Warning: This is probably the weirdest post I’ve ever written. However, it also includes some of most valuable information I know and use on a regular basis. (I also love that I can write about something as random as sleep and it works since it fits under my overarching theme.) Anyway, here we go.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble falling asleep.
My mom used to sing me songs. My dad would tell me not to worry about actually falling asleep, but to just “close my eyes and rest.” Then he’d sit in the hallway outside my room and study his Scrabble words till I nodded off.
Over the years, I’ve developed my own tricks for falling asleep.
Why is Sleep Hacking Relevant for Multipotentialites?
Anyone can have trouble falling asleep. My theory is that it comes from the inability to get out of your own head and make the “mind-body” shift. In other words, your physiological instinct to sleep can’t take over as long as your conscious mind is going at it. So anyone with a propensity to overthink or get lost in their head will probably have a hard time falling asleep.
While this can be an issue for anyone, I’ve noticed that my inability to fall asleep is now often directly linked to my multipotentiality.
The restless nights seem to happen more when I’m either worrying about all the projects on my plate or I’m excited about my projects and want to stay up brainstorming.
Although the second situation is far more pleasant, they’re both a problem. You can’t function properly and work on all those fabulous projects when you’re sleep deprived.
Psychological Hacks for Falling Asleep
These tricks are going to sound pretty weird. They’re not the standard “drink warm milk and don’t exercise before bed” advice you see everywhere. I can’t explain why they work– I think it probably has to do with changing your focus from your internal voice to a more “sensory” place.
Not all of these hacks work for me every time, but I find that it’s a good little arsenal to draw from. Usually I’ll run through them and there’s one that will work. Feel free to tweak and adapt as desired.
1. Close your eyes and go cross-eyed
I know this sounds ridiculous, but for some reason if you close your eyes and focus on the spot where the bridge of your nose would be, it makes you sleepy. I often pretend like there’s a vortex in that spot, like the worm hole in Donnie Darko (only instead of drawing me into the future, it’s drawing me into sleep land).
2. Tell your thoughts to shut up
This trick works really well if you’re hearing a lot of voices to the tune of: “I should do this on that project,” or “I need to reply to that email,” or “oh man, I should write a book about that!” Hell, this trick works if you’ve got a song stuck in your head that won’t stop playing!
You simply cut the voice. Every time a thought pops into your head, as soon as you become aware of it, silence it. Just say “NO” to the thought. Yell “no” in your head. Drown it out. Shut it down. Make it stop.
When the thought comes back, do it again. Pretend you’re holding got a machete and every time a thought pops up, you chop off its head. (lol sorry, that was a violent image. It’s accurate though…)
You need to be strong. Stronger than your thoughts that are taking over and pulling you away from your primal drive to sleep.
3. Pretend you can’t move your body and/or are floating
Pretend you can’t move your limbs and have no choice but to lie perfectly still. This gets you to focus on the way your body feels instead of the thoughts in your head. It’s similar to a hypnotist saying “feel your body getting heavy.”
Alternatively, imagine you are floating above your bed and picture how the room looks from that angle.
The Faster You Nip this in the Bud, the Easier Falling Asleep will Be
I’ve noticed that thinking is somewhat addictive at night– especially daydreaming. For some reason there’s something really appealing about letting your imagination run wild at bedtime. But the longer you allow this brain activity to go on, the harder it will be to shut it off.
The risk is that your thoughts won’t stop and they’ll just run through your entire night. This is the worst. You end up in this half-asleep, half-awake state and feel completely unrested in the morning.
The sooner you can shut down your conscious mind upon lying down for bed, the easier it will be for sleep to come.
Got Any Tips for Falling Asleep?
What are some of your sleep hacks? Share them in the comments, no matter how weird they are.