1. Going to Sleep
- Keep your phone and/or alarm out of reach
- Choose a bedtime at least 6-8 hours before you need to wake up.
- Set a bed-time alarm an hour before bedtime and then go about your fixed night routine.
- No screens in that last one hour.
- If possible, take a hot-to-cold shower (starts hot, but ends with a few minutes of cold).
- Before you go to bed at night, tell your brain, “wake me up at __ a.m.”
- Go easy on the alcohol before bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark.
- Keep it cool.
- Cut caffeine by the afternoon.
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only.
- Keep your bedroom quiet.
- Ban furry friends from bed.
- Try separate blankets in a shared bed.
- Find a comfortable position to sleep in, close your eyes and squint slightly while looking upwards, basically trying to look at the bridge of your nose. This should not hurt at all.
- Forbid all thoughts of words and music.
- Look for patterns in the random noise of your eyelids and try to “follow” it. Once you start seeing complete images you’re under way to dreamland. It’s ok to suddenly realize that you’re doing it and thus waking yourself up a little. Try again. Just relax, think about nothing and watch the pretty pictures. Don’t get upset if it takes a while—just keep going. Using this technique I normally fall asleep in 2-7 minutes.
- When you’re anxious about something, it’s really hard to stop thinking about it and it would be better to write it down, thinking it through before sleeping.
2.1. Progressive Relaxation
This technique is often most useful when you tape the instructions beforehand. You can tape these instructions, reading them slowly and leaving a short pause after each one or listen to the progressive muscle relaxation track on our “Falling Asleep” CD.
- Lie on your back, close your eyes.
- Feel your feet. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed. Start with your toes and progress to your ankles.
- Feel your knees. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your upper legs and thighs. Feel their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your abdomen and chest. Sense your breathing. Consciously will them to relax. Deepen your breathing slightly and feel your abdomen and chest sink into the bed.
- Feel your buttocks. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your hands. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your upper arms. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your shoulders. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
- Feel your neck. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it sink into the bed.
- Feel your head and skull. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it sink into the bed.
- Feel your mouth and jaw. Consciously relax them. Pay particular attention to your jaw muscles and unclench them if you need to. Feel your mouth and jaw relax and sink into the bed.
- Feel your eyes. Sense if there is tension in your eyes. Sense if you are forcibly closing your eyelids. Consciously relax your eyelids and feel the tension slide off the eyes.
- Feel your face and cheeks. Consciously relax them and feel the tension slide off into the bed.
- Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that is still tense, then consciously relax that place and let it sink into the bed.
2.2. Toe Tensing
This one may seem like a bit of a contradiction to the previous one, but by alternately tensing and relaxing your toes, you actually draw tension from the rest of the body. Try it!
- Lie on your back, close your eyes.
- Sense your toes.
- Now pull all 10 toes back toward your face. Count to 10 slowly.
- Now relax your toes.
- Count to 10 slowly.
- Now repeat the above cycle 10 times.
2.3. Deep Breathing
Listen to the deep breathing track on our “Falling Asleep” CD.
By concentrating on our breathing, deep breathing allows the rest of our body to relax itself. Deep breathing is a great way to relax the body and get everything into synchrony. Relaxation breathing is an important part of yoga and martial arts for this reason.
- Lie on your back.
- Slowly relax your body. You can use the progressive relaxation technique we described above.
- Begin to inhale slowly through your nose if possible. Fill the lower part of your chest first, then the middle and top part of your chest and lungs. Be sure to do this slowly, over 8 to 10 seconds.
- Hold your breath for a second or two.
- Then quietly and easily relax and let the air out.
- Wait a few seconds and repeat this cycle.
- If you find yourself getting dizzy, then you are overdoing it. Slow down.
- You can also imagine yourself in a peaceful situation such as on a warm, gentle ocean. Imagine that you rise on the gentle swells of the water as you inhale and sink down into the waves as you exhale.
- You can continue this breathing technique for as long as you like until you fall asleep.
- Wake earlier by increments.
- Have a fixed morning routine
- Keep the alarm out of reach
- Never hit the snooze button
- Leave the bedroom after shutting the alarm.
- Expose yourself to bright light: Your body’s internal clock uses light to determine when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Getting some sunlight first thing in the morning will help your energy levels rise.
- End your shower with cold water: Feel free to hop in a nice hot shower in the morning, but finish it off with cold water. The cold will increase your metabolic rate and make you feel alert.
- Chug a glass of water: Your body needs water to fight off fatigue and other symptoms that make you want to stay in bed. Down some ice-cold water as soon as you wake up and you’ll be moving in no time.
- Eat breakfast: Your body has been fasting all night so you need foodregardless of how busy your morning is. A simple breakfast with some fiber and complex carbohydrates will give your body the energy it needs.
- Drink orange juice: A glass of OJ will give you some sugar to get you going and some flavonoids to help you be more alert.
- Exercise: If you do your workout first thing in the morning, you’ll increase blood flow throughout your body and send more much-needed oxygen to your brain.
- Listen to music: Your favorite tunes can put you in a state of arousal to help amp you up. Music can also increase activity in certain regions of the brain that are associated with movement, emotion, and the feel good chemical, dopamine.
Staying Awake (At Night / When You Need To)
- Tug on your ears
- Push on the bridge of your nose
- Massage the muscles beneath your cheek bones
- Press the flat of your thumbs against the crest of your forehead
- Give yourself a temporary face lift
Don’t go over your 20 minute target. You may find that your target window is slightly shorter or slightly longer, but whatever you do don’t over-sleep. This is a good article on the subject. When your alarm clock rings, get up, even if you feel drowsy for the first few moments. If you stay down, you risk going from the REM sleep mode into slow-wave sleep, which would require you to stay in bed for 90-120 minutes before your sleep cycle is complete. If you get up, the drowsiness will vanish in a minute or two. So, paradoxically, napping longer makes you drowsy, not rested.
The best way I can describe the feeling of napping is that you lie down or sit somewhere, and first focus on relaxing. Relax your muscle groups one by one, from your neck all the way down to your toes. Take a good minute or two to do this properly. Then finally you relax your thoughts. Let them drift off. It’s important to gently nudge those thoughts towards more relaxing topics – you won’t nap very well if you’re rehearsing a conversation with the boss – but at the same time, they need to largely drift on their own. Keep your eyes closed, your body relaxed, and let your thoughts meander from subject to subject without much order. Once you’ve learned what to aim for, it’s just a matter of practicing it.
Consider using the app, Pzizz.
Check out www.reddit.com/r/LucidDreaming for further information
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Cut Yourself Off Early
- Snack smart with honey or bananas before going to bed.