I thought I would share a very simple tactic for getting back to sleep when we wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Introverted, highly sensitive and insecurely attached people are extra prone to overactive minds. This tip comes from Tony Hale aka Gary on Veep. In an interview with Dax Shepard, Tony said his therapist told him to say to himself, “Not now” when the voices/thoughts in his head got too loud and persistent.
As simple as this is, it has worked for me. I almost can’t believe it. In the last month, I have woken up at least half a dozen times around two or three in the morning. I told myself (my brain/mind), “Not now. Now is time for sleep and rest.” I may have had to say it a few times, but it worked!
Thank your brain
Sondra Kornblatt, in her book Restful Insomnia, said to tell ourselves something similar. She said to say, “Not now. We’ll go over this issue at 4PM tomorrow.” She recommended scheduling a real time to process recurring issues. It is up to us whether we actually sit down and review the issue at the planned time. I believe it was her who also said to thank our brains for looking out for us, for working so hard to protect us from potential pitfalls.
I often add a thank you on to the “Not now” phrase. It truly seems to quell the overthinking.
How it works
These tricks work because they stop the onrush of emotions and flooding in our primitive brain (amygdala, limbic center) and turn us over to the more logical and reasoning part of our prefrontal cortex.
If your mind still will not shut down after the initial “Not now”, say it a few more times followed by an explanation of how important it is to sleep/rest and a gratitude speech thanking your mind for all of the hard work it does for you.
May these small suggestions improve your sleep and your sense of calm. Sleep is the cornerstone of our health.
This week’s post is short and sweet. My husband is out of town for work and my kids are with their dad, so I am looking forward to a night to myself. I have a new found appreciation for company and interacting but I still love empty nights to myself.
Did you try this trick? Did it work for you? What little tricks to calm your mind and body work for you?
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