I want to pass on a cunning trick today that could just help you sleep better.
My guess is that most people go through periods of their lives when they experience problems with sleeping.
In fact, the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, based just minutes from where I’m now sitting, says that there are over 100 different types of sleep disorders, ranging from difficulty sleeping at night to problems with excessive daytime sleepiness.
100 different types?
That’s a nightmare in itself.
There’s no doubt about it, getting a good night’s sleep can help boost your overall emotional well-being.
On the other hand it’s clear that feeling low can play havoc with sleep routines.
Depression can result in some people sleeping much more than usual, while others may find it either hard to get to sleep – or they wake up earlier than they’d like. Sometimes much earlier.
While my own sleep has been relatively good of late, I’ve experienced what – for me – is a recurring issue the past few nights.
This is that I fall asleep almost immediately after getting into bed, but then wake up around two in the morning with strange, unwarranted, random, anxious thoughts going round and round in my head.
It seems silly.
I’ve generally finished my day with quite a grateful mind, and fallen asleep in a contented way.
But then the anxiety appears out of nowhere in the wee small hours.
So when this happened a few nights ago, an idea popped into my head.
It worked, has worked again, and I thought I’d now offer it to you.
Basically, it makes use of the idea that, sophisticated though they may be, our brains can actually only process one thought at a time.
This makes it possible to crowd out unwanted thoughts by displacing them with something else.
Here’s the something else that’s currently working for me.
If you find yourself in this situation, tell your mind that you’re putting these thoughts away.
Not ignoring them, just putting them away for now.
Then (and this is the important thing) imagine a whole series of doors closing, with the unwanted thoughts behind them.
Try to visualise all kinds of doors: your own front door, a car door, a shop door, a bathroom door, an office door, the doors on the back of a truck.
It seems important to challenge yourself to keep coming up with door after door.
In fact, when I did this myself last night, I even imagined the doors of my old Scout headquarters.
This has worked each time I’ve tried it.
I’ve found myself dropping off again, with a mind full of closing doors.
So I’d love to propose it to you as a new idea for your own emotional toolbox.
Hopefully you won’t need it right now, but I’d love to think of you having the technique if you do.
For some better shut-eye, just shut those doors.