It’s the inability to go into the depths of that deeply magical and relaxing experience called Sleep.
After struggling for a couple of months, multiple times, and shuttling between miracle sleep vendors and many other so called solutions, spending time and money, 2 techniques have stood out as the true beacon of help. And brought me out of this.
Some basic understanding before we venture into the solutions
It is either the inability to fall asleep when you go to bed ( Mode A) or the inability to get back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night( Mode B)
What is Sleep?
Sleep is when the Mind in some form ‘retreats’ away from all thoughts and goes to its source.
So, as long as there are thoughts floating( could be in the form of a ‘what if’ worry, or a thought of some ‘work unfinished’ or some kind of anticipation or excitement) , the mind will be chasing them and you will be awake.
This may be known to many.
But here comes the twister.
In Insomnia, there’s a whole set of new thoughts that start hovering.
‘Will I be able to sleep tonight?’, ‘How to go to sleep now?’, ‘What will happen to my health if I don’t sleep’, ‘I haven’t slept for so many days’ and so on..Sounds familiar?
And in Mode B( when you wake up in the middle of the night): ‘Oh God, I have got up again.’ Then you see the clock. ‘Oh hell, its only 3 am’. ‘Tomorrow I have a presentation. What will happen if I don’t sleep?’ ..’Let me try and somehow sleep’…and so on and so on…and it becomes morning..and one more night without sleep!
What has happened here?
Without wanting to or even without knowing, the mind has through the night chased thoughts, though a different set of thoughts and all anxiety creating thoughts. So by definition, there can be no sleep as the mind has been kept super active. With absolutely no chance of ‘retreating’ to its source. And the result is obvious. Through the process of ‘trying’ to sleep you have the kept the mind ‘active’ without realizing. So No sleep. And loads of anxiety.
So what should one do:
These are One hundred percent proven techniques, researched through many scholars. These may not work immediately on day 1 or day 2 or day 3. But Persist. They will certainly certainly work for sure.
Come what may, STOP seeing the clock: Especially if you wake up in the night. Just make a DECISION. ‘Whatever happens, I will not see the clock’. Keep an alarm for a particular time of your requirement, maybe 5.30 am or 6 am or whatever.
But RESIST the Temptation to see the clock. This is Crucial. Because seeing the clock triggers thoughts which will race the mind away.
Believe me, this in itself will cut 50% of the problem.
The problem is not so much about ‘Not sleeping’. The real problem is ‘worrying that you are not sleeping’. Understanding this is the key.
The mind is such an animal that to make it ‘Retreat’ to go to its source, it has to be fed with an uninteresting and boring meal of thoughts. And we all know, whatever is repetitive is ‘boring’. That’s why in the olden days there was the saying of count the stars( since people had the luxury of sleeping with open skies!) or count the sheep etc.
So here’s what you do.
This technique is so so simple that it’s scary. But it is unimaginably effective. And has helped me and so many many people.
Here it goes:
Just simply Focus your mind on your breath.
Start counting the breaths as ‘In and Out’ as 1. And again ‘In and Out’ as 2. And again ‘In and Out’ as 3. You don’t have to control or regulate the breath. Just count as is.
Before you know, the mind is back to ’chasing’ some ‘what if’ worry thought or something else. No problem. Just recognise the mind has ‘wandered’; and bring it back to counting. Again it will wander. Again bring it back and start counting. And keep doing this.
Before you know, you would have slumbered off, only to wake up to the sound of the alarm:):)
Like I said this may not work on day 1 or 2 or 3. But please keep at it. Doggedly. It will work.
And here’s the Bonus:
Even on day 1, when it may not have worked, you will not get up ‘feeling agitated’ and ‘feeling tired’. You will get up, maybe not having slept, but feeling totally fine.
Because, It’s not the lack of sleep that tires or creates anxiety. It’s the worrying that you are not able to sleep that’s the cause of all the problems.
Be at it. Soon, very soon, you will be dreaming away in the best of green fields with cool fresh breeze blowing on your face.
As a corollary, as you go through the day, DO NOT pay attention to these thoughts of ‘what happens if I don’t sleep tonight too?’ or ‘I have to somehow sleep early today’ or..or… Just let these thoughts come. But simply keep your mind on doing what you have to do OR even during the day, take 10 mins off and practice the Breath Mediation as described above.
Sleep is just a breath away.
In case you need further inputs or have any comments, please mail on
Elevating Minds. Energising Brands