Sleep | Overthinking | Mental Health | ADHD | Self Improvement

The Joy of Sleeping Well

A simple method I use to combat my overactive mind

Alan AJ
3 min readNov 24, 2021

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A soft toy dog in bed. The caption says shows the title of the article: The Joy of Sleeping Well. The bed sheets are green, and the pillows are dark grey.
Photo taken by the author, Autistic Widower.

At night time, my mind is often flitting from one thought to another, and repeatedly going over every problem it can imagine. Now that I think about it, the same thing happens during the daytime as well!

When I’m in bed at night, with all that going on in my mind, it can be hard for me to get to sleep. And if I happen to wake up during the night, it’s often hard for me to get back to sleep again.

In this short article, I describe my current technique for getting to sleep. It’s very simple. And like many of my ideas, it’s a bit unusual. I wasn’t even sure if I should share it, because it probably sounds a bit silly to most people. But it seems to help me, so here goes.

At various points over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching The Joy of Painting by the late Bob Ross. I never knew about the show when it was first aired, but I used to watch it with my late wife, maybe ten or twenty years ago. And over the last few years, I’ve watched it with my children.

There is usually a moment in each episode, when Bob says something like, ‘You can do anything you want to do here. This is your world.’

Several months ago, when I was struggling to get to sleep, I thought about Bob’s show, and what he used to say. That began to quieten my noisy mind.

But the biggest effect came after I adapted Bob’s words: I told myself:

‘You can think about anything you want to think about — anything at all.’

It sent a shiver down my spine, and it’s hard to explain why. In the past, when I’ve tried to control what I think when I’m in bed, it hasn’t tended to work for more than a minute or two. But this time, it felt like I believed in it.

I’ve no idea what I actually think about — often it’s very little. It’s just that there’s a kind of excitement about the limitless possibilities that exist, in the idea that I can think about anything. Anything at all.

I have to admit that there are some nights when it doesn’t work so well. But even on those nights, saying that line in my head — and believing in it — does at least help a little.

Thank you for reading!

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Alan AJ

Random life stories, opinions, and a dry sense of humour. A 55-year-old former electronics engineer and programmer in England. Previously 'Autistic Widower'.