How to Fall Asleep Instantly?
My sleep patterns are usually erratic over the course of a year. A few months I evangelize the night owl community and the rest of the months, I battle myself to wake up early in the morning. But one thing about my sleep never changes. It’s the way that I fall asleep every time.
I’ve heard my grandma say that people who fall asleep the instant they lie down, possess the best gift ever. I possess that gift. Well, to be precise, I bestowed that power upon myself, and it doesn’t hurt to share it with my fellow humans.
To be honest, I don’t fall asleep the very next moment I lie down and snug under my angry birds sheets. I hope you are not that meticulous in taking the word ‘instantly’ in a literal sense. In reality, the whole process might take from ten to twenty minutes.
All I do is that I forget who I am. The thoughts that usually would keep me in the night would be those about the universe, singularity, my own parallel self and the most common one, the haunting thoughts about responsibilities, livelihood and survival. The other nights go by winning some fake arguments with myself, talking to my imaginary friends, acting out some scenes from my novels and occasionally some shadow boxing sessions. This affected my daytime life so much as I woke up at different times every day, waging a war with my circadian rhythm. Now that I have regulated myself with a normal sleeping time at nights, I can write this edition without any guilt.
The science of sleep
I will keep the science to its essential part for this article. Humans fall asleep when neurotransmitters do their play and push our brain to sleep. Primary compounds that are responsible for sleep are Adenosine and Melatonin. Adenosine is produced mainly by the breakdown of ATP molecules, which are produced from glycolysis. So imagine your whole day! Adenosine builds up in your body and brain as you progress through all your life battles during the day. The built up adenosine induce sleep by inhibiting the activity of your neurons by the end of the day, making you feel tired. This is made possible by one of the four adenosine receptors – A1 that is present everywhere in your body. This inhibition is what puts you to sleep gradually at night. Besides adenosine, the other compound is melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland, only when there is no light entering your retina. So they work hand in hand to help you make your way through the rainbow bridge that leads to your dream world. It is when these activities are disturbed, you find hard to get sleep.
The factors that affect instant sleep
The primary factors that influence your sleep are those tiny windows of light on your hands and desk. If you are reading this at night, you may as well know how it affects you. :) How could you expect your pineal gland to produce melatonin with a bright screen starring right into you? I guess you need no more explanation for this part.
The second one is your mood. Most of us are anxious and creative when we try to sleep, which is more or less a war between your brain and you. The objective part of your brain wants you to sleep, but you keep fighting it and you try hard to stay awake.
Train like a Jedi, or a Super Saiyan here
The only way you can sleep peacefully is by eliminating the above two factors. It’s that simple. I say it so because I have done it and I am doing it regularly to fall asleep.
Turn to the dark side
Let’s talk about using our devices before bed. For geeks like us, I know it’s kind of a momentous feat to avoid it instantly. But you can lessen the effects until you eventually stop using devices before you go to bed. First thing is, install something like flux. It reduces most of the blue light from your monitor and helps you in its own way. Reducing your brightness and turning off the lights will do more good too.
Now, let’s see what you can do about the second factor. Unless you own a versatile and intelligent neural interface that can alter your mood, your mood can only be controlled by you. You might have also searched the web for an alternative way to sleep quickly and might have tried counting stuff until you fall asleep.
That of course, takes your mind off and helps you stay in a neutral state, but here is a better option!
Try forgetting yourself. Forget who you are and what you are. At least, that’s a good start to derail you from the track of subjective thoughts. The fact is that you are one of the gazillion mysteries in this universe. You are a life form in this cosmos that is as complex as your brain. The cells in your body have collectively devised a sophisticated mechanism to operate as a whole human being. Rather than trying to put yourself in an evolutionary risk, try to think through all the facts and be the flesh and bones you have always been.
Travel yourselves inside your mind, if it would help. I’m sharing mine so that it could help you to devise your own thing that would assist you in losing yourself in imagination. I chose imagination to lose myself because it is easy for a first try and just gets easier with practice.
My own retreat
If you’d ask me what the best picture in the world is, I’ll always find the ‘pale blue dot’ amusing. Every night I try to sleep, I forget my issues, my goals, my life, myself and I just picture that fuzzy blue dot.
Once I get a vision of it, I simply turn around and create colorful nebulae, stars, planets around me, forgetting what Earth is. As much as I concentrate my vision on this, I use my breathing to eliminate all the noises around me, both auditory and the remnant noises from my thoughts from reality. And before I even realize, I would be pulled into the awesome world of sleep.
It is pointless to be stressed when you are in the bed. No matter how your day life is, you have to lose yourself in your dreams every night. Write a dream journal, explore your dreams, and find your solitude in your imagination… Have a good sleep… :)
This post was first published on May 12, 2016.