Do you also have trouble falling asleep the way I do? Join the club! Here’s a list of countless tactics I have tried to get some good sleep.
Aside from five dogs, a mansion and George Clooney as my husband, I desired the ability to fall asleep the minute I hit my pillow. But as they say, ‘sabra ka phal meetha hota hai (patience is the key to attain a sweet fruit). So, till the time I reached a phase where I fall asleep instantly, I stuck to my strange tactics of achieving the same. These included counting sheep, doing mental math or staring into the darkness with the expectation that my eyes would shut eventually and I will would dreaming.
If you think I was insomniac, I’m wasn’t. I did a thorough research on the symptoms of this sleeping disorder and they didn’t correspond with what I went through. Sure enough, there were days where I joined my husband in snoring away to glory the second, I shut my eyes. But just like a good hair day, those days were rare. More often than not, I was trying to subtract 16564846 from 9865456 in my head and hoped that in the middle of this calculation, I would dream of George and he asked me to marry him. But of course, like my good hair days, these dreams were also rare.
So why couldn’t I fall asleep instantly if I didn’t suffer from insomnia? What was it that keeps me awake? You all may not know Victoria’s Secret, but you can certainly know mine- it was my overthinking. Out of the 100 times that I failed to fall asleep, overthinking contributed to 99 of them. It isn’t stress or anxiety that got the better of me. It was my overthinking, where I pictured myself in scenarios that I knew, did not exist, just like my father’s hairline.
“I once cracked a joke about Jasleen’s pink dress in 2004. What if she felt bad and still holds a grudge? Am I a mean and terrible person?” “My boss typed ‘ok’ on Whatsapp instead of ‘okay.’ Is she pissed with me? Have I screwed up at work?” This was my brain at 1:30 am when the world around me was dreaming of their George Clooneys. So what did I do? I counted sheep. This is a mental exercise that is known to induce sleep. It involves imagining sheep jumping over a fence and then counting them one by one, as they do so. You may be thinking, ‘why did she resort to this when there are other, more effective ways of falling asleep like reading a book or meditating?’ Valid question.
But I had tried every tactic in the book, and it didn’t work for me. I tried reading as I wanted to refrain from using my phone at night. However, instead of falling asleep, I would get engrossed in the book, and read till 3:00 am. Not helping! I even tried meditating. I listened to audiobooks that would help me picture peaceful and serene settings such as walking through a dense forest or sitting near a waterfall. But all they ended up doing was make me feel bad about how I hadn’t taken a vacation since eons. Jeez, talk about not catching a break! Or in my case, sleep.
I love working out and often take long walks. In the middle, I increased my walks from 45 minutes to about an hour and a half, thinking that such strenuous activity would tire me out and help me sleep. But nooooooooo. What I experienced instead was unnecessary body pain and a kick of endorphins, which is the last thing I need when I am trying to fall asleep.
It all came to a point where I had to keep my brain active by doing something or the other. I was caught in a vicious cycle where I felt that unless I actively do something, I won’t be able to fall asleep. So, I found myself surfing through Instagram, watching YouTube videos or reading stories online, till the time my eyes shut. And of course, there was always the famous sheep counting and mental math!
I knew that my sleep habits were taking an unhealthy turn and I realized that I needed help. That was when I came across Neurofeedback and started undergoing sessions. After just 5-6 sessions, I am able to fall asleep within seconds and have a sound and complete sleep too. I wake up with a smile, instead of a cranky face or a grudge that my husband had a better sleep than me.
And I can happily say that today, sheep and numbers don’t dominate my mind. Only George Clooney does.
To learn more, watch this video. In addition to these tips, Brain & Co. offers med-free treatment that could help you overcome some of the challenges that come with depression/anxiety/sleep issues etc. Visit our website or give us a call to learn more.