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Step One


Step 1: Count Your Breaths
Counting practices are probably the best-known method to calm a person to sleep. Don't resist the thoughts that come into your head, but try not to follow them either. Instead, accept them and provide yourself with an alternative focus.

Notice as the thoughts float into your consciousness... then observe as they float away.

Count an inhale as one, an exhale as two, and so on. When you reach five or ten, go back to one. Relax your breathing. Breathe as slowly and deeply as you comfortably can. There doesn't need to be any strain - only calmness and gratitude that you can rest now after all of the activity of the day.

"Turn off your mind...relax and float downstream," sang the Beatles, quoting the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

You can also try counting a succession of visualized objects (such as the stereotypical flock of sheep jumping over a fence), but counting breaths has an advantage: they're real, and you probably won't feel as silly as you might when tracking imaginary items.

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