There’s a reason they call it “falling” asleep, and it’s not because my eyelids flutter closed, blocking out the light, and the view of my darkened bedroom.
Sleep has never been something I’m particularly fond of, largely because there are so many things to do, read, try, write about, and also because my mind tends to race at the times when most people are turning out their lights, and cocooning themselves in soft blankets, but lately, I’ve been craving sleep more, and getting better rest than I remember getting for most of my life, and while sometimes I still have a hard time giving up the night, I’ve developed a bit of a routine to help myself along.
First, I make sure Fuzzy is in bed first. He, like many men, falls asleep anywhere, and easily. If he is already wrapped in sleep’s embrace, I can close my eyes, curl up against him, and match my breathing to his.
Then, I make sure the dogs are in the right places. Miss Cleo sleeps either under the covers at our feet, or in the cavity in the headboard where we’ve stuffed a bolster so that the pillows don’t disappear. She likes to burrow. Zorro generally curls up against my side, in my armpit, or against my abdomen (the latter is preferred during certain times of the month), on top of the covers, while I’m under them.
Once everyone is in position, I close my eyes, and slowly clench and unclench every muscle in my body, beginning with my toes, and working up to my eyebrows. Most of the time, I’m asleep before I get past my buttocks, but sometimes my mind refuses to find a quiet place, and I have to bring out the big guns.
For me, that means counting. I begin at the number 100, and count backwards, making sure I’m focusing my entire attention on each number, spending an entire breath on it, visualizing it. If I allow a stray thought into my conscious mind, I start over, increasing the number by 25 (so round three would start at 150). Most nights, I’m out before I get to seventy-five. Some nights, my starting number goes over 300. This is rare.
What never changes though, is the mental and physical letting go I do as I get that sinking feeling, the one that means sleep is rising up to greet me, and will guide me into its murkiest depths, only to push me back toward the surface as morning approaches.
Some people fall asleep.
Me? I dive into it.
Sleep for me is irregular and not at “normal” times. but I usually don’t have any trouble getting there. getting back is sometimes more difficult.
Michele sent me,
I hate to sleep because I have too much to do. So I’m with you.
I usually fall asleep in front of the tv. It’s the only way I can unwind. Then I sleep with it on all night. Drove the hubby nuts at first. He’s used to it now, though. I wake up and channel surf at all weird hours until I can go back to sleep.
Great use of the prompt!
That was a cool way to describe that sinking feeling…I am like you…sleep eludes me until everyone else is settled…and it takes awhile before I can say tomorrow is another day to do “stuff.”
mm..I worked from home, so for me sleep is also irregular. Usually I’ll just let my eyes get droopy from the pc galre, dive in to the pillow, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Great entry for Sunday Scribblings. :)
I’m a worrier, so it sometimes prevents me from sleeping…I’m so grateful for those nights when I can fall asleep fret-free.
I have a hard time falling asleep also. I would rather stay up and check things out on the internet, but if I dont get to bed at a decent hr. Im tired the next day. My daughter has a facination with getting up before the sun rises. I think her internal clock is broken!
Michele sent me
I’ve never been able to use exercises or mind games to fall asleep. Sleep has to hit me like a mac truck. I have to be so sleepy that I’m falling down. Some nights I’ll just take a Tylenol PM to help me. The TV is no good for me because my subconscious mind stays alert and I wake up more tired than when I went to bed. And I keep waking up.
I don’t understand people (like my partner) who lie down, close their eyes and fall asleep. HOW DO THEY DO THAT??? What’s their secret?
Babies do that same armpit burrowing thing. They’re like little homing missiles. No matter where they start out, they end up in your armpit!
Oh, I enjoyed reading your method. I have a very similar relationship with sleep. And your description of “giving up the night.” I’d rather be doing.
My trick is to mentally insert myself as the direction of my current novel, and act out the scenes. I’m gone before I can get thru the first scene 3 times.:)
(ooops, Michele sent me)
Breath in, breath out. Take long deep ones. By the 20th one, you would be fast asleep. It works.
Ohhh I’m there, I can so relate! I’m sure us creative people don’t want to shut down, so much to do, so little time. Thank YOU so much for sharing!
I’ve never tried your suggestion of counting backward. I’ll try it tonight – nice post!
I used to do counting when I was younger but usually didn’t work. But has since use a more effective method. Cultivating “Loving Kindness” to all.
Wiki explains it well >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81