Has the counting sheep technique ever worked for anyone? Maybe it is because my brain is all over the place, but I can’t do it. I don’t mean I can’t fall asleep. I mean I can’t count sheep in my mind.
I was in high school the very first time I tried. I was laying there in my bed after about a half hour of tossing and turning and decided I’d try this old fashioned method. In my mind was the image of a prairie with a wooden fence running across it. The first fluffy white animated sheep appeared and jumped over the fence. One.
Then came another. Two.
And another. Three.
I could feel myself starting to relax when I noticed that now the sheep were coming faster. Four, five, six. Then before I knew it, they were coming way too fast for me to count. I was feeling like Lucy in the chocolate factory, only without it being funny and without the benefit of eating chocolate!
It stressed me out so I had to stop. I opened my eyes and just rested there. When I decided to try it again, the image of the field was filled with sheep, all staring at me.
Throughout the years I’ve periodically tried it again, but now on each attempt the sheep are standing in the pasture shaking their heads. That was not meant to be.
I do have another visualization technique that actually does work. Back when I was in the fifth grade, we had a special science presentation in which one of the teachers went down to the butcher and brought back a beef lung. I remember walking into class and seeing this big pinkish lump sitting there. While there was the initial gross factor, I thought it was so cool when he connected the bicycle pump to the lungs and blew them up! They got bigger and bigger and bigger. He released the air and did it a few more times. Before that, I had no idea what was going on in my chest when I breathed. That demonstration has provided me with an amazing image that has lasted more than 30 years.
What does a cow lung have to do with sleep? Well, the only way I can concentrate on my breathing is to give my brain something to do. I picture my lungs expanding and contracting in great detail. Normally that will calm down a racing mind until my body can drift back off.
Has anyone else ever failed at a visualization exercise? or What were some of the cool science presentations that you saw when you were in school?