Since I was a child I’ve enjoyed memorizing stories, Scripture, songs, scripts, and movie quotes. It began in grade school when I decided to memorize one of Dr. Seuss’ books, The Lorax. I discovered it was a fun challenge. And, like many other skills, the more I practiced the easier it became to memorize new material.
Memorization is a valuable skill with many different applications. You may be surprised that falling asleep quickly is one of them. I made this discovery a couple years ago by accident.
How to Use Memorization to Fall Asleep Faster
This is very simple. To memorize you need to practice. You need to rehearse the memorized text over and over again. To use this sleeping technique all you need to do is review the memorized text while trying to sleep.
I know this probably sounds ridiculously simple. But it works! It works incredibly well. Even when I am not sleepy. Even when I am feeling nervous about the next day. Even when I’ve been startled out of a deep sleep and my adrenaline is rushing. It doesn’t really matter what the circumstance is, using this simple technique will get me to sleep quickly.
Why Does It Work?
This technique is related to other, more familiar methods of falling asleep, such as counting sheep, counting backwards, or praying. The goals of these methods are:
- To wear down your brain – in order to sleep your brain must be fatigued. When carrying out higher-function tasks (i.e. thinking) your brain tires very quickly. The most common of night-time activities, watching TV, doesn’t engage the brain enough to wear it down and prepare it for sleep. Reading does a great job of this, but once the light is out, other mental gymnastics are excellent for continuing to put the mind to sleep. Counting tasks work pretty well, especially counting backwards. However, my experience is that these are a little too easy and can take awhile to put me to sleep. Rehearsing memory work is enough of an effort to quickly tire the brain, but because the material is familiar to you it is possible to drift right into sleep while doing it.
- To keep the mind focused on one thing – One of the primary reasons our brains cling to consciousness is because they are “wandering” from subject to subject. The moment one thought becomes tiresome the mind leaps to something else, and thus it keeps itself entertained and awake. Or it simply finds problem after problem to worry about. Mind games such as counting and especially memorizing lock the brain on one thing, keeping out most distractions, which allows the brain to settle down and drift into sleep.
Like I already said, I’ve memorized a few different things, so I have a pretty good arsenal of material to go to when I need to get to sleep. I like having longer texts memorized that I can practice while trying to sleep. The longer it is, the less likely I will feel anxious about getting to the end and still being awake. However, rarely do I need more than a few sentences or paragraphs before I become drowsy. From there it is only a few more moments before I lose consciousness. It really is amazing how effective this technique is!
What kinds of things can you use?
You may be thinking, “I can’t memorize anything. How is this going to help me”. You might be surprised by all the things you do have memorized. Consider these options:
- song lyrics
- excerpts from TV shows or movies
- famous speeches (Gettysburg Address, I Have a Dream, Declaration of Independence)
- Children’s Books
- Scripture passages
If you don’t think you can memorize anything, start out with some song lyrics. Pick a few songs that you know you can sing all the words to. Review the lyrics and practice saying them instead of singing them. You should only need to learn a few songs. Once you can say them from memory, try them out that night when you go to sleep. It might take a few nights of practicing this technique, but soon you should be falling asleep quickly with little effort!