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nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

The Mechanics of Falling Asleep

 

Our brain has a very strict routine it likes to go through every night while falling asleep. This routine can be seen over and over again while monitoring for brainwave activity in sleep labs. As we go through the stages of falling asleep our brainwave activity progressively slows down.

 

First, we relax. This causes our brain to enter into what is referred to as Alpha brainwaves. You can reach Alpha without even closing your eyes. You occasionally enter it simply by watching television or even driving long distances in your car. But, for our purposes, lets say you are tired and go to bed. You are relaxed ergo your brain is in the Alpha brainwave state. The next brainwave category (that gets very little press) is called the Theta brainwave state. This is a state of self-hypnosis where your brain begins to let go of your awareness and readies you for the night's slumber. This is a kind of daydreamy mental state that we humans occasionally deal with during our waking hours. If you have ever stared out a window on a rainy day and felt that 'far away' feeling you might have been in Theta or possibly if you drove a car from here to there, without remembering how you got there, you were in Theta. The Theta brainwave condition is also a desired destination for people who meditate. The final state we reach during this process is defined by Delta brainwaves. When you reach this state you have fallen asleep. Non-REM dreaming soon follows.

 

It is also interesting to note that dreaming and visualizing occur in the same region of our big human brain. That region is known as the Secondary Visual Cortices, collectively referred to as the Secondary Visual Cortex. Nature sounds (waves, wind and the like) can induce relaxing Alpha brainwaves. Visualizing can induce Theta brainwaves. The combination of the two is the core idea behind this website.

 

Visualizing to Relaxing Music

 

skatersA simple test of this theory would be to put on some relaxing music during bedtime. Some soft music (i.e. classical or slow jazz) would do the trick. While you are laying there with your eyes closed visualize an ice skater moving to the music. Try to mentally picture them gliding along and occasionally doing a spin. You might find that falling asleep will come easier. This technique works particularly well if you wake up in the middle of the night as your brain will probably still be deeply relaxed (as long as you don't get up and putter around the house for 10 minutes).

 

This technique is nothing new. I am sure you have heard that counting sheep can help with falling asleep. I say don't count them... visualize them, or anything else for that matter, and you could be well on the pathway to a good night's rest.

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