Distract Your Brain Back To Sleep

“Waking in the early hours… is something everyone does, but most people go instantly back to sleep. With insomniacs it is a chance for the brain — ‘a 24-hour thinking machine that sees wakefulness as Christmas’ — to start racing; and the more you struggle against it, the worse it gets. The answer is not to seek refuge in blacked-out rooms or alcohol (one of his patients used to line up six shot glasses of vodka beside her bed), but to persuade the brain to take a break. One exercise he suggested was to focus on a single sense by asking yourself, say, ‘What can I smell?’; if a thought tries to interrupt, banish it by saying, ‘Thought!’ Eventually you should be able to distance yourself from your thinking mind enough to say, ‘Thank you, but goodbye.’