Sadly, this post is not a shortcut for actually falling asleep, because I need one. I’ve tried the 2-minute Air Force method, the 4-7-8 breathing method, and anything else that comes up in a web search, but I just get far too invested in whatever trick I need to be doing and how it’s making me feel that my mind can’t wander away into sleep.
Instead, this post is about a little tool I made for when I take my naps. I don’t typically fall asleep unless I’ve had a particularly bad night, but having 30 minutes of calm relaxing darkness is pleasant nevertheless. And who knows, maybe with enough practice I actually will be able to fall asleep more quickly.
I made an iOS shortcut
It’s called I’m Taking a Nap
Shortcuts are new to me. They’re a pretty nifty continuation of AppleScript and Automator before them. They let you make little macros that do things on your phone, like change settings or control apps.
What’s especially cool is that they integrate with Siri, so when I’m putting on my sleep mask all I need to do is say“Hey Siri, I’m taking a nap.”
Then, three things happen:
- The phone goes into Do Not Disturb mode
- A 30 minute timer starts1
- Soft music comes on
I’ve personally chosen “The Trip” from Dave Rawlings’ Nashville Obsolete. It’s gentle, loping, with enigmatic lyrics. It’s also more than 10 minutes long so it only ends up repeating 3 times. My hope is that I can be used to it enough that it catches my attention so I don’t think about falling asleep, but I can still tune it out enough that it’s not the thing keeping me awake.
If you install the shortcut on your own device it should ask you what music you want to play. You could also swap out the iTunes action and have Shortcuts open up Calm or some other relaxing-noise app.
Seriously, though, if you have any leads on good ways to fall asleep for people who get overexcited about trying to fall asleep, let me know.
- Ideally this comes out to 10 minutes of falling asleep and 20 minutes in Stage 2. If you go much longer than that (and actually fall asleep) you’ll end up in R.E.M. sleep and wake up super groggy.↩