Visualization of Sound as a Sleep-Aid
To some people the idea of visualizing in order to fall asleep might seem like a fanciful 'new age' concept for sleep-aids. I can understand that point of view as we live in a time where a common sense approach to insomnia has given way to pharmaceuticals. Further, if someone believes that they don't dream at all then they might think visualization might not be for them. However, even if you do not recall your dreams, I can assure you... you dream. If one believes that they dream then the next most logical question is why. Why do we dream? There must be a reason for it. Without getting into a medical discussion I think we can all agree that humans dream because it is natural. In generic dreams, as opposed to lucid dreams, our minds present to us seemingly random and constantly changing images. Our dreams occur in transition zones of sleep stages. This is why you dream near the end of deep sleep. The dreams you will probably recall are the ones you wake up with. However, when you first fall asleep a dream cycle also occurs. This is referred to as non-REM dreaming. Why this happens is a discussion for another time but lets just say, once again, it happens because it is natural. If we know how our brains work during sleep then certain functions can be willfully emulated beforehand. The brain uses the Secondary Visual Cortex during imagination and dreaming. This is a scientific fact. Simply by imagining you are, in effect, emulating how the brain functions during dreaming. The human brain can be aided into deep sleep via visualization. Visualization greases the grooves to deep sleep by stimulating areas of the brain that will become active in the early deep sleep stages.
Have you ever awakened a few hours earlier then normal and knew if you did not go back to sleep you would feel groggy all day? Here is a simple visualization technique I use as a sleep-aid upon waking up too early. First I imagine a lighted candle. I then mentally morph the candle into a tree stump. I morph the tree stump into a tree. The tree is then imagined into an umbrella... and on and on. What happens, usually about 10 to 15 'morphs' into the process, is my unconscious brain eventually takes over the process and off to sleep I go.
Emulating the dream experience by working with my own brain's natural ability to visualize completely changed my life as a chronic insomniac and my hope is that this simple technique can aid others with similar sleep issues. We record nature sounds that can be visualized and, ergo, taps into this natural way to fall asleep.