It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that I suffer from anxiety. In no small part because of the entire section of this blog dedicated to anxiety both in general and as an author. (Check out The Anxious Author segment here).
Even when you aren’t stressed, anxiety will do several things to derail your existence as best it can. Including making you panic about literally nothing, attacking you in public, and most prevalent of all: it does its absolute best to stop us sleeping.
For as long as I can remember, I haven’t been able to sleep straight away. At least an hour of circling, anxious thoughts will have a go at me before I actually lose consciousness. That’s on a good day. The bad days finish at 3am and contain an assortment of nightmares carefully created by Satan himself.
Then I found TikTok.
Just like most 30 year olds, I approached this social media platform with caution. My generation were the first ones on Facebook and the idea of videos are a little intimidating. However, I jumped in head-first and am actually loving it. I’m @rosiewylorowenauthor if you fancy following me on TikTok.
Then I found THE video that changed everything for me.
This video showed a man talking about a technique that military personnel use to fall asleep in two minutes in very uncomfortable conditions. Sleep is super important for everyone, but especially for people with such important jobs as in the military.
What followed was a meditative regime that you can do in bed that is so effective it startled me awake again and I had to start over. In essence, you shut down each muscle from head to toe in order, from forehead, to eyes, down to cheeks and neck, etc. until you reach your feet. Personally, I don’t ever get that far.
The best part is, my quality of sleep has sky-freaking-rocketed. Falling asleep on anxious thoughts apparently leads to anxious sleep, because now eight hours is actually enough. Too much, in fact. I can do seven and not even blink now.
If you’re asking the question right now “What about intrusive thoughts derailing our attempts to sleep?” Great question, and soldiers apparently also get this problem. What the video says they do is to think the words “Don’t Think” over and over again, for ten seconds. I actually scoffed when I heard this, I legitimately did not believe it would work. If it was that simple, I could have done it before, right? Turns out I should have tried it ages ago.
For years now, I thought that adulthood just meant being tired all the time because that’s what adults used to tell me when I was a child. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case, my fatigue derived entirely from pitiful amounts of sleep of terrible quality.
For three days now, I have had boundless energy, don’t even feel tired in the evenings, and am significantly more switched on throughout the day. Which is why I’m sharing these findings now, because I can’t quite believe what a huge impact this little ritual has had.
If for a second there you thought I was going to sell you a self-help course or maybe an untested pill, I don’t blame you. When someone says “this thing changed my life”, I immediately get the creeps. Too many people use that line to push some way or life or product that isn’t even remotely good for us. But I hope my small walk-through of this guy’s video is even a little bit helpful to anyone who has trouble sleeping.
I have high hopes that if I can continue to sleep well like I have the last few days, my productivity will improve. Better sleep allegedly means better brain power, so we’ll see what happens when eighteen straight years of poor sleep is counter-acted with a week of good sleep.
By all means feel free to try this meditative-style technique for yourself and let me know whether it worked for you. In the meantime, my extra brain power will now be spent trying not to pop onto TikTok every five minutes.
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