I’m pretty sure Casey loathes me when she’s lying awake in the middle of the night only to see me sound asleep with her cat on the other side of the bed. Falling asleep isn’t something I struggle with; in fact, it’s something I’m glad to admit I excel at, but it hasn’t always been that way.
For the first six years of my marriage, I worked odd shifts at the United States Postal Service doing what the USPS called remote encoding. My first two years at the USPS were spent working from 5:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. I would usually come home from my shifts and take an hour long jog in the city followed by several hours lying in bed just hoping to fall asleep. I figured I was destined for a sleepless life. I would be one of those people who struggled to fall asleep but that all changed when my shift changed.
My last 3 to 4 years at the USPS were spent working from 11:30 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. Something I learned quickly was that no matter how much sleep I had my body would decide it was time to fall asleep at about 4:30 a.m. I have no idea where that instinct was when I was actually laying in my bed hoping to fall asleep, but it sure did reveal itself whenever I actually had to be awake. The only thing I could do to combat that instinct to sleep was to take naps during my hourly breaks. Each employee was given alternating 5 minute and 10 minutes breaks each hour and one 30 minute lunch break. Because the 5 minute breaks were so short, I had to learn to fall asleep really quickly or my break would be wasted.
After about 6 months of practicing I figured out how to fall asleep in under 30 seconds regardless of where I was or what was going on around me. For instance, I once fell asleep in the food court of a not so safe mall. I fell asleep so abruptly that the security guard who happened to be watching me awoke me to make sure I was okay. I have also fallen asleep while walking down the stairs (that didn’t turn out so well), while sitting straight up, and while taking the bar exam.
Casey doesn’t believe my method works, but I have hours and hours and hours of sleep to prove otherwise and it’s a pretty handy skill to have when it comes to parenting. We never really know how long Vivi is going to be down for a nap so getting to sleep quickly, even if it means I only get 15 minutes of sleep, really helps.
Here’s what I do to fall asleep in under 30 seconds:
Comfortable Place to Sleep 1 of 8The first thing I do when I need some sleep is I look around for the most comfortable spot possible. Believe it or not, if a couch or bed isn't available, I prefer a desk or a table where I can rest my head.
Set an Alarm 2 of 8The second thing I do is set the alarm on my phone. One of the biggest problems I had when it came time to falling asleep quickly at the USPS was worrying about waking up when I needed to. Knowing my phone would wake me up solved that problem so I didn't end up just sitting there worrying about not sleeping too long.
Peaceful Place 3 of 8The third thing I do is clear my mind by thinking about a quiet peaceful place. My quiet peaceful place is in a field filled with wild mountain flowers that sits at the top of a mountain. The more detailed the image the better.
Hole in the Ground 4 of 8Once my field has been created in my mind, I imagine myself walking through the field until I find a large hole that appears to go down for hundreds of feet with a rope that just hangs down from the center of the hole. Photo Credit: Flickr
Comfortable Bed 5 of 8At the bottom of the rope, which is at the bottom of the hole, is a bed that is suspended about 25 feet above the ground by ropes. The bed is the most comfortable bed I can possibly imagine with a huge white down comforter and several white fluffy pillows.
Lowered into the Hole 6 of 8I then picture myself being lowered down into the hole by a swing. Who knows where these magical ropes and swings come from or what they are tied to, it's just important that they are there and that I'm getting lowered into the hole above a bed suspended in the air. As I am lowered into the hole I picture the sides of the walls of the cave as if it is part hole part cave. I also picture the light at the top of the hole getting smaller and smaller as I'm lowered into the hole. The more detailed the image, the faster I fall asleep. Photo Credit: Flickr
Sleep 7 of 8By the time I'm halfway down into the hole, I'm usually asleep. Occasionally, I'll make it all the way to the bed and I imagine myself climbing into the bed and snuggling down into the comforter and pillows. The bed swings slightly back and forth and the cave's temperature is a cool 45 degrees--the perfect sleeping temperature. It doesn't take more than a second or two for me to be fast asleep once I'm in the bed.
Peaceful and Quiet 8 of 8Casey wonders why I choose a creepy cave/hole to be lowered into. I'm not sure why exactly. I'm guessing it's partially that every cave I've ever been in is the perfect sleeping temperature and they're all perfectly quiet. If there really was a place with a hold in the ground as I picture it in my head, I highly doubt I'd allow anyone to lower me into the thing for a quick nap, but that's the beauty of an imagination. When I'm trying to fall asleep, the cave is the safest place on the planet. Photo Credit: Flickr
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