wakeful sleeping: the art of sleeping without sleeping

Applications: A useful technique for anyone experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode, and for insomniacs of all kinds including mystics, gnostics and/or anyone in the long dark night of zer soul. A combination of visualisation, affirmation, prayer and meditation, the technique can be used for several consecutive nights, but consult your physician if you need to use it for more than four nights in a row.

Instructions: Lie flat on your back with appropriate support (for your head and behind your neck). Do whatever you need to do to relax. ‘Tune in’ to your own heartbeat, as it were a metronome. Using earplugs will help you identify/establish your ‘inner rythm’ or pulse.

When you are relaxed and aware of your heartbeat, then practise the three stages in order (‘Thought’, ‘Word’, ‘Deed’) as described below. By all means customise either or both Thought and/or Word, but leave Deed alone: it works best as is.

Thought Stage: Your breathing should be deep and slow. If you can, try and synchronise your breathing to your heartbeat. Think the following words, ie say them in your mind, as if you were visualizing the letters and words being printed on the inside of your skull:

I am practising the technique for wakeful sleeping. The technique helps me restore, revive, renew, refresh, revitalize, rejuvenate and re-energize my mind, body and soul.
The technique is as efficient if not more so than normal sleep. Thank you […]”

Whoever / whatever you want to thank is entirely up to you. You can thank any entity or being you like, including yourself, your god, your mother, your guardian angel, whatever. Here are a few examples:

Thank you [your-own-name]”, “Thank you God”, "Thank you [name-of-your-god]”, “Thank you mom”, Thank you [name-of-your-mom]”, etc.
For the technique to be effective, it is important to be absolutely sincere, intensely grateful.

Word Stage: Speak or say the words of the thought out loud, ie “I am practising…” etc. When you get to the 'thank you' part, be as sincere and as grateful as you possibly can be. Be truly, humbly grateful.

Deed Stage: Timing is important in the Deed part of the cycle. Use your own pulsebeat as your timer. You will find that using earplugs makes it easier to identify your pulsebeat. The Deed stage has two parts: Exhale and Inhale (in that order)

Exhale: Purse the lips and expel air slowly and strongly, pranayama-style, clenching the stomach muscles and the chest muscles in turn until the very last particle of air is expelled from the lungs. The duration of the exhalation should be no more and no less than four pulsebeats. Count the pulsebeats in your mind, but see note below for how to count.

When the lungs are empty, swallow hard and immediately keep your throat ‘locked down’ in the unreleased swallow position. Do not breath for eight pulsebeats (or six if you find eight too challenging). Count the pulsebeats in your mind, but see note below for how to count.

Inhale: At the beginning of the ninth (or seventh) pulsebeat, take one single slow, deep breath in through the nose (do not open your mouth). Take one slow continuous breath to fill your lungs to capacity, to bursting point almost. The inhalation is a mirror image of the exhalation: both should be of four pulsebeats, no more and no less. Count the pulsebeats in your mind, but see note below for how to count.

When the lungs are completely full, 'lock down' the throat as before, to prevent any air escaping out of the lungs. Do not expel any air for at least eight (or six) pulsebeats. Count the pulsebeats in your mind, but see note below for how to count.

Repeat the Thought, Word, Deed cycle at least five times. After five (or more) cycles, let your breathing return to normal, deep pranayama-style breathing (in through nose, out through pursed lips). Relax and enjoy the sensations.

Please note: This technique does not help you sleep, or put you to sleep. What it does is help you get all the benefits of sleep, without being asleep, ie while you are awake.

Throughout the Deed Stage, empty your mind of all thoughts, concepts or words, except for one: “white”. This means you should either mentally visualise “white” as the absence of any colour and all colours, or if you find that difficult, simply repeat the word “white” in your mind over and over. Whilever you are doing the eight, six or four counts (as stipulated above) do not count numbers (ie ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ etc.). Instead, you should count by saying the word “white” eight (or six, or four) times inside your mind.

I realise it all sounds very 'new-age'. But try it anyway. And be as cynical as you like. Fake it until you make it. Whether you believe or not, it really works!! Trust me, I'm not a doctor.