Delaney’s post, linked above, led me to think about what sleep strategies have worked for me. Granted, my title sounds kind of hopeful, optimistic, perhaps even a fairy-tale for those with more severe insomnia, but I still think it’s worthwhile to consider approaches that do not risk the side-effects of medication.
Perhaps it’s a placebo effect, or just plain symbolism, but I find having a high bed helps. If that’s not possible, maybe try to keep other belongings, possessions, and distractions below the bed or out of eyesight. A relatively higher bed, either physically or perceptually, can foster the effect that the sleep domain is on a higher pedestal and of greater importance than anything else. Perhaps this can then create an impression that a bed is a separate and unique sanctuary where distractions will have trouble surviving in its rarefied, lofty air.
I find that when I read or do puzzles on my bed, it makes my body and mind naturally associate the bed as a place of stimulation and thinking. While this is important, it’s not the most conducive state for sleep. When this becomes a habit, without even trying, lying on the bed automatically turns my mind on into overdrive. However, if I am able to resist and even do my before bedtime reading on a chair right next to bed, that physical and symbolic separation transfers to my mental state as well. All signs are trying to tell me that when I climb onto bed, there is nothing else, and everything is left behind.
Am I being too simplistic? Naive? Possibly, I know. But for some reason, with sleep, somehow this kind of elementary idea of a erecting a physical border around sleep has been working for me. Maybe when I try too much analysis, preparation, and cognitive techniques, or mind tricks, it actually has the reverse effect of stimulating me too much and keeping me awake to see and test if the methods are working.