Do You Have a Favorite Image for Falling Asleep?

“I once had a favourite image for falling asleep…After waiting a minute or two before switching off my lamp, collecting awareness so that I would fully appreciate the embrace of darkness, I turned face downwards, sprawled my arms and legs, and my bed became a raft which floated me out onto the sea of night. It produced a sensation of luxury; the more seductive for being enlivened by an almost imperceptible thread of risk.”

Somewhere Towards the End: a Memoir, Diana Athill

I love this image.

To go to sleep, I often imagine that my alarm is about to go off. Thinking that I must get out of bed helps me feel tired.

Do you have a favorite image that helps you fall asleep?

  • Natalie

    Thinking my alarm was about to go off would keep me awake all night! I don’t usually use an alarm but if I have to get up early, like for a flight, I’ll set one and then I’m waking often through the night to look at the clock and see if it’s nearly time. Not a good strategy for me.
    My husband says he pulls an imaginary blanket of sleep over himself, and he’s under in seconds, or so it seems to me lying awake next to him. My mind whirrs around for ages and won’t calm down.

  • excursivey

    The idea of the alarm about to go off makes me feel stressed out even though I’m awake!

  • 2 images: One: I imagine how I feel when I’m tired on a plane and all I want to do is stretch out….I feel so happy then that I can stretch out in my bed and go to sleep.
    Two: I imagine myself putting everything in God’s hands for 8 hours so I can lay down and take a break from running the world. 🙂

    • Rita

      Love that 2nd one – great idea! What used to work for me was to imagine the letter Z real big and then visualize it getting smaller and smaller, like in a cartoon when someone is sleeping :o) But lately that hasn’t been working (menopause is fun!?) Thanks for such a peaceful thought! Think I will try that tonight.

  • Milou

    I would not survive the image of my alarm going off in just a few seconds. For me it’s not really an image, but more of a pose. I lay on my belly, snuggled in my blanket, and I fall asleep.

    • Myryl

      I also try that together with mindful breathing.

  • Penelope Schmitt

    I take my Rosary to bed with me and start the prayers. I guess St. Therese would call it “the prayer of St. Peter” because it usually does not take me too long to drift away.
    I usually have to ‘pack myself’ in to sleep with a variety of pillows to keep back pain and leg cramps at bay, so the raft float idea would be a non-starter for me.

  • Linda Kelly Marrone

    I love this idea too. when I was under 10 we would stay at my grandparents summer bungalow. I shared a small bedroom with my two younger brothers and it was always in the summer so the windows would be open. I put myself back there and hear the sounds and feel cool sheets. It always helps me feel relaxed and I fall asleep shortly after.

  • Myryl

    Whenever I found myself having a hard going to sleep, I would think of the image of Sto. Niño. It usually helps.

  • Sadye

    My go-to trick now is to think about my pets (usually a cat on a lap) — brings lots of soothing, calming sensations to mind.

    • gretchenrubin

      Love this.

  • TheCuriousBlueberry

    I feel the same! If I would think about my alarm going off I would freak out and maybe throw my phone across the other side of the room just because I would be annoyed of it 😉
    xo, Sara

  • Nicole

    Rather than one image… I think of all the things I accomplished that day (starting with getting out of bed, making coffee, showering, going to work, answering emails). Thinking of all that I did makes me exhausted and I nod off quickly!

    I caveat this by recognizing it might not work for everyone- some could become uneasy thinking of what they did not accomplish. But luckily, that isn’t an issue for me. I enjoy reflecting on simple accomplishments.

  • fakenewspapers

    I always find the image of the beach soothing. Oh, and a newly-washed pillowcase and beddings! Makes me fall asleep easily.

  • meliors

    Sometimes as I’m falling asleep I will imagine releasing four latches so the top of my skull pops up like a sunroof on a car, and any unwelcome thoughts are released out the gap to float away in a blue sky. Then I imagine reaching my finger tips into the folds of my brain and loosening up all the neurons like a bowl of noodles, letting space and air in and slowing my thoughts down.

  • I usually get as comfortable as I can, then with each breath let gravity win the tug of war with my body, imagining that I am just getting flatter and flatter with each exhale.