So often my technique to fall asleep has been to focus my mind on the fantastical. Stimulate my imagination a bit, like what if I was a dwarf in a fantasy universe. This tends to focus my thoughts inwards and naturally segues into sound sleeping. Letting my mind wander only becomes an issue when it's anchored to real life.
And then noises wake me up all night, and I get bad sleep. :3
I sometimes speculate that your brain comes up with absure ideas all the time, and a "reality checker" would dismiss those ideas without you realising it when you're awake? Perhaps the absurd thoughts come out only when you're tired (checker running low energy) or falling asleep? May be some types of psychological dieases are due to this checker not working properly?
It also helps me to realise when I'm unable to fall asleep at all. If I can't visually imaging what happens in my fantasy world I know my mind is to busy and I'm better of reading a book for 10 minutes and try again instead of forcing myself to sleep (which never works)
I guess it is the introspection part that concentrates the mind on something totally frivolous and non-productive that allows you to just drop off.
Whatever the root-cause, usually it is a matter of just rolling over, shutting my eyes, then I get maybe 30-90 seconds of make-believe time and I am off and asleep. Probably works about 90-95% of the time - there are off days where I really cant sleep and now I just get up and do something instead.
Doesn't seem to work on planes though! :(
I have to hold myself as perfectly still as possible, not scratching any itches that might come up, or letting anything else cause me to move a muscle. Or, if I do have to move, get it over quickly and then go back to being still.
After a long enough time, I can sometimes notice that I have lost awareness of where certain parts of my body are located. I know that I still have an arm, but it’s not tingling or anything and I don’t have a somatic sense of where it is. Same for other parts of my body. Sometimes I have this awareness multiple times in a night, and it’s like someone is slowly dimming the lights on all those circuits until they finally extinguish, one by one.
By the time I was in high school, I discovered Dungeons & Dragons, and it was easier for me to fall asleep by imagining what my favorite characters would do in various scenarios. And over thirty years later, I continue to use that same basic concept — different RPG characters now, but the same concept.
One of the best things I discovered recently is the “Stillness Moves You” class that my friend Ariana Armistead taught a few years ago. She later developed that into the “InStill Movement” method (see http://instillmovement.com). It is simultaneously the most relaxing AND the most energizing thing I have ever done in my life.
I do this from time to time as an act of rebellion against the part of me that takes life too seriously. The speech that I give myself goes something like this: "You have this amazing mind that is capable of creating entire worlds. But you've been spending all of your time and energy worrying about stuff. Let's have some fun for a while and practice strengthening our imagination."
The other approach I take is to listen to a podcast that has an even emotional flow (99% invisible is a great one).
The common thread in all these approaches is that they help me stop thinking about the real issues in my life. It's easy to run a groove in your mind thinking about some very real problem you're dealing with and that makes it hard to fall asleep.
It's hard to remember of an example right now because this all happens in some layer of subconsciousness and evaporates as soon as you fall asleep/wake up but it's something like "oh I'm just here smelling this colour and it kind of tastes like cinnamon."
Actually probably even more abstract than that, but that's the best I could do on short notice while fully awake.
1. Find a good place to nap. Use the same place every day. I used to nap under my desk on a lazy bag at my last job.
2. Quickly find a comfortable position. Quickly fix everything that bothers you (like watch on your wrist or anything else that's making you uncomfortable).
3. Start breathing from your stomach - not your upper torso. Your stomach should raise up and down, not your upper torso.
4. Relax your whole body. In the beginning, start by relaxing one by one region. First your toes. Then your lower leg, then your upper leg. Then the other leg... Until you relax your whole body. It should feel as your mind is separate from your body. Like it could go out of it. Your body should be completely numb. Later, as you progress, you will be able to relax your whole body with a few breaths. As if some force flows from your stomach and removes spasm from your body as you breath out.
5. Start removing thoughts from your brain. As you start thinking about something, just stop. Another thought comes in. Kill it. Just kill thoughts. You can think only about your breathing. Nothing else.
That's it. With these steps, I'm able to feel a sleep in just a few moments. I use that all the time.
Bonus: I have a special position that I "developed" that mitigates office sounds. I nap on my back, slightly turned on left side. I put my left ear on the pillow or a lazy bag. I put my right hand over my right ear and over my head. That way, a pillow isolates my left ear, while my right biceps isolates my right ear from sounds. I found this to be very effective.
Good luck napping.
If only it was this easy!! It almost feels like a variation of "start outlining the owl... now when you have the outline, just draw the rest of the owl". :-)
She told me that she wasn't able to just stop thinking. She went to sleep by distracting herself with a book, TV, or tablet. Her approach was to do that restful activity until the intense thoughts of the past day and plans for tomorrow dropped off and were replaced with sudoku numbers or the TV program that were calm enough to sleep, or did those things from midnight until 3-5am when she was so exhausted she couldn't think about anything anymore and just slept for a couple hours.
The insomnia got really bad after our first kid. She tried changing diets, cutting out blue lights with tablet apps or bulbs for reading that were so warm they were basically orange-red, changing her soda habit to eliminate caffeine after noon and food after 6pm, changed mattresses and pillows, changed bedroom temperatures, blankets, and sleepwear, took melatonin, benadryl, and other sleep aids, ran white noise and fans...it didn't work.
But eventually (after seeing a doctor) the root cause was isolated to that reading/TV/tablet habit. It doesn't help. What you have to do to fall asleep per this article, the parent comment, and my wife's doctor, is to stop thinking. Meditative breathing exercises were eventually the solution we reached, but it all basically amounts to training your brain to stop thinking thoughts that aren't about your going-to-sleep process. The process, not the annoyance of your inability to sleep and the tiredness you'll feel in the morning and how long has it been and what is that clicking sound and did I forget to lock the doors and I feel a little thirsty but I don't want to have to pee. Kill the errant thoughts, go to sleep.
Instead I try to focus on something, e.g. my breath entering and existing my nose or lungs. Then, as thoughts arise I simply acknowledge them and 'let them go' returning my focus back to my breath.
It's perhaps a subtle distinction but it works much better for me than thinking about thoughts as a game of whack-a-mole.
So, when I close my eyes I can "see" things. I don't know if it's light coming trough my lids or blood vessels or just my mind's eye. I don't know. But what I'll do as a last resource when I have trouble sleeping is to pay full attention to those things and find patterns in them. I even say out loud in my mind like: "oh there's a dog", "a canoe", "a cigarrette".
Then I'm dreaming in no time.
I told my wife and she says that she sees nothing when she close her eyes so, maybe this won't work for everybody.
Years later I realized that I could make them appear at-will by wiggling my eyes around (a la REM), and that lead me to conclude that it's likely my overly-long (i'm severely myopic) eyeballs physically stimulating my optic nerves.
I don't notice it as much lately, and I avoid doing it on purpose, in case it's not healthy.
I prefer the "Mindfulness" method of this technique. It does not involve "killing" the thoughts that pop into your head, but rather acknowledging that these thoughts have distracted you from your breathing, being okay with that, and simply returning to the breath. The distracting thoughts will come back, and that is okay. Just return to recognizing the different parts of your breathing: the points between inhaling and exhaling, the feeling of your abdomen rising/falling.
Good luck biking
Perhaps the missing instruction is:
> Practice until the desired effect happens regularly, then continue to practice.
I had a hard time sleeping just last night. I couldn't stop thinking about things - I even had to eventually google the chemical composition of Sodium Bicarbonate, and of course what exactly Bicarbonate was...then of course that led to questions on Sodium Bicarbonate vs Sodium Chloride...it's a never ending process for me sometimes at night.
I will certainly try this though.
There are many good guided audio meditation available these days as well.
Have you experimented with any kind of ear plugs? I have really good hearing which makes falling asleep stressful if the house isn't otherwise quiet, even with white noise.
I'd love to find a good set of ear plugs or ear muffs or something that can be worn to sleep. Like a sleep mask, but for your ears.
But the biggest single device that has helped me more than anything is my CPAP.
If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, it would be a very good idea to have a sleep study done to see if this isn’t a problem that could be at least partly solved with the right equipment.
The CPAP is a life-changer, at least for me.
You won't really appreciate the benefits of ADD until you read things like these.
So I found a foolproof solution: Relax all my facial muscles and imagine an empty, black (literally #000) void in my mind's eye.
The physical cue is to be cognizant of your eyes; every time my eyes began to squint, I know it was because my mind was wandering off. I'd reset my closed eyes to be as loose (imagine a very bored expression) as possible and revert back to my black space. As long as I kept fighting the temptation for my mind to wander, and maintain loose eyes, I fell asleep. All anecdotal of course, but I did use this just recently at burning man while soundcamps blasted my tent, and it's nice to see this method validated in this article.
Seriously, you'll retain heat better with a dark, matte finish on your dome, and you'll blind me less often. In any case, you might also want to reconsider your choice of moons, as yours seems a bit deep into the radiation belts. Out here we orbit much more slowly, peacefully, and we're far from the radiation.
No, they won't. There's a reason a perfect radiator is known as a "black body". Emissivity (a coefficient that describes the degree to which an object radiates, compared to a black body) is the exact inverse of reflectivity. That's why space blankets are shiny.
Of course, dark objects also absorb more heat, so depending on how much radiation you're getting from the sun, a black roof might result in a warmer home. But it won't be because it's retaining heat.
It's really hard to describe it but here is a simplified example.
Tree -> zoom into the leaves which are actually a field of grass -> there is a small pond -> pond is now growing -> I see a sky now -> random colors and shapes are showing up... And it keeps on going and I don't even notice when I fall asleep.
I think of black, but I make it a little more interesting as the black of deep space.
Like meditation, any thoughts that come in, and I focus back on the black.
Generally, I don't even need to do this - I tend to fall asleep pretty fast.
Yes, it is a form of mindfulness.
> Stay still and focus your mind on nothingness
"Nothingness" is the most difficult way to meditate. Its often seen as the way one meditates by people who are ignorant about meditation and mindfulness.
Generally, there is one focus point. This could be sounds, it could be breathing, it could be visualisations, it could be focusing on walking. It could even be multiple focus points in one session (shifting the focus point throughout the session). Which is pretty much what a body scan does; it focusses on different body parts throughout the session.
Also, it is far easier to do guided meditation, and the goal of meditation is to relax and become focussed; not necessarily to fall asleep. Though, if you are tired, that might very well be a byproduct.
If you start with meditation, it is normal that you're not very good at it. It takes time, practice, and effort. In that sense it is actually hard work; not 'relaxing'.
> Relax all my facial muscles
Normal procedure to relax your muscles at the start and during meditation (if you have to reset).
> and imagine an empty, black (literally #000) void in my mind's eye.
This is one of the many visualisation techniques. Other examples are included in the article's URL.
I like this :) I think of it as furious concentration on stillness.
Beginner meditators often think they're not cut out for meditation because their minds are full of noise during meditation. This is normal.
The usual progression is: observing thoughts to gain insight ("hey, I'm thinking lots of angry thoughts", "why do I keep thinking about my boss?"); then focusing on one thing only, an anchor, like breathing; finally, focusing on nothing.
For me, successfully focusing on nothing happens occasionally, and only a moment at a time.
I love the feeling though - it feels like the top of my head has come off and my brain's turned into hamburger meat.
I know this might not sound desirable :) But for me it felt like my mind was a clenched fist that finally relaxed.
- Lie down on the back, in a way that feels like you can release body tension in limbs, neck, and back.
- Take a couple deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling fully. Then, focus on your natural breath: breathe normally for about a minute; don't try to control its rhythm, rather observe it (is it slow? fast? deep? shallow?) and acknowledge it without judgement, focusing on the flow of air in your lungs or throat, or the area in your chest that goes up and down with each breath (whichever is easier for you).
- Focus on body contact with the bed. Feel the weight of the different parts of your body pushing down against the mattress.
- Focus on your feet, and relax just this part by consciously observing how it feels (is it tense? at ease? hot? cold? restless? it doesn't matter, just notice it) and acknowledging it, not combating it. Then consciously think "ok, I'm turning that part off".
- Move gradually upper (lower legs, thigh, and so on), repeating the "observe, acknowledge, turn it off" process, until you reach your head.
- If you're not asleep at that point, focus on the breath again and take note and acknowledge the difference from when you started. Then proceed with the body again.
- if you mind wanders off at any point from your body, observe and acknowledge the thought you just had, then focus on a couple breaths again as previously described, and simply resume where you left off.
The key is being observing, not judgemental about your state (whatever it currently is), realising that thinking "I shall sleep" or "I shall relax" only makes you more aware of you not sleeping, and more tense, thus isn't going to go anywhere.
It works for me, particularly when trying to nap. In the evening I prefer to listen to podcasts. As dzhiurgis mentioned, finding the right podcast makes a big difference. I look for podcasts where are interesting enough to keep listing, but not interesting enough to keep me awake. Usually podcasts with 5-15 minute segments are best. I like The History of English podcast [podcast 1] and The Naked Scientists [podcast 2].
[Aphantasia 176 comments on a fb hosted article] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11554894
[Aphantasia comment by blakeross to a BBC link ] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054
[podcast 1] http://historyofenglishpodcast.com/
I do the same, but sometimes - when your mind is racing, full of thoughts - this can be hard. I found if I have an equivalent to the black void, which is more interesting, then I don't have to have this fight. Sleep comes easily.
I am fascinated by black holes. So I imagine flying close to the center of the Milky Way, nearing the black hole. Might be nerdy, but it works fine for me.
Not foolproof though; sometimes your thoughts break through and stop the process. So you start again...
Must try this though - my wife is often asleep in a minute or so while I take tens of minutes. I wonder how much using mobile devices in bed at night has affected sleep patterns.
Smartphones are the devil.
Why the sudden claimed sensitivity to blue light at night? Correlated to the ubiquity of indoors electrical lighting mimicking the colour of candlelight perhaps?
Or perhaps Westerners aren't going to bed physically tired after a day of sedentary work?
Two solutions to this - get a standalone alarm clock, or set up an alarm to repeat on weekdays so you don't have to do it every evening.
That's the real killer for me. I'm not military, but I've managed to somehow get pretty good at sleeping pretty much anywhere. Sleeping on planes or in departure lounges or really anywhere isn't an issue for me, although maybe a steam catapult might keep me up. I think that the hundreds of nights I've slept on couches and backpackers hostels (as well as overnight buses and car trips) have acclimatised me to sleeping in noisy, moving, well lit environments.
I think it's just something that you just get used to. All through South East Asia you'll see people sleeping in the most improbably places, on parked motorbikes, park benches, even in the middle of a busy roundabout in Vietnam. South East Asian people seem to just love sleeping everywhere they can.
But I can only sleep if there aren't things biting at the back of my mind. If something's bothering me (relationships, work, etc.), it doesn't matter how perfect my sleeping environment is, I won't be able to get to sleep for hours. My mind is sleep's worst enemy.
It is a little different for officers. They (we) do sometimes stay up worrying about longer-term tasks. I find sleep far easier when I'm not the one in charge.
On that note: time to sleep. Got to get up at 0345 for an 0530 meeting.
This is key. Aboard a ship I was able to nap "on command" no matter the time of day or my surroundings. No mental tricks necessary.
Step 2 is to get permission to fall asleep.
However, the number of people who have read a book published in 1981 has no bearing on the validity of the book as a source.
Try to breath in through one nose hole and breath out through the other. This may sound stupid, but there are two reasons why this works:
1. You focus on doing something else than thinking about stuff that worries you.
2. While doing this your eyes move from left to right. You might remember what hypnotists do: They swing a pendulum from left to right which you have to follow. This eye movement from left to right activates your subconscious part of the brain. I don't know or remember what exactly that does but everytime I use this technique and wake up the next morning I don't remember doing anything after this. Which means I fell asleep.
wait can everyone consciously do this? i can't
But if you try to do it, you will concentrate on each nostril in turn and little else, in synchronisation with your breathing, which leads to the kind of mild auto-hypnosis that the GP is talking about.
" Throughout the day, they each take breaks in a process of alternating congestion and decongestion called the nasal cycle. At a given moment, if you're breathing through your nose, the lion’s share of the air is going in and out of one nostril, with a much smaller amount passing through the other. Every few hours, your autonomic nervous system, which takes care of your heart rate, digestion and other things you don’t consciously control, switches things up and your other nostril does all the heavy lifting for a little while. The opening and closing of the two passages is done by swelling and deflating erectile tissue - the same stuff that’s at work when your reproductive organs are aroused - up in your nose."
Given that pretty much everything in the human body is linked to the nervous system in some manner, it's possible that there might not be a good reason to expect any kind of special feedback loop here.
The idea being that even though I'm "conscious" of not being asleep my body is still getting the benefit of rest.
It doesn't help completely all the time but it certainly takes the edge off.
But yeah. Sure. Warm baths, camomile tea and mindfulness...
I still remember my dad's voice as he asked you to imagine you're in an empty field, with a clear sky, nothing at all. Then imagine the "cosmic energy" entering your body through your head. Imagine the energy making its way down, slowly through the length of your body as it clears your thoughts and relaxes your muscles - first your face, then your neck, your shoulders, arms, and so on. As an observer, I'd notice that more than 90% of the class would be in a deep sleep before the end. And it was a big class with some 100-150 people in it.
Just interesting that this "military" technique is so similar (and familiar to me)!
I generally fall asleep within first few minutes of lying down after this meditation.
The above is my personally tested and daily practiced method. You can also try Yoga Nidra guided meditation audio which has helped people in relaxing the mind before sleep. Go here http://www.swamij.com/Meditations.htm
I have a lot of pain and am unable to dissociate from it enough to sleep until I’m completely exhausted which several nights a week meant no sleep or just a few hours. These tinctures along with another pain medication (extremely low dose naltrexone, no side effects except better sleep for me) allow me to get a very good nights sleep 80-90% of the time which was a significant improvement in quality of life.
Give it a try if you are having no luck elsewhere!
Additionally, I don't work or talk or message 1 hour before bedtime.
Additionally, I implemented all advice from CBT-I. It took few months to develop a habit, and I'm feeling better every day now.
What has worked well for me is to deliberately focus my mind on simple, pleasant topics instead of negative, annoying ones. That time at work when I solved a difficult problem. Dream vacation plans. The great view at the end of a long hike.
I'm aware this may not be easy (or possible) for everyone to do.
In my experience if you do this and you can sleep (like your not full of caffeine or something) you will.
From then on, I have just let go. I let my mind wander wherever it wants to go. And without fail, sleep always catches up within 10-15 minutes.
Of course, it helps if you are tired from the days work and haven't had a very heavy dinner.
This caught on after being published on the "Art of Manliness" blog. It seems that there is no factual evidence that this study took place.
We're now on baby no.2 and I can fall asleep in a few minutes any time from 6pm on.
Just close my eyes and expect sleep and it comes.
10 minute power naps are great.
The ability to fall asleep quickly was forced on me by baby no.1, being woken up multiple times per night and having to fall asleep quickly was a matter of what felt like survival.
I'm sure military training causes the same exhaustion and the body learns that it needs to be able to sleep when it can.
I'm also sure that sleeping to 12 or 1 on the weekends to recover is detrimental, getting to sleep on a Sunday night was the worst as would not be tired but it would start the week on a the wrong foot.
Any other parents in here have the same experience?
My SO will accidentally wake me up regularly, even have words with me, and then i'll be gone again in 10 seconds. I never remember any of these.
I can also stay up for way too long without feeling much discomfort.
> The secret is detailed in the book Relax and Win: Championship Performance, which although first published in 1981
I guess 37 years is "just" for the author.
But for fighter pilots and such, who are sometimes on call 24/7, the use of "go pills" (formerly methamphetamine, and now modafinil) and "no-go pills" (such as zaleplon and zolpidem) is quite common. But then, no-go pills aren't so great, because it takes hours for effects to wear off. So modafinil plus relaxation training seems like a great solution. I can say from personal experience that modafinil doesn't prevent sleep.
These effects on sleep are highly dependent on genetics. They couldn't test this stuff much longer than a decade ago.
The difference is large enough that it could potentially improve certain stages of sleep in some individuals. Contrast to caffiene which is detrimental to sleep quality across the board.
I prefer to count 10 slow breaths as a way to clear my mind. I get my body comfortable similar to how the article describes, then I take 10 long slow breaths while focusing only on what number breath I'm on. That seems to be the right amount to knock my internal monologue off of whatever it's been ruminating on so I can fall asleep. Sometimes I don't even make it to 10 -- which is remarkable after a lifetime of insomnia.
That site has less sensationalism (not calling it secret for a start, yuck) and less ad crap.
When I started caring about sleep (instead of a neverending jetlag lifestyle) I started to sense sleep cycles more vividly, and didn't delay going to bed, and instead of worrying I was just rushing to relax and enjoy highly probable deep and long sleep.
Imagine yourself chanting "don't think" in your head while your mind creates a room, a wooden chair for you to sit on, shadows, light, a window, and the sky and the sea is upside-down outside the window, and walking on the sky is considered normal in this world. Normally I'd be falling asleep in that bizarre world but I kept chanting "don't think" instead. Absolutely useless.
Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw and the muscles around the eyes
Drop your shoulders as far down as they’ll go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time
Breathe out, relaxing your chest followed by your legs, starting from the thighs and working down
You should then spend 10 seconds trying to clear your mind before thinking about one of the three following
* You’re lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but a clear blue sky above you
* You’re lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room
* You say “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself over and over for about 10 seconds.
I learned this using techniques you can do to have lucid dreams. When your concentration is not the best one in the day, the result is sleep.
Mods might change the link, for better reader experience and respect for the more-original bloggers.
1. If any of your muscles are tensed, recognize it and untense them!
2. Purge all distracting thoughts. The easiest way to do this is imagine that you're unburdened by human concerns. Imagine that you're an immortal being floating through space, or sinking into the ocean, or floating on it.
Second, sometimes I'll read math and/or nonfiction books. Those are never too exciting like fiction, so I end up falling asleep fairly consistently
Third, not doing work or using phone in bed.
Fourth - associating different postures with different conditional training. When I'm sitting or standing I'm almost always doing something productive. I sleep on my left side, so this is the cue to tell my brain to go to bed. I strictly enforce these disciplines, and will have never have my phone out when in this sleeping position
Fifth, using flux to have warmer color temps / less blue light on monitors before going to bed
Sixth, bedjet and bodypillow do wonders on aiding in sleep
Seventh, working out every 3 days or less helps me fall asleep. When I hit an awful sleep cycle, I do a 40 minute run that day to reset my body fatigue.
This is much harder to do, it requires more concentration and for that reason it works faster and more reliably.
Do lots of hard physical labor, and get inadequate sleep at night.
I know this is crazy, but it works! Try it!
Also podcasts work amazingly well, just make aure they are around 10 minutes long.
In the military, especially at operational tempos (eg. during conflicts), you're constantly doing stuff (except when you're not and you're cat-napping on a pile of duffel bags or other equipment) and you're normally sleep-deprived.
This of course helps you fall asleep.
For me, none of the imagination techniques work, but mindfulness meditation - simply focusing on my breathing - does the trick.
In the episode, Big Bird (I think) would say goodnight to each of his body parts...so "Goodnight toes, goodnight foot, goodnight leg, goodnight knees" and so on.
I think what ends up happening as you say goodnight to each body part, you subconsciously "relax" them, so to speak. And by the time you get to your upper torso...you're pretty much drowsy enough to nod off.
I do this pretty much every night. Instead of 10 seconds I just do it until my thoughts start getting weird and not making sense. Usually when that’s happening I’m starting to fall asleep.
> Here’s how to do it:
1. Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw and the muscles around the eyes
2. Drop your shoulders as far down as they’ll go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time
3. Breathe out, relaxing your chest followed by your legs, starting from the thighs and working down
4. You should then spend 10 seconds trying to clear your mind before thinking about one of the three following images:
> The technique is said to work for 96 per cent of people after six weeks of practice.
anyway my secret is just to close my eyes and not think about anything but looking deeper into the darkness and breathing slowly.
In Humvees, in the dirt, on a stack of rifles...
THe common ingredient is:
* an actual EFFORT and DISCIPLINE, ie. a will, a decision, a commitment to stop following the monkey mind going on about tomorrow and all its good/bad things, and "me" and everything about me.
* attention is on the body, the body has always been a key focal point to calm the mind in most meditation techniques (sometime it's external like watching a candle.. but we want to fall asleep here)
* it takes some practice, particularly that in bed and lying down, the mind will more easily lose focus.. this is why most meditation practices take place in the classic sitting posture
I use Vipassana, very similar:
- I lie down on my BACK.. I think it's helpful to have a "cue" to signal the commitement. Usually I don't fall asleep on my back but when I feel more relaxed and quiet eventually I roll to the side and fall asleep not long after
- Move attention from head to toes, it can help to keep ahold of the mind, to mentally label "head (or break it down: forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, ...) , neck, shoulder girdle, upper chest, solar plexus, tummy, waist, upper thighs, knees, " (etc)
Typically I'll do 2-3 passes up > down and back up.
When putting to much strain, it can keep you awake.
But here is a KEY thing that this article doesn't mention and you may verify by yourself over time.
When I started, I was worried that staying awake I would lose sleep. Of course this gets into a spiral, since we're trying to relax the mind.
However over time you realize, if you have some energy left and you don't fall asleep, maybe you woke up too late today. That's OK. You'll find out that if you COMPLETELY let go of any control of the body, try to be completely STILL.. you'll notice that it does actually rest the body to some extent. So if somehow you don't fall asleep you can just keep doing this technique for 30 min, even an hour. Then maybe the clock says only 6 hours left, and next day you'll find you're doing fine, not yawning, like you had your 7 hours of sleep.
So the key here, once subtler point those techniques don't talk about, is that if you make an effort to completely relax control of the body, you do get rest even as you are still awake and aware.
One issue you can run into when trying to be completely and entirely still and release total control of the body is that you can get "fidgeting legs" syndrome or whatever it's called. People believe this is a problem and go to the doctor for it. While it's symptomatic of something going in the body, maybe it's not a problem. It's actually interesting... if you can stay still even in the face of those unpleasant electric / buzzing sensations in the legs... and you completely let go no matter what.. eventually you may have a very pleasant sensation where it feels like suddenly the tension diffuses through the body. It feels like some current was stuck, and now it's flowing. You may even get very pleasant (fine) tingly sensations. I don't really want to geti nto what this means here and I'm experimenting myself, not on expert on this subject... But it's definitely worth investigating. As with many things involving body/mind you're on your own. The doctors talk a different language, they'll see a "restless legs" syndrome (though they admittedly have no cause for it). With all that said, I'm not saying it's easy and it takes practice too. But if you take time to fall asleep it's something to do, and it's very curious... you get to experiment first hand with mind and body interaction and a subtler aspect of the nervous system.
I used to a sachet of vinegar in my daypack for that reason and it had 100% success with colleagues.