Insomnia is my enemy. We used to do battle regularly. It would taunt me by yelling things like “Maybe you shouldn’t have had that extra gin and tonic because now that sugar is keeping you awake!” and “Hahaha here’s every embarrassing memory you’ve ever had!”
Insomnia is a jerk.
But I have a deadly weapon that slays insomnia, and her name is Alexa.
The other weapons needed are either an Amazon Prime account or your own music library, which you have linked into Amazon Music.
Now start talking.
“Alexa, make a new playlist called bedtime.”
“Creating your new playlist, bedtime.”
“Alexa, play ‘Adagio’ by Albinoni“
“”Adagio in g minor’, by Tomasso Albinoni, starting now”
Now interrupt her once she starts playing…
“Alexa, add to my playlist ‘bedtime.'”
“Adding ‘Adagio in g minor’ to your playlist.”
It’s that simple to create a playlist. But now we need to talk about your playlist strategy.
Four songs. That’s all I’m going to allow you to put on this playlist. Just four.
“But Sarah! I know lots of great relaxing songs!” you say.
But I’m telling you right now that we are training your brain, and part of that is teaching it to be asleep by the end of song four. Don’t let it hang out and listen to an elaborate hour-long playlist. We are conditioning your brain to shut down as fast as it can. You need four songs that become so familiar that your brain knows what to do as soon as it hears the first one.
Here’s my list, which I am sharing shamelessly even though I know you are going to laugh at it. I’m baring my soul here, so be gentle.
- Golden Slumbers by the Beatles. The lyrics are the big cue for me here. I’m not sure anyone could really fall asleep to Paul yelling the lyrics off-key the way he does, but it makes for a perfect lead-in.
- Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel. This song moves the mood from rock to acoustic, with a simple piano accompaniment, and more lyrics that help me focus on releasing worries and visualizing floating away on some water.
- If I Had Words; theme from the movie Babe, with lyrics. STOP LAUGHING AT ME RIGHT NOW! I know it’s a ridiculous song. I wouldn’t be caught awake listening to it. But here again the lyrics make me ridiculously happy and nostalgic and lift my mind away from whatever it’s been obsessing over – and that’s what’s important.
- Adagio for Strings. At this point, the time for lyrics is over, and my brain needs to really chill. See if this one works for you, or try the longer classical piece I used in the example above.
Once you’ve made your own playlist, it’s time to get under the covers and talk to Alexa. First, turn that volume down so it’s soft.
“Alexa, volume 3”
“Alexa, play my playlist ‘bedtime'”
“Playing your playlist ‘bedtime'”
By naming it bedtime, you are reminding yourself, and then Alexa is also reminding you – DEAR BRAIN, IT IS BEDTIME NOW AND WE ARE NOT MESSING AROUND!
The first night, you might not fall asleep right away – but give it a little time. Used consistently, you will begin to notice something. You will wake up in the morning and realize you don’t remember hearing the fourth song. Eventually, you will not remember hearing the third song.
Me? I never hear the second verse of Bridge Over Troubled Water any more. I’m just out. As a bonus, I somehow sleep all through the night! This has changed my life.
I’m going to add one more opinion as you select your playlist music. Pick songs that you aren’t going to hear every day outside of this playlist. Pick songs that you will never hear while driving (the conditioning is real!) Pick songs that have personal meaning to you, even if they are slightly uptempo (did you listen to that song from Babe? Because it’s hilarious).
Good night. I wish you sweet dreams. I hope this helps. Please let me know what songs you’re going to try.