling asleep, the desired effect naturally follows.
Compose a flow chart to uncover the relevant processes that create the outcome of falling asleep.
Start from the outcome and work backwards by asking yourself the question: How do I achieve this at each level, until you can go no further:
Outcome: Fall Asleep
By working backwards from the outcome, the following processes are extracted:
Process 1: Close your eyes
Process 2: Deep slow breathing
Process 3: Loosen muscles
Process 4: Create a peaceful internal image
Therefore if you want to fall asleep, engage in the key processes that create the outcome of falling asleep, rather than focusing on the outcome itself.
In terms of your internal dialogue instead of saying to yourself "I must get to sleep", you should saying things like "I must slow my breathing down", "I must feed my mind with thoughts that relax me" and so on.
Affecting positive change can only happen when your focus is orientated towards the processes and not the outcome of your desired goal.
An out of body experience
Within the art of falling asleep is the ability to lose yourself and drift off into the dark recesses of your unconscious mind. One way to aid this process is to use your imagination to mentally drift out of your body.
Imagine that you are viewing yourself from a distance, noticing yourself fall asleep. This will lead your mind and your body to act in accordance with your internal visualisation.
I like to call this remote mind programming, a highly effective exercise for insomniacs.
The power of your imagination is limitless!