As a child I read, in a woman’s magazine, of a get to sleep process I have used ever since. When sleep eludes me, I focus on the muscles at the top of my head and completely relax them. Then the muscle relaxation process moves down my face, through my neck and chest. I go down one arm at a time, relaxing all the way to the fingers. Sometimes I have to tense a muscle first to feel it and know when it has relaxed.

My muscle relaxation focus proceeds down each leg and if I’m still awake by that time, I begin again. Usually, before two trips down my body have been completed, I’ll be asleep. I think it works by relaxing the mind as well as the body. It’s almost a type of meditation, concentrating the mind on one physical area at a time so that the many thoughts assailing it and forcing wakefulness, fall into the background until they are forgotten.