An excerpt from my And Yet Here Go I book/Journal about the sleep trick I was taught by my Neuro Rehab Agent I turned into a post on here to use the link to share the info on a Facebook post with another TBI Survivor…
From the Distractions, Focus, Attention Span section….
Another helpful thing about earplugs, is that it helps to focus the mind ‘inwards’. My Super Neuro Rehab Agent, Joanne, taught me a technique to help with the ‘wandering mind’…
When I am tired ANYTHING can grasp my attention and absorb my thinking, making sleep near impossible! …The number of world problems I have solved while SUPPOSED to be going to sleep!
Joanne advised me that in order to bring my focus right in close and narrow, I need to think ‘One.’ every time I breathe out.
Well, I would end up thinking something like this… “Serious world issue that is current… One. Such as terrorism and the Islamic Group… One. What needs to happen is this… One. A major UN Nation needs to… One. …and so on and so forth…
So I altered the required thinking pattern to be “One.” on every inward breath, and “Two.” on each outwards breath. Then when my mind wanders – it is easy to get back in sync. In equals “One.” and out equals “Two.” Notice I used a capital letter and full stop… That indicates the whole ‘sentence-ness’ of the One. and Two. There is no more to the thought.
I also tried (very early on in my use of this technique) just counting continuously, but that was a stupid thing to do because I got so distracted with seeing how much I could get up to number-wise and remembering the past highest total I ever got to – the idea of sleep went right out of the window!
In seeking a distraction from the boredom of One. and Two. I have attempted to make it Two. and then One. It doesn’t work for me mentally for some reason.
At first I had trouble with this technique the more tired I was. Joanne advised that a natural aspect of the body and mind going to sleep, is that the breathing slows down noticeably. So in order to slow the heart and breathing, one needs to take deep breaths. I think this is to fully oxygenate the blood meaning the heart is able to slow down as the body is receiving more oxygen than it does with shallow breaths. She said to breathe in, thinking One. and then pause at the end point of the inwards breath before beginning the Two. outwards breath, and then pause again at the point of being all ‘out of air’ before beginning the One. inward breath again, making sure to take as deep breaths as possible.
This is HARD to do!!!!! I can’t believe the mental attention required to perform this simple-sounding task! This works EVERY time! In a super-uber tired time when my mind just HAD to think about something, I began thinking about the feeling of going to sleep… One can feel one’s mind shutting down. It is a slight slowing of everything, and a wave type feeling washing through your head. And I reckon 6 of those feelings – and I’m asleep. Sometimes when I am well over tired, I count each of those feelings, and stay “One-ing.” and it is fail-safe!
But I need to be disciplined enough to actually use the knowledge I have acquired and not be belligerent and ignore the tiredness and let my gates flap away, thinking about anything and everything.
The benefit of wearing earplugs is that you can almost hear the blood flowing past your ears! The mind’s focus is so much easier to ‘rein in’ to one’s self. My own little world becomes as narrow as can be! There is no room for any outside thoughts!
Breathe in, pause, breathe out, pause… chuck a One. and Two. in there to save thinking too much, and my mind is overloaded with a whole lot of NOTHING!
Super Neuro Rehab Agent Joanne advised me of a method to ‘rest’ my brain before it gets so incredibly over-stimulated. As a part of a rehab program I did with her, she had me sit or lie down for 10 minutes each hour with a timer set for 10 minutes, close my eyes, and think “One.” on every outwards breath, same as going to sleep. I “One.” and “Two.” as I find it works better for me, and before you know it, the buzzer goes off and one can go back to work refreshed. Of course, it is hard to force self to stop doing something and just “One.” for 10 minutes!
It doesn’t fit in with anyone’s day at all!!! When I have a job to do – I prefer to just get it done! Although stopping and “One.”-ing recuperates the brain so that instead of being ready to stop after 3 hours, one can go on for 4 or 5 hours… And then at the job’s completion take a really super-long nap in the afternoon, thus upsetting the rest of my day negating achieving anything before time to start the evening chores…
I can feel when my brain is over stimulated, and therefore it is helpful to know how to give it a break.
Not that it is easy to admit to needing to rest like a toddler and sit down
mid-task to rest the brain! And the rest of society couldn’t possibly understand, I don’t reckon…