This Easy Meditation Trick Is Helping Me Work Through My Insomnia

This Easy Meditation Trick Is Helping Me Work Through My Insomnia
Wildfox Couture

Put me in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle and I will doze off in minutes. Red-eye flights are no big—I snooze soundly even while blasted by that frigid airplane AC and feel plenty rested upon landing. I fall asleep in movie theaters all the time. But at the end of the day, in the comfort of my (very expensive) foam-mattress bed? Forget it—most nights, I'm left staring at the ceiling for ages until I finally succumb to a few hours of fitful sleep.

I'm fairly certain there's no way of completely reversing my insomnia. My mother has been a terrible sleeper for as long as I can remember, and since the condition is often hereditary, I've pretty much come to accept that this is as my genetic cross to bear, along with bad eyesight and frizz-prone hair. I've certainly learned some tips and lessons over the years that have taken this problem from truly awful to just okay—for example, I always sleep a bit better when I'm exercising regularly, eating well, and actively looking for ways to de-stress.

One such outlet is meditation. But while it has worked wonders for my daily anxieties, most bedtime mindfulness exercises really haven't helped me fall asleep any quicker. That is until I learned about a trick that is so simple, I can't believe it didn't occur to me sooner. 

Earlier this week, Jesse Singal at New York wrote about a strategy that helped him start meditating after struggling to establish the habit for a long time. It's incredibly straightforward: You simply breathe in and out, 25 times, counting each breath as you go. There's no holding your breath or sustaining an exhale over a certain amount of beats—frankly, doing this usually results in lightheadedness for me. You're just counting each breath. That's it.

The evening after reading that article, I was lying awake in bed (per usual) when I remembered this trick. I began to count: [Breathe]…One…[Breathe]…Two…[Breathe]…Three…

Counting 12 or 13 is the last thing I remembered when I woke up in a sleepy stupor the next morning. Is this what well-rested feels like?

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Obviously, one night does not a success story make—maybe three nights doesn't either, but I can say that as of right now, I can actually envision a future where I'm not perpetually sleep-deprived. Over the past week, I've dozed off like clockwork. If I hit 25, I just start over again and cycle through until I'm in dreamland. 

I do anticipate that sleeping deeply without waking up throughout the night will still be a struggle for me, but I feel like I'm finally working through the toughest obstacle. Now if anyone knows of a way to meditate my way to 20/20 vision, please email me immediately.

Insomniacs: How do you deal? What's your best tip for falling asleep fast? Sound off below!

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