My ‘OFF’ switch – a simple sleep trick

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Can you get to sleep easily? Or does it take a while, maybe even hours before you can get to sleep?
If you read the title of this post, then you may be wondering about what this ‘OFF’ switch is all about. At least that’s what I call it, my ‘OFF’ switch. Simple. Right? Just turn your brain off. Okay, maybe not THAT simple but more on that later.
First, let me explain what brought me to this very easy simple method. For years now, when I go to sleep, I sleep. Impossible you say? That’s what I thought for many years growing up with insomnia. I will admit at some point in my early twenties, life was good and stress was low and during those years, I could fall asleep almost instantly and wake up the next day ready to go. It baffled my husband how I did it and even I myself didn’t even really know. I called it my ‘OFF’ switch. I would tell him “It so easy just go to sleep, let go and that’s it! Wake up the next day!”. To him, it was not quite so simple. As with many people I would talk to about this subject. Many would tell me they would give the world to get a good nights sleep.
But then it happened, I couldn’t fall asleep! One night… I tossed and turned the entire night! Then the next night was the same. Then the night after that and the night after that. Where had my ‘OFF’ switch gone? I just couldn’t find it and I couldn’t understand. Suddenly, it wasn’t so simple. My ‘OFF’ switch was broken 🙁
At some point later, I’ll estimate a couple of years at least. I was going through a tough time and following a recommendation I decided to attend DBT group therapy. In the end, group therapy is not really for me, which was no surprise. However, there was one trick one young lady there mentioned that stuck with me. One of the reasons it stuck, I think, was because the coach (or the person leading the group) mentioned that the technique, although it worked for this girl, would likely not work for most people because it required too much focus. Well, I’ve never been normal in any way so his comment only attracted me of her method even more. I tried to see his point of vue but also hers. So I decided to try it out for myself but tweaked it slightly but… not really (I’ll explain soon). And I GOT MY OFF SWITCH BACK!!! I was so happy and although I had a slight process now, it was still such a simple method and I was able to fall sleep quick again and sleep, the entire night. FINALLY!

So what did she say and how did I tweak it?

She said that there was lots of noise in her house and in order to fall asleep she needed to focus on something else. So she would follow these steps:

  1. Breath in (count one in your head)
  2. Breath out (count two in your head)
  3. Breath in (count three…)
  4. Out 4
  5. Keep going until you hit 10, then start back at 1 again and repeat the sequence.
  • If you lose count, don’t worry about it. Start back at one or wherever you want. The point is that you don’t need to worry about anything and you can’t do it wrong.
  • If you end up at number 35, don’t freak out! It’s fine! Nobody got hurt, all is good. I promise. Just go back to one again when and if you want to. *see below about letting go.
  • Breathe NORMALLY, comfortably. No need for deep breathing.

Now, for the little add-on tips to bring this method from relaxing and refocusing to actual sleep.

One thing to note first, is that what I’ve noticed, at least for me, is that I have less ease sleeping when I try and counter or fight my thoughts. Acceptance and release are keys here.

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So here’s how it goes, during these steps, while I’m counting, eventually my mind wanders, I no longer have focus on the numbers. This is where I simply let go and follow wherever it brings me with complete RELEASE and ACCEPTANCE of where it goes. I really love this part as I know (even consciously as it happens), that I’m off to my limitless dream land.
It’s important to not even think about what you’re thinking about. And I know that sounds like it makes absolutely no sense but hey, it’s the best and only way I can think of describing it. Just like Elsa says in Frozen “Let it go”. Or as I would probably say “just go with the flow”. If you notice you start trying to oppose, judge or otherwise counter your thoughts (or mind wandering), start counting again. Simple… At least to me…
Not convinced? You’re not alone. Most people I explain this method to, don’t believe me and explain that it’s not that simple. The only thing is, that none of these people have ever tried it! Then just this past holiday season, I went back to my hometown for Christmas and was having a coffee with my very first childhood friend. I was home and people knew me, especially her. She knew that most of what I say is always tried and tested. She also trusted that my method was at least worth a try. A week later, as I met with her before flying back home, she said she had something to tell me. I asked what was going on, she looked pleased. She said she couldn’t fall asleep the other night and she remembered my tips, she tried it out. She said she couldn’t even remember falling asleep and woke the next morning. She was stunned at how easy and effective it was! This helped me have hope that this may work for others. Thus why I share this with you today.
Seeing as I’ve had but one person actually try this simple method, I’d love to know if this works for others too. Comment below if you’ve tried it and how it turned out for you.
Share this with someone you know who may benefit from this simple trick.