Saturday, December 24, 2011

Can You Tell When You Fall Asleep?

...or can you tell when you wake up? To me, consciousness has always been an intriguing matter. How can it be that sleep is such an effective time-out? What happens to my conscious mind, or unconscious mind, for that matter? I believe my interest has served me well. Let me share a tiny bit of how.

Can you tell when you fall asleep? The way I define "falling asleep" is the moment when I move from conscious to unconscious. How would you define it?

Here's what I do to find out when sleep hits in. While falling asleep I often listen to conference talks or some inspirational recorded training. The next morning I believe I'm able to tell eXactly when I "lost consciousness" simply by listening to the recording again or by reading through its text. Unequivocally, I easily remember the last thing I consciously heard. To me it's just a fun exercise.

Can You Tell When You Wake Up?
Talking with other people, I find that waking up differs greatly from person to person. Here's how "waking up" works in general...

In reality we may "wake up" many times during the night, i.e. our consciousness kind of "comes and goes" due to REM sleep stages. Watch this clip to see a simplified illustration of how REM sleep works.

Problem Solving During REM Sleep
Scientific studies seem to indicate that we're highly creative during REM sleep. This is my experience exactly. I frequently retire at night with an unresolved problem or challenging task waking up with a solution in the morning.

At first this happened "accidentally". The past twenty years it's become a conscious effort. How? Well, before going to sleep I define the problem or task I want to solve. I may even write it down. Then, while falling asleep, I try to explore and deeply think it through. During REM sleep (for me usually somewhere between 4 and 5 or 5 and 6 in the morning) my mind will come up with creative suggestions.

Self Programming
There are many ways in which we can put our amazing brain to work for us. It is believed that our unconscious mind contains 80 million times more information than our conscious mind, suggesting that the unconscious represents a much greater reservoir to solutions.

One way to tap into the powers of the unconscious is through "self programming". This Christmas season I will do another self programing project. What's that? It's something I picked up in 1992. Quite simply, it's where you make a simple recording of active words stating who and what you want to be as if you've already made the changes expressed. Such a recording can effectively be used as a tool while listening both consciously and unconsciously.

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