How I fall asleep February 21, 2024 on Sepi's blog

personal puzzle mind sleep

For a long time, I had trouble sleeping. I would lie in bed for hours, unable to sleep because my mind would start thinking about upsetting or negative things. These thoughts would make it even harder for me to fall asleep, as bad thoughts seemed stronger and more real than good ones. Whenever I fell into this trap of negative thinking, I found myself stuck in a cycle of trying and failing to sleep, all while dealing with these unpleasant thoughts.

A few years back, I suddenly came up with a new way to help myself fall asleep: solving imaginary puzzles. Instead of thinking about real puzzles you can touch, I started to make up puzzles in my mind. For example, I often imagine designing a prison in great detail and then think about all the ways to escape from it, either by myself or with an imaginary character. I focus more on how the prison is built—the doors, walls, cells, entryways, security, different areas, the schedule, the prisoners, and the staff.

Then, I look for ways to link all these details together to figure out how to escape. Whenever I'm close to solving it, I add more problems to make it harder, so it's not easy to finish. For instance, the latest story I've been working on started about two years ago. You might wonder what I've been doing all this time. The truth is, the more I got used to this habit, the faster I fell asleep. Many nights, I just start thinking about the puzzle, trying to remember where I left off the night before, and before I know it, I fall asleep.

This method has really helped me sleep better and has also made me less stressed and anxious. I realized that a lot of my anxiety came from spending hours in bed thinking about negative stuff, which doesn't happen anymore.

I really recommend trying this thought experiment, and I'd love to hear if it works for you too.