Dreading that time in the night where you’re still staring at the ceiling, wondering if you’ll ever get to sleep?
Well, there’s a new technique being talked about, and it seems a lot simpler than maintaining perfect sleep hygiene (where your room, bed, and pre-bed ritual all have to be just right before you can get some shut-eye).
Researchers believe that it all comes down to the power of your own thoughts. As you settle down for the night, it seems that we should all be doing something called “savouring”, where you imagine a positive experience you’ve had in lavish detail.
Think of it as an intense form of reminiscing.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), it’s a “well-studied” technique which improves your general wellbeing, boosts mood and improve mental health.
Now, it might just help you snooze, too.
Dana McMakin, professor of psychology at Florida International University, told the WSJ: “It gives your brain something else to focus on – something emotionally compelling and pleasurable.”
It comes down to recreating exactly how you felt during the experience, rather than expressing gratitude for it ever happening or trying to get into a state of meditation.
The whole goal is to encourage your brain to think you’re living the same moment again – according to researchers, this reduces your stress response.
How to ‘savour’
Choose your happy memory – it can be absolutely anything – and re-create it will all five of your senses, sending the sensation all over your body.
Also make sure you’ve got your “worry” time out of the way long before bed. According to WSJ, you need to set a timer for 15 minutes, let your mind run wild, write down your worries – and then put it all aside.
The experts recommend practising “savouring” throughout the day long before heading to bed too, so that the memory is stronger, more vivid in your mind when you need it the most.
The experts warn that it will be difficult at first – but that it’s worth seeing it through.
After all, it’s got to be better than counting sheep.
Is it just good for sleep?
Positive Psychology, an online resource for practitioners, noted that savouring also helps to:
Counterbalance unpleasant feelings during periods of stress
Decrease depressive symptoms in older adults
Positively influence satisfaction in long-distance relationship
Help career-family balance
Better get savouring, then.