Cure insomnia by talking yourself to sleep

By: Paul McKenna

Author: Canadian Living


Cure insomnia by talking yourself to sleep

By: Paul McKenna
As well as pictures, we all use an 'internal voice' as part of our thinking. We use this voice when we are making decisions, and reflecting and commenting on things. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are using it most of the time we are awake. For example, you might be going shopping and say to yourself, "I must remember to buy some more bread." Or before you ask someone a question, you rehearse it in your mind before you speak it out loud. Mostly we use our internal voice to comment on what's happening in the world around us.

Where is your inner voice?
One particular aspect of this internal voice is very, very important to us because researchers have found that the way we talk to ourselves has a significant effect on how we feel. For example, pay attention to your internal voice right now. Say something to yourself about sleep. Now, stop and notice where that voice is located. Is it at the front of your head, the back, or to the side? Just check now, does it seem to be inside your head or outside? If it is in your head, is it to the front of your head or the back? Is it higher up or lower down?

Now that you have established where it is, say that phrase to yourself again. This time, notice the tone of the inner voice. Is it chatty? Anxious? Authoritative? Friendly? Is it excited or sad or neutral?

Changing the tone of your inner voice
Researchers have found that the tone of our internal voice affects how we feel – but crucially, most of the time we don't think about it and simply let the world around us determine the tone of voice we use. So if we feel we are in a stressful situation we tend to speak to ourselves with a sense of urgency, if it is a frustrating situation we tend to use an irritated tone, if it's a relaxing situation we tend to have a relaxed tone.

However, it is the tone of voice more than the situation that determines how you feel. So if you make a mistake, and tell yourself off with a voice like an old schoolteacher, your tone makes you feel bad. If you are nice to yourself and use a sweet, seductive tone of voice, you will instantly feel better.

The amazing thing is that you can simply choose to change the tone of the internal voice and it automatically changes how you feel. Try this as an experiment.

Remember a time you really made a mistake and how you criticized yourself. What kind of things did you say to yourself?

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Page 1 of 2 - on page 2, find out how to change your inner tone!

Reprinted with permission from I Can Make You Sleep, copyright 2009 by Paul McKenna, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.Next, remember those harsh critical statements.

However, now make the tone of them sexy. Imagine how it would sound if you criticized yourself in a seductive, sexy voice. Try it now and notice how difficult it is to feel as stressed as you did when the tone of voice was harsh and critical.

A calmer tone leads to a better sleep
Learning to change the tone of the internal voice is a vital part of learning to run your own mind and it is immensely useful in learning to promote regular, restful sleep. I have found lots of insomniacs who lay in bed and talked to themselves about not sleeping, but what's really interesting is that they did it in a tone of voice that was actually helping to keep them awake. When I examined closely exactly how they were talking to themselves I found they were all using some version of an irritated, frustrated, or in some way agitated tone of voice. The pace was also fast. The result was that feelings of irritation or agitation kept them in a physiological state of excitement, which kept them awake.

Practice changing the tone of your internal voice and you will gain more mastery over how you feel. As you become good at it you will be able to send yourself to sleep by making your internal dialogue slow and sleepy sounding.

Learning how to relax

You know how certain tones of voice make you feel sleepy. We've all met boring people who drone on and on and you find your mind drifting and feel unable to stay awake. Or when you think about the tone of voice you would use to tell a bedtime story, it starts to make you relax.

A great way to learn to use your internal voice to work for you is to make your internal voice speak at a very slow pace in a tired, gentle tone of voice. I teach people to use this slow gentle tone of voice when I am teaching them self-hypnosis because relaxation is a key part and this calming, gentle voice automatically evokes a relaxation response in the body. That is why hypnotists use a monotonous, slow tone of voice, and mothers naturally speak in a gentle, relaxing tone of voice when they are lulling their babies to sleep. You can use the same technique now.

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Reprinted with permission from I Can Make You Sleep, copyright 2009 by Paul McKenna, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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Cure insomnia by talking yourself to sleep