Tim Ferriss (@tferriss) recently interviewed physicist Safi Bahcall (@safibahcall), and Safi offered some interesting tips on hypnosis, relaxation and falling asleep. The complete interview can be found on the Tim Ferriss website here.

Have A Seat

His first tip is when you close your eyes and start to fall asleep, start to get really curious about the visuals you see. He uses the example of seeing a chair, and then asking yourself things like, “What does the chair look like? What is the texture? Is it spinning?” Things of that nature. Just get curious about the object.

Slowly the object changes from something vague into a sharper image, and the sharper it becomes, the deeper you get into a trance. He says to keep asking yourself, “What is the item going to turn into next?” Just follow it. Redirect your racing thoughts into this one object to help calm yourself.

Pick A Number

Safi had a second trick, especially if you’re a bit more auditory in nature. If you tend to hear a dialogue in the back of your head, try this method. He said to ask the audio generator in your brain to focus on generating a random double-digit number between one and 100 (I guess it would really be between 11 and 100). Using a double-digit number versus a single-digit number keeps your brain more engaged so that it won’t go back to playing the dialogue that was keeping you awake in the first place. It has to focus upon generating the double-digit number.

By generating these random double-digit numbers (don’t go in order 33, 34, 35… or it will be too boring and your brain will go back to the negative dialogue you were trying to avoid), you’ll be keeping your video and audio brain engineers occupied. Safi said he pictures the numbers being fired out of a cannon. This is an excellent way to take your brain away from the racing inner thoughts that were preventing you from falling asleep.

Later on in the interview, Safi describes a more detailed procedure of personifying the thought patterns in your head and how to not battle and constantly replay these thoughts in your head, but instead acknowledge and use them to your benefit. This is also very interesting, but I’ll let you listen to Tim’s podcast for the details on this strategy.  Trust me, you’ll want to take some notes and try these techniques.

Quick References:
The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss interview and transcript with Safi Bahcall
Tim Ferriss on Twitter
Safi Bahcall on Twitter