One of the reasons people don’t get enough sleep is that they have trouble falling asleep. Would you like to fall asleep fast?
If so, I’d like to share my five step process for falling asleep quickly. I call it “Dr. Jo’s DREAM formula because DREAM is an acronym for the five steps. You can use just one, all five, or some number in between.
Dr. Jo’s D.R.E.A.M. Formula to Fall Asleep Fast
Here you go…
D – deep breathing
The first step in relaxing is to focus on your breath. Since the brain can only think one thought at a time, when you’re focusing on your breathing, it’s difficult to think of other things. So, start with taking some deep belly breaths and slow them down. When I’m not sleeping I use my arms to slow down my breath…when I’m in bed, I use visualize to imagine the air rising, then falling
R – relax
With each breath out, incorporate some relaxation. Starting with the top of your head, as you exhale, relax your forehead. With the next breath out, relax your eyes, then your cheeks, your jaw, your chin, your shoulders. And, continue scanning down your body
E – erase thoughts
Once I get to my shoulders, those thoughts start creeping in. Hopefully, you’ve already used a notebook on the side of your bed to write down your concerns and to dos for tomorrow, so now we just need to focus on ‘erasing them’. Some people visualize taking those thoughts and putting them on a fluffy cloud and watching them drift away. Some put those thoughts into a box and place them in a closet. My method is to use a paint roller and paint over them. In my mind’s eye, I’m using white paint. I have no idea why white. There are no rules, just find a way to notice those thoughts but not to get worked up about them.
A – affirmation
With each exhale, while you’re relaxing, use a peaceful word to guide you. I like the word “peace”. Others use calm. It doesn’t matter, just find a word to associate with this level of calmness. What you find is that you begin to build an association with this word. I always use the word peace, so I can say that word in the middle of the day and it will bring my body to a level of peacefulness that I’ve practiced while getting to sleep.
M – mental image
Some people like using imagery of a calm scene like a mountain top, an ocean view, or a babbling brook, Perhaps a special spot from your childhood. I’ll be honest, I can’t do this. Whenever I start visualizing a place my mind turns it into a scene from the movie Jaws or Friday the 13th.
There are no right or wrong ways, but experiment with these five steps and find a routine that works for you. The more you practice these steps, the faster your body will respond and put you into a peaceful state of sleep.
It might even help you during the day. When I can say the word “peace” during the workday, I immediately feel my shoulders come down and a sense of relaxation take place in my body.