Some people fall asleep with ease, but I’d argue most people face difficulty with this feat at some point in time (if not frequently). Rather than scrolling on your phone or repeatedly looking at the clock to calculate how much sleep you’re losing, focus on comforting your body, Spiegel says.
“Imagine you’re floating in a bath, a lake, a hot tub, or floating in space,” he suggests. You also may want to practice what he calls a cyclic sigh, “where you inhale halfway, hold your breath, and fully and slowly exhale through your mouth,” he explains. “As you do that, you trigger the soothing parasympathetic autonomic system and help your body relax.”
Plus, focusing on your breath may inherently turn your attention away from worrisome thoughts. This takes some dedicated focus, but as many meditation and breathwork experts will tell you, it gets easier with time and repeated effort.
While you’re helping your body relax, acknowledge any negative or stressful thoughts that may bubble up. Rather than hyper-focusing on them and trying to come up with solutions, Spiegel recommends projecting these intrusive thoughts as if you were watching them on a screen.