Sleep Well: mini-mission


Ahh… if only it were that easy. I tell you to sleep well, and you do. The end.

After a night of tossing and turning, the bags under your eyes are bigger, your patience is smaller and often a good day is wasted.

While one night of poor sleep can make you feel zombie like the next day, years of tossing and turning can lead to weight gain, chronic stress, fatigue and an unhealthy life.

I usually sleep great. 7-9 hours is perfect for me. You may need less or more, and know when you’ve experienced a perfect night of sleep. Your mind is sharp and focused, and your body is full of energy.

This mini-mission is for you, your family and your sanity. Sleep Well. 

There are some nights when I don’t sleep well. I do all the right things to fall asleep, but nothing works.

That is, until I took Leo Babauta’s suggestion. “The simplest cure for insomnia: get comfortable and close your eyes, and then replay your day in your head, in every detail possible, from the moment you woke up. Start from the moment your eyes opened, and replay every movement — getting out of bed, starting the coffeemaker, going to the bathroom, washing your hands, or whatever. Don’t summarize — leave nothing out.”

When I can’t sleep, my mind starts racing, I think of all the things I need to do, or want to plan. This forward thinking leads to worry and anxiety. With Leo’s brilliant method, you simply replay each detail of the day. Everything is done.

It seems to good to be true, but I’ve practiced this method on the few occasions that I couldn’t fall asleep and it works. I bring my mind back through every tiny detail of the day, “I walked over to the sink, took the cap off the toothpaste, squeezed a little toothpaste on my toothbrush, ran water over the brush….” Come on, that could put just about anyone to sleep!

Give it a try. Goodnight. Sleep well.

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. Pascale says

    I’ve been reading your posts for quite some time now and I love them. I especially love the mini-missions. Thanks for such a great tip. I’ll definitely try it.

  2. says

    I have no trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep? Different story. I’ve tried many thinking/breathing ways of calming what I call Hamster Brain, but what’s really made a difference for me is melatonin (at my doctor’s suggestion). Seem to be getting fewer migraines since I started. Also, exercise during the day and staying well-hydrated. Good rest makes all the difference in my day, my work, my relationships.

  3. says

    I’m sitting here with the black bags under my eyes, and a weeks’ worth of bad-sleep-stress hanging over me…. I’m going to give it a try :)

  4. says

    If the sound of the ocean doesn’t lull me to sleep I do what I used to do for my son when he was little . . . I imagine I’m floating on a soft cloud (or a fuzzy pedal of a flower) totally safe and warm. I’m able to comfortably gaze at images slowly passing by . . . I passively watch and soon drift off to sleep.

    Another thing I do to fall asleep is I build a house in my head. I did this for years and ended up actually building that house in reality. I start with the location, the property, the surroundings, then on to the floor plan, etc. Every little detail. I do the same with gardens. I also did this with relationships . . . that’s how I met my second (current) fabulous husband! I dreamed him up and he actually came to my front door!

    I’ll try Leo’s method. I live a very simple life so it ought to put me out rather quickly . . .

    thanks for this post Courtney

  5. says

    Years ago, I realized that if I replayed a recent game of golf in my mind that I would fall asleep before I finished the second hole. So, the replaying of the day or the building of the house sound like good ideas.

    The only problem with replaying the day is that sometimes the events of the day (usually something bad or stressful) is what keeps me awake!

    Another thing I often do: I learned in a college psychology class to begin slowly relaxing your body from your toes to your head. Once you’re in a comfortable sleeping position, wiggle your toes and relax them. Once your toes are relaxed, move to your ankles, then the entire foot, then your lower leg, etc.

    I don’t recall ever making it to my knee.

    Good mini-mission, Courtney!

  6. says

    This system actually works well for getting my toddler to go to sleep. If I talk her through her day in some detail, she’s better able to put herself to sleep. Not always! But frequently.

  7. says

    I usually don’t have trouble sleeping. The only thing that I need to take care of is not to sleep in the afternoon.

    What my problem is that I can’t sleep at the same time everyday and that makes it difficult to build up a routine. But I am trying!


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