How I Fall Asleep Faster than Ever
I reduced the time it took me to fall asleep from 2 hours to 10 minutes
There are a million guides on the internet for falling asleep, I know because I’ve read most of them.
Over the years I’ve bought no less than a dozen contraptions online in the pursuit of sleep. Nothing advertised for aiding sleep has ever worked.
I bought those nasal strips that smell nice and cling to the top of your nose. (They fall off the first time you toss or turn).
I bought a noise machine so that I could hear the ocean; I bought sleep masks, cooling gels, vibrating pillows — everything.
I once worked on a cruise ship where sleep was everything, because no-one is more overworked than someone working on a ship. I would sometimes have 2 hours in the day and 6 hours at night to sleep, and every second was precious.
So what works?
It wasn’t until I moved to China (and annoyingly after I’d finished on ships) that I finally stumbled upon my system.
I’m going to be very specific about what I do, because it’s only by following my system to the letter that I get my sleep.
- Essential Oils — Eucalyptus and Lavendar.
These are not rubbed directly onto my skin, these are inhaled with a diffuser.
If you don’t know what a diffuser is, Google it now (in another tab).
It’s basically a device that you put essential oils and water into, then sleep nearby while it gently blows them into the air as a mist.
Essential oils are commonly mentioned in sleep guides, but I never took them seriously because I discounted them as something guys with top buns use.
It turns out that although they aren’t sold strictly as sleep aids, they work great for sleep.
I don’t diffuse both lavender and eucalyptus at the same time, I alternate between them each night.
My brain needs the consistency, but it also needs change. I can’t smell the same thing night after night, but I only want these two oils because they do the job.
Diffuse them into the air right beside your bed, as close to your head as possible. The oils are going to kill some of the bad bacteria in your lungs and help you breathe easier. They’ll also sooth you, melt away your stress and manage your anxiety. They’re a real wonder.
Their anxiety-dampening effects are what will make the following step work.
2. Imagine a story
This step is not so common in sleep guides, but I couldn’t live without it.
I cannot sleep if I’m thinking about work or Medium, but working and creating are all I think about.
Numbers, money and ideas are swirling around in my head all day and night. This is a big reason why I had so much trouble getting to sleep for so many years.
For a while I tried simply clearing my mind and thinking of nothing, on the advice of the internet. I found this completely impossible. So after a while I invented my own solution.
Perhaps it’s because of movies, but most likely because of video games; I create a story in my head every night.
And it’s important that this story is as far removed from reality as possible.
I usually start as a wizard.
I’m standing in a battle-torn field. There are trenches everywhere, soldiers lay dead all over the place.
The grass is scored by magic burns, arrows are littered as far as the eye can see.
From here my story develops, and every night it goes a different way.
I’m never able to get close to a resolution or even a complication in the story though, because once my mind is fully engrossed and the last thought about work and writing has left my mind - I’m asleep.
Usually it’s 10 minutes, but it’s been known to be between 3 and 15 according to my partner.
I’ve actually just started writing my imagined story here on Medium. I’m hoping writing it each week will help me to flesh it out and see where it’s all leading.
So there you go.
Essential oils dull my mind, then my imagination switches it off.
If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, and like me can’t turn off your brain, please give my strategy a try. And let me know how it goes! I’m very curious to know how it worked out for you.