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While trying to fall asleep on night, I was wondering what my strategy would be if I was challenged to a competition where the goal was to fall asleep as fast as possible once I was lying in bed. The only degree of freedom would be thoughts. I.e., we assume I can't take a sleeping pill or exploit any other external factors (which are assumed to be averaged out).

What thinking strategies would likely yield the best results in terms of sleep latency? We're considering an average person here (i.e., not a person with special circumstances like insomnia or a biological predisposition/talent for falling asleep immediately).

That rumination will lead to the complete opposite effect has been documented in several studies (here's one among many) and is also intuitive. It has also been shown that gratitude reduces sleep latency. For me personally, imagining myself in cozy environments (e.g., a treehouse covered in moss) has been more effective than any other strategy (including mindfulness, trying to think about nothing, counting and others). The worst thought strategy for me was observing the process of falling asleep and I've never been able to fall asleep while in this mode of thinking (while I have been able to with heavy rumination in some cases).

Besides gratitude, have there been other thinking modes that have proven effective or are likely to be effective to minimize sleep latency? Perhaps there are other common themes in the positive psychology literature that pose likely candidates.

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    $\begingroup$ Asking a question surrounding verbs such as should is likely to get the question closed for being opinion-based. One thing I have heard though is that to minimize sleep latency, you should clear your mind of thoughts completely. Not fill your mind of thoughts. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers May 28 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with Chris, listen to the Gong sound for few minutes (youtube) helps me. This is a complex sound from which emerge numerous frequency and its reasoning through few seconds. Your task is a sensory one : listen the sound, its movements, its repetitive schema, amplitude, persistance, etc. This will stop thinking and calm mental flow. $\endgroup$ – ranell Jun 2 at 21:29

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