I’m home with my six month old son today. My wife has my daughter, so I’m in charge of this ball of energy and non-communication. He’s having a tough time sleeping, which means I’m having a tough time working. I just tried laying down with him to take a nap with him, to see if that made a difference.

And out of this, came some visualization and relaxation tips:

  • Take six deep breaths- After you get comfy, take six really deep, slow, breaths. If you can, breathe in from the nose, and out through the mouth. Nice, slow, easy.
  • Feel your aches- Without moving, take a quick inventory of the aches and pains you feel, especially around the face, the neck, your jaw, and your lower back.
  • Think of warmth- Imagine sending liquid warmth through those parts, such that the warmth pours over the aches, and washes them down out of your body, off the bed, and onto the floor.
  • Release your worrisome thoughts- Say to every bothersome thought that comes into your head, “I can’t fix you right now. I’ll get back to you later.” Everything that comes up isn’t meant to be solved right now. Your brain’s just trying to get rid of them. Even reminders. “I’ll remember you when I wake up.” Let them all go.
  • Assure yourself you’ll wake up on time- This is important for nappers, but also for people who have trouble waking up. Just give yourself a quick reminder of when you want to wake up. Think of the numbers on the clock.
  • Think of a hammock- You’re up off the ground, wrapped in a cocoon of comfort, swaying gently in the open air. The sun is warm on your face, and there’s a breeze blowing you back and forth. This visualization helps you “see” what sleep’s reward will be, getting you more in the mood to sleep.

Visualization has proven helpful in developing the appropriate brain wave patterns to achieve restful sleep. The more you practice these techniques and build them into a ritual, the better your opportunity for repeatable success. I’ve found that the speed at which I get to sleep after practicing these improves as I move forward, not that speed sleeping is a goal. It’s just nice to see the practice paying off.

–Chris Brogan is awake and dreaming of new ideas at [chrisbrogan.com].

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