Two years ago I invented a method for getting myself to sleep, that I’ve been using successfully since its inception. I want to share it with you. I had just released my self-published book, Anxiety and the Gift of Imagination, and I was invited to be on a network breakfast television show. I was very excited and a bit nervous, to say the least. I wanted desperately to be well rested when I arrived at the studio at 6:30 for the 7 AM appearance on the show. As I lay down to sleep, it didn’t appear at first that I was going to be too successful. My head was buzzing with what to say and what not to say and my heart was fluttering. I tried everything I had learned about sleep and what I had taught others. I reframed the anxiety symptoms as “excitement,” which was not altogether untrue. I imagined myself on a beach, I focused on my breathing. Nothing was working. All of the visualizations seemed to stay in my head and nothing reached my physiological responses of anxiety/excitement which dwelled in my body—my lungs and my stomach.
Then the thought bubbled up- wouldn’t it be nice if I had some general anaesthesia to just knock me out. It occurred to me that Michael Jackson probably had the same thought.Anyway, I didn’t have a personal doctor at my side to grant me my wish, so I started to imagine that with each breath, anaesthesia was entering my body and taking me into deep sleep. I could actually feel it working. With each breath of anaesthesia my body felt heavier and more relaxed, as if I was falling into a trance. I must’ve done about 6 breaths and the next thing I knew it was morning. I woke up refreshed and very excited that the method had worked. The 7 minute TV appearance went better than expected. Three different people posed questions at me. While they had time to compose their thoughts, but I was on the spot the entire time. Because of my good night’s sleep, I was sharp and even challenged them on a question or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
That night, I found I still had trouble sleeping. This time I knew it was excitement and not anxiety. I was thrilled by the good job I had done, but now I wanted to get some sleep and turn off the excitement. So, again I breathed in imaginary anaesthesia. This time I added a colour—thinking anaesthesia was probably deep purple. Again I was out within a few breaths.
I have now used this method for close to two years and it has never failed me. Sometimes I find myself lying in bed, thinking, not using the method, wondering why not. Then I realize I’m not ready yet to let go of my thoughts. When I am ready, I just pull out the anaesthesia, and out I go. Pretty cool. I think that if you’ve had anaesthesia in your life and you’ve had a positive experience with it, then the method might be more suited to you than if you have no actual experience with anaesthesia. If you’ve never had anaesthesia, it might be difficult to imagine it. But if you’ve had it, your body remembers and you can bring up the memory of that experience to put yourself into unconsciousness, which we call sleep. Try it and let me know how it works for you.