While in Bed, Nothing Within Reach – Except Sleep?

http://delaney55.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/insomnia-rocks/

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.

-Patrick Law

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5 Comments

Filed under Sleep

5 responses to “While in Bed, Nothing Within Reach – Except Sleep?

  1. Okay, as I sit and work at the computer and it is almost midnight and I am just starting to wind down, I think this was good to read…Thanks for some provocative thoughts and great ideas… grandmasheri at http://www.disorganizedorganizer.com

  2. Good to hear from you again, grandmasheri. Hopefully my posting on sleep has a relaxing effect, hehe, and not the opposite. It’s always a concern with certain activities that when thinking about it too much, it can have adverse effects. Sleep is such a delicate topic that I’m almost tip-toeing into it, trying to not make too much noise, because for so many people it’s automatic, unless they start thinking too much about it.

    Hmmm….

  3. dolf

    Is that really the secret? Here it is just after 3 and I feel like it is noon. Still too early to wind down…

  4. dolf

    Just noticed my post time… Perhaps you are really in bed at midnight when you think it is 11:00. Are you using the clock on your website and cheating yourself out of an hours sleep? Do you feel tired and unrefreshed when you wake up?

  5. Dolf,
    Welcome back and good to see your picture/avatar up as well. As for the secret to sleeping, I certainly don’t have any definitive answers to what is so elusive. My method, or perspective, described above I admit is really too simple, but it kind of works for me becaue I find ‘simplifying’ is the right frame of mind to be in prior to bed. If a story, or a fantasy does it, I’m going to milk it for all its worth.

    However, I do admit that while it helps me get to bed, I still have some trouble staying asleep or getting back to sleep when waking earlier than the alarm. The mind automatically turns on to the day’s upcoming adventures and tasks. Maybe having more enticing dreams can work to help me want to get back to the night time state.

    I’ve kind of neglected this category after making a first post. I’ll try to get back to it…and maybe refer to other ideas…other readings…and other blogs for more sleep ideas.

    Dolf…let me know how your sessions at the sleep institute goes, and what new ideas you learned from there….

    As for the posting time, hehee…good observation.
    In my admin, my blog stats are kept in GMT timezone. But postings I think I set to be a certain number of hours behind GMT, depending where we are. I may have set it incorrectly by an hour. Hmmm…so my posts are one hour earlier than reality? I didn’t consider the impact….I wonder if there’s a way to time warp my posts to be 10 and a half years early…there’ll be some psychological significance there!
    -patrick

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