Bedtime Autosuggestion

We all have heard stories or perhaps had personal experiences of the effects of bedtime autosuggestion--even though you may not had a name for it before this very moment. The story goes like this. An unresolved nagging problem occupies the mind in the moments before going to sleep at the end of the day. Sometime during the night or upon waking in the morning the solution presents itself with sudden clarity and correctness.

There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that while you sleep the mind continues working along the line of the last thing you were thinking about before falling asleep. This mental inertia or momentum keeps your mind, actually your subconscious mind, working on the issue even while the conscious mind is enjoying a good night's sleep.

Bedtime autosuggestion is one of the ways to intentionally present to your subconscious mind an issue that you want to work on during the "off" time.

My bedtime autosuggestion method is pictorial in nature. It is not my idea. I read about it in The Genie Within, a book by Harry Carpenter. He learned it from someone else, I'm sure. The method has been around for a while. It involves looking at images, which represent the goals of your autosuggestion, just before going to sleep for the night.

This method is convenient for several reasons. Images are the language of your subconscious mind, and viewing images allows you to concentrate on the goal imagery of your autosuggestions. Images are concrete and, unlike words, are less likely to be interpreted by the subconscious mind in a way contrary to conscious intent. Viewing images is also more engaging than the repetition of autosuggestions, which can become boring in just a few brief minutes.

I draw my goals onto an image card for me to review and reflect on as the last thing before sleep. It's easy to make your own image card. You probably have all the materials already.


You will need:

  • A fine felt tip permanent marker. You will be handling the card every night so use something that will not smudge.
  • A 4x6 index card, without lines. You will be illustrating your autosuggestion on the card.


Like all self-hypnosis sessions, it helps to have a goal and a plan. Determine what your goal is going to be and the kinds of behavior that will support your goal. It is best to have one central theme to illustrate your goal. There may, however, be several supporting behavioral goals to your illustration.

Once you have some notion of your autosuggestion then it is time to begin drawing. Find a quiet place to work and begin drawing. As you draw you may experience feelings of resistance or perhaps feelings that your drawing is right on target. It is important to create a drawing that evokes positive feelings. It may take several attempts before completing a drawing which expresses your goal in the best way and that feels just right for you. This part of the process is critical so be prepared to discard ideas, make significant revisions or change direction before arriving at a satisfactory drawing. It's all part of the discovery process of creating a personal image card which resonates with the deepest parts of your being.

What if you are not an graphic artist? Good news, neither am I. Producing fine art is not necessary. Rather it is the heartfelt expression of personally meaningful goals in a visual manner that matters. Simple stick figures will express the goals to your mind if they are meaningful. So don't worry about your artistic abilities as long as you can recognize what you have drawn and it allows you to focus your intent.

But what if you are completely uncomfortable making your own drawings? While I strongly recommend making your own drawings because they are expressed from your inner self there are other ways to create pictorial autosuggestions. Cut out or scan and print appropriate images from magazines and newspapers and then paste them onto your card. Trim or crop the images closely to include only the critical elements of your autosuggestion. You can even collect pictures in an app like Pinterest and view them on a phone. (Although, there is some evidence to suggest that viewing the blue light emitted from electronic displays late in the evening can interfere with sleep).

Let's look at an example of a bedtime autosuggestion that I created to increase my metabolism. I use this with other self-hypnosis techniques to control my weight. It has one central idea: the release and elimination of excess calories through increased metabolism. Well, perhaps that is two central ideas. Additional supporting behaviors related to diet and exercise are sprinkled throughout the drawing. This is what the various elements of my drawing mean to me:

Excess calorie storage in my body is depicted by the hopper shown on the left of the card. There is a lever labeled RELEASE, shown in the down position and which has opened the bottom door of the excess calorie storage hopper. Excess calories labeled EC and which look like firewood or logs have dropped out of the hopper and into a railway ore car---like the ones in an Indiana Jones movie. The ore cars are full and travel down the track to my METABOLIC FURNACE, which I drew like a chiminea. Inside the burning area of the chiminea is an excess calorie log burning. The energy meter on the chiminea shows it is producing high energy. The excess calories are consumed in fire and the smoke is seen emerging from the chiminea with the text CALORIES COMPLETELY BURNED UP---the smoke wafting up high to the statement MY POWER STATION ONLINE 24/7/365. That means this is a never ending process. Some additional statements are written around the card related to goal supporting behaviors: exercise activities and diet. You can tell that I am not much of an illustrator, but artfulness is not important. Rather, it's the strong personal connection to the images that matters.

It took several attempts before settling on this illustration. Each time I added another element to the drawing. It was as if my subconscious mind was offering ideas for additions to make the drawing more meaningful to me. Each new element that I added made me more confident that the drawing represented my goal in a more personal way. Several elements were also removed throughout the development of this card. I must have redrawn this card five or six times during the time I have been using it. It has been several months since my last revision and I have not had any urge to make another change. And by the way, my weight has dropped about 13 pounds since I started this bedtime pictorial autosuggestion.


I don't like keeping secrets. But in this case I recommend that your pictorial bedtime autosuggestion be kept a secret, especially when you are first starting out. People who are not familiar with the power of the subconscious mind and the methods which can activate your dreams may choose to invalidate your power to effect personal change. This can undermine your faith in the process. Remember, all self-hypnosis techniques rely upon and are activated by belief, desire and expectation. All three are required for success. If someone upsets your balance in any of these three areas, the positive effects will be strongly muted. For that reason, when starting out, keep this all to yourself until you have successes to bolster your confidence. I don't mind sharing my cards with the public because I know this method works for me and no one can say anything to shake my belief. Once you reach that point, then share if you must. Otherwise, keep things low.

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