A cure for insomnia (Part 1) – A visualisation exercise

Dear Diary,

This is incredible. I’ve been able to fall asleep within minutes the past couple of nights after seeing the psychologist and practicing what she’d taught.

It was only the third time I’d seen her and we went through a bit on sleep hygiene. I knew about everything she advised:

  • A wind-down routine before sleep. Check.
  • Drink something warm before bed. Check.
  • Journalling stressful thoughts down. Check.
  • Don’t look at anything bright before sleeping. Check.
  • Deep breathing using your diaphragm and not your chest. Check.

And many, many more.

We then talked about something else that was bothering me. Then she went through a worry tree.

And finally we did a mindfulness exercise which was AMAZING.

Reading from a script, I listened to her as my eyes were closed, imagining a flowing stream beside me. The stream had leaves flowing down it and I was to put each thought in my mind on every leaf. Thought after thought, thought after thought.

And so I did.

This is an experiment. Onto a leaf. My crush. Leaf. Crush. Leaf. My birthday is coming. Leaf. God. God. This is relaxing. The clock is ticking really loudly. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Crush. Conflict. God. Stream. Leaf. I am so relaxed I’m close to falling asleep.

And then the script goes on to say you might be distracted and forget about the stream. Just come back. Again and again.

Then the script ends.

And I open my eyes and evaluated the exercise with my psychologist.

I told her it was really relaxing and I almost fell asleep. She said it wasn’t quite meant for sleeping and it’s just to get rid of distracting thoughts.

I used it the very next night. And woke up the next day wondering how I fell asleep. (I usually take an awfully long time before entering Lala Land.)

I slept like a log the following night too, waking up only when the alarm rang.

Two nights in a row without a single sleeping pill (which I detest taking). Wow.

I am suitably impressed.

Perhaps I’ll buy Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” to find out more. After I catch another 40 winks.


7 thoughts on “A cure for insomnia (Part 1) – A visualisation exercise

  1. Pingback: Helpful homework from my psychologist  | diary of a bipolar singaporean girl

  2. Pingback: A cure for insomnia (Part 3) – Sleep with me podcast | diary of a bipolar singaporean girl

  3. Pingback: My last day in therapy | diary of a bipolar singaporean girl

  4. Hi Rachel,
    I used to have insomnia problems too, until I tried all of the above you listed! One thing that works for me that is probably similar to your visualisation exercise is meditation/chanting. Basically, it seems like we just need a “natural” way to rein in our brains 😉 I hope you sleep better now!


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