The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago at 5/16/11 7:49 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 5/16/11 7:41 PM

The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Does anyone have meditation techniques for inducing sleep, ASIDE from relaxation? It's pretty obvious that something simple, like anxiety, can be reduced by effective meditation. Hell, deep breathing will do the trick for anxiety.

But what about techniques stronger than relaxation, even deep relaxation? There are some nights where even the formless realms won't cause sufficient relaxation; shamatha just leads to a state of wakeful calm. More shamatha simply means more wakeful calmness.

So you might say this thread is about creating and increasing drowsiness.

I've discovered one trick to cure mild cases of insomnia, after noticing that excessive effort in meditation caused drowsiness and amplification of sloth and torpor. It could be useful for stronger insomnia if you're really good at concentration. For more advanced meditators than I, this might be a great tool.

The technique: Relax your body, and concentrate as forcefully and effortfully as possible. Can you feel feel a sense of "tension" or "effort" at the forehead, or perhaps elsewhere in the head? This is not muscle tension, as would be caused by wrinkling your brow or frowning -- it's mental effort, which can feel like tension even though your muscles are actually somewhat relaxed.

Once you've identified the feeling: Drive your effort as hard as you can. Really push your mind, so that the tension-like feeling strenghtens. Tire yourself out mentally. If you do it right, your concentration will grow weaker and weaker no matter how hard you try. It might feel like you've "run out of willpower" or "exhausted your mind." You're finished when you simply CAN'T concentrate any more due to extreme sloth and torpor.

This should be done in bed as a solution for mild insomnia. I have not noticed side effects from doing this correctly. Doing it incorrectly, e.g. with actual muscle tension, can cause a headache. Any form of meditation can cause hangovers in the dark night, of course.

Does anyone have alternative techniques? What would be really great is a meditation for moderate to severe insomnia. (Those of you who can do Nirodha Samapatti: you have my envy =P)
Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 4:13 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 4:13 AM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
There's a few good techniques within yoga which may be of use to you:

Shavasana - Basic corpse pose, it's nothing spectacular but can be useful if combined with.....

Polarization - Which I can confirm is very effective for dealing with insomnia.

Or if you're feeling adventurous, there's Yoga Nidra - Which is a bit more involved and uses a sort of guided meditation to bring one into a very deep state of consciously dreamless sleep which has to be experienced to be understood.

I know the sites linked to here aren't the best but they're just starting points if you want to look a bit deeper for yourself. The most useful techniques within this usual framework we use I can think of would be doing the "letting go" approach to the jhanas which Nick talks about here. This always ends with a complete shutdown for me which, once I come back online, leads into a deep, restful sleep but I'm sure that at least some benefit can be achieved regardless of which Path you're at. Jhana practice in general is really nice before falling asleep so maybe even just trying that would be worthwhile.

Other than that, there's always over-the-counter sleep aids.... emoticon

Hope you get some snoozin' soon mate, take care.
Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 6:24 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 6:24 AM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I hear Kenneth uses NS to fall asleep, maybe it's just a myth?
Yadid dee, modified 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 8:04 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 5/17/11 8:03 AM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
On the same topic,
I find that during periods in which I practice intensly or moderately-intensly (more than 3 hours a day) then while lying down in bed I get these coarsing energies going through my legs and feet, which are quite unbearable so I can't lie still.. Drives my girlfriend mad ('Stop moving your feet!!").

Anyone else know this phenomena and ways to deal with it?
Mike L, modified 11 Years ago at 8/1/11 5:49 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/1/11 5:49 AM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 75 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
I've found the "sleep" mantra to be remarkably effective when my mind won't settle down.
Conor O'Higgins, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 6:12 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 6:12 AM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 3/8/11 Recent Posts
I've tried a lot of sleep-inducing techniques on myself. Here's what I've found works -

  • Take 3mg melatonin and have a cold shower. This will knock you out.
  • Take control of your inner monologue and speak to yourself only on the out-breath. Speaking on the out-breaths makes you more relaxed; speaking on the in-breaths makes you more wakeful. Try this out on yourself - the results will surprise you.
  • Change the tone-of-voice of your inner monologue to something incredibly drowsy-sounding.
  • Do your favourite relaxation technique. (It would take too long to go into details of different relaxation techniques here. Autogenics and progressive relaxation are tried and true.) Then notice how relaxed you are feeling, and deliberately increase the feeling so you are a bit more relaxed. Then decrease it and become a bit more wakeful. Relax again. Become more wakeful again. Relax again. Repeat this about ten times and you'll be nearly asleep.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 12:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 12:38 PM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Close your eyes while lying in bed. Roll them upwards and slightly inwards so that you are effectively looking at the third eye area. Your eyes should "connect" with the third eye area. Stay like this until you fall asleep. How long might it take? Maybe 5 minutes.

The first couple of nights you might fatigue your eyes and/or get a headache. Don't worry, as you get better at relaxing but also fixating your eyes in this manner, you will not fatigue your eyes and/or get a headache.

There's a sleep mask on the market meant to do just this thing. It's called the Glo-To-Sleep mask. It is essentially two photoluminescent dots, strategically placed so that if you look at these dots, you are fixating your eyes towards the third eye area.

I did this (not the mask). It works. It works creepy-well. I would have no recollection of falling asleep. It would be almost like this: going to bed, getting under the cover, feeling comforta-BAM! I'm awake, and it's morning, WTF?

I stopped doing this because after using it for a few days with great success I would fall asleep very quickly, but then wake up again in the middle of the night and it would be impossible for me to fall asleep again that night. I don't know if this was caused by using this technique, or whether it was caused by a hormonal cycle, food I ate... I might actually try it again to see if it still works and if I wake up in the middle of the night.

If ever there was a magical, side-effect free proverbial "pill" for going to sleep, this would be it, in my opinion.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 10 Years ago at 10/9/11 11:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/9/11 11:55 PM

RE: The power... to fall a-f**king-sleep?

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Forceful concentration, strong effort, hard jhana, careful investigation: all are unlikely to promote sleep and are probably going in the wrong direction.

If you have stream entry, the afterglow of a Fruition is a good way to sleep. NS's afterglow is a complex topic, a weird mix of relaxation and steady clarity that can be sent in many directions, among them to sleep, but I personally would prefer to just send the mind towards Fruition at the onset with a quick resolution or inclination, do nothing else at all, let the Fruition occur, and then crash out satisfied.

I really like the speaking slowly and in a lower tone on the out breath, etc advice.

Messing with concentration, even to get NS, is a double edged sword, and if you are too keyed up, you won't get NS, as if you power the desire to get it too hard it won't drop (as you don't let it get sufficiently out of your control), and instead keeping your hands on the desperate, sleep-seeking reins is just a set up for insomnia, particularly as to get to 8th for most takes some work unless you have gotten the flow down to just a nudge and let it cruise on up, and that work to stay present and clear is exactly the wrong way to try to sleep.

Willoughby Britton went into a nice discourse on the lack of sleep-promoting effects of meditation and the literature on this when I was up there at Brown this Spring, and the literature on meditation research is her forte.

In general, most meditation techniques are actually designed for awakening of some sort.