The ABC of falling asleep
Difficulty falling asleep is a common problem for games developers: coming home late still wired from work, worrying about a deadline, anxious about a disagreement that you could have handled better, concerned about a promotion or a pay rise, doubts about your performance, fear about the future of the project …
Once in a while isn't so much of a problem but the consequences of regular or frequent sleepless nights will be physically visible the very next day and will impact your performance after a few days: less tolerant, less patient, more argumentative, less focus ... we've all been there.
Eventually you're going to need to address what prevents you from falling asleep (better ways to handle arguments, your performance, etc) but until you do that there are ways to help you sleep until those issues are resolved.
The way that works best for me is what I call the "Better ABC" method. I have no idea why it works and when I first read about it I didn't believe it would - I tried it once out of sheer frustration ... and promptly fell asleep. It beats the other method I had been using before (I'll write about that too, as an alternative).
Here's how it works:
Lie in your sleeping position, clear your mind and breathe slowly, aware of your breathing. When your mind is clear picture, for each letter of the alphabet, a positive word describing yourself in your professional environment:
Don’t think too hard about it, if you can’t find a word just skip to the next letter. Let your brain move to the next letter and find the next word.
You can also vary the topics and find positive words that describe you physically, or your management style, or you as a colleague, or as a friend, etc. The objective is to let your brain do some light work to slowly tune out - and get it thinking positive thoughts about yourself is a bonus.
I promise it's not a pointless remedy like drinking a glass of milk (who did that ever work for?. I don’t know how it works but it does – I never get to Z. Try it and you’ll see. Good night!