We’ve all been there. You’re lying in bed, ready to get some much-needed rest, yet you can’t seem to doze off. Traditional wisdom tells you counting sheep will fix your problem, but how many of us actually have any success with that strategy? Does it really even work? According to a study at Oxford University, not so much. Perhaps counting sheep isn’t the golden solution it’s been advertised as. If it so happens that you are a sheep counting machine every night, with no sleep issues, by all means, keep doing your thing. For the rest of us, it may be time to try something different the next time we find ourselves staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus provides some alternative recommendations to help you fall asleep in a Psychology Today article. His suggestions may be more effective in helping you, and are a more productive use of your time. Breus says mind games are one effective method and specifically suggests spelling long words, coming up with 4-5 letter words for each letter in the alphabet, and counting backwards from 1,000 by 7’s.
Breus also says guided imagery can be helpful, giving blissful scenes such as picturing a relaxing place, walking in space like an astronaut, or imagining your thoughts as bubbles. All of these strategies relax your mind, preventing you from the kind of anxious overthinking that keeps you from a restful night’s sleep.
These all seem like great ideas, but everyone is different. We’ve compiled a list of favorites from the personal experience of The Rise and Shine Team. These techniques may not be endorsed by a psychologist (that we’re aware of), but they work well for us. Playing some ambient noise like sounds of the rainforest or ocean waves can put stressful thoughts at ease. If you’re spending the night away from home, try singing a familiar song (ideally a peaceful and slow one). This can help take your mind off the distracting surroundings.
Finally, if you can’t put your mind at ease and don’t want to get out of bed, consider working on memorization. New vocabulary words and inspiring quotes are two good options because they are often in our passive memory, but not yet our active vocabulary. Another idea is to remind yourself of important birthdays for family and close friends. Forgetting an important birthday might be the only thing worse than not being able to sleep. Hopefully these suggestions can help you avoid both.
If you find that you still can’t get to sleep, no matter how hard you try to imagine yourself walking on the moon or sitting on a beach, it might be time to give some reBloom a try. The all-natural, non-habit-forming sleep drink is sure to have you dozing off in no time, even when other tricks aren’t quite cutting it!