One Technique to Get to Sleep


I can bet we have all experienced nights where we lay in bed and find ourselves unable to fall asleep. By watching this six-minute video with Psychiatrist Dr. Duke-Sui, you can learn one technique to help you get to sleep. Listen and then try it tonight!

Wishing you a restorative night's sleep.

Video: Dr. Duke-Sui and One Technique to Get to Sleep


Tian Duke-Sui, M.D. is a board-certified Adult Psychiatrist and board-eligible Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Dr. Duke-Sui joined Family Psychiatry Practice Associates (FPPA) as the Medical Director in 2022. He completed his General Psychiatry Residency at the University of Florida and his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Duke-Sui practices evidence-based medicine that utilizes the most current research in providing diagnostic assessments, medication management, individual psychotherapy, and consultative evaluations for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Dr. Duke-Sui values the collaborative care model to create a patient-centered team that incorporates patient goals. Dr. Duke-Sui strives to provide an exceptional quality of care while integrating a multidisciplinary approach to meet the unique physical and behavioral health care needs for individuals with complex medical and psychiatric histories.

Family Psychiatry Practice & Associates (FPPA) specializes in comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, medication management, psychological testing, educational evaluations, parenting skills enhancement, individual and couples therapies, school liaison and individualized educational services. You can learn more at



Katie Pegoraro: So I had the inspiration for this topic when I had my own experience recently of taking a call with employees in Asia Pacific Time zone. And so that meant I was wrapping up the call around 8:30 PM my time and got into bed shortly, you know, after. And I could not just kind of turn off that that work part of my brain have been too, too soon, you know, too recent to when I was working.

And so it got me thinking about the fact that we're a global company here at SAS, there are a lot of employees that take calls across different time zones. They might be taking meetings later in the evening depending on where they are. And you know, we also just have the, the flexibility where somebody might do some work in the evening because they decided to do something else during the day. So we've done a lot of of programming here at SAS and Work/Life on sleep, but I really wanted to focus on how can you make that transition really quickly to sleep if you are, you know doing something in the evening that's maybe a little bit more stimulating.

And you have a really, you have a way of explaining how the mind works and a technique that I'll be honest when I've heard you share it before I've I've thought, there's no way it's that simple, but it actually is and and it's worked for me and so I'm I'm just really pleased to to have you on this recording so that we can share it with with the rest of of employees and families. So I'll hand it off to you to share.

Dr. Duke-Sui: Thank you, Katie. Yeah. So you definitely said something interesting with the mind that it can be very hard to kind of shut off at night. And what's interesting about the mind is that it's not like a physical structure like the brain or the heart of the lungs. It's really just a collection of thoughts, like a revolving door of thoughts. And a thought will come in, stay for a while and leave and the next thought will come and replace it, stay for a while, then leave.

What's interesting is that after a thought has left and before the next enters. Sometimes there's a gap between thoughts, and it feels, like silence. This is something that can be very helpful to help you fall asleep with. And to achieve it, there's kind of two parts to it.

One is to breathe slowly. Because the more slowly you breathe, the more slowly thoughts enter the mind. So sometimes that's breathing into your belly like breathing into your belly button. Sometimes you can use methods like imagining that you're breathing air to the top of your head and it's going down your face and your neck and your body down your legs to your toes, and then exhaling up. Exhaling up your head again. This is like a way to relax your physical body, while also breathing more slowly. Another way is like the pun of grounding. You could imagine you're breathing air through the bottom of your feet and it's rising. Up your body, up your legs or torso, the top of your head, and then exhaling down.

So this allows you to breathe more slowly and to have more slow thoughts. The natural opposite is when someone has like a panic attack and they're they're hyperventilating and they're breathing very quickly and having racing thoughts. So as we breathe slowly, we're having more slow thoughts.

The second-half of this is to breathe, to breathe, to be a witnessing awareness of this. And sometimes that's like instead of getting entangled in thoughts, just simply observing them when they enter and not following those thoughts down a rabbit hole. So as we watch our thoughts enter the mind, stay for awhile and leave, and we watch the next that comes in. Well, at some point you’ll see a gap between thoughts. And as you practice this, you’ll find these gaps between thoughts more easy to come by.

Usually this is something I recommend doing at bedtime. So for example, in my own life I'll be lying my pillow with the covers up to my chin, and I'll breathe slowly. While observing whatever thoughts might enter my mind and I'll just be alert of. That these thoughts are coming but not getting entangled them and this helps me drift into sleep. And in the morning when I am just realizing I'm awake even before I open my eyes for the day and I'm still lying in bed, I will begin to do another 10 minutes of this type of meditation. This helps me begin my day and end my day meditating, and this practice helps people eventually use meditation during stressful moments. Yeah.

Katie Pegoraro: I was feeling better as I was breathing along with you, as you were describing the in and out slow breath. I have to say what I found the whole the way you describe that space between the thoughts, I've found it very empowering to recognize them and to to really see them. Because what it's done for me is to show, oh, your thought does have an end. And then there is a time before the next one, because sometimes I think one thought can feel so overwhelming and then the progressive thoughts after that and so I think it's, it's just empowering to be aware of that space in the 1st place. So I really appreciate that. Wanted to share.

Dr. Duke-Sui: Thank you. That's wonderful to hear. I'm glad it's been so helpful. It's a power that we all have and maybe we just haven't recognized it and it's a little treasure trove that you know, we all can explore.

Katie Pegoraro: Yeah. Well, thank you. We just wanted to give a real short and sweet technique. I hope everybody can can try it maybe tonight when they're trying to fall asleep. And so this video is on a blog post page where we'll have all of your information for your practice if anybody is interested in in reaching out to try to meet with you or to find out more, yeah, any last minute thoughts before we wrap up.

Dr. Duke-Sui: Yeah. You know, thank you so much for allowing me to be here with you all today and I wish you all a very restful sleep tonight. Thank you. Thank you.

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About Author

Katie Seavey Pegoraro

Sr Associate Work Life Program Manager

Katie Seavey Pegoraro supports employees with issues of stress and balance, providing tools and resources to cope when life feels overwhelming. Katie is a contact for those who may be coping with issues of mental health, substance use, or grief and loss. A young professional herself, Katie is a unique support to employees who are navigating the many life transitions that occur in your 20's and 30's.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much for this, Katie! Noticing the space in between thoughts is such a powerful tool. I'm really glad he pointed this out, as it's something that I've learned about from various meditation teachers but that is easy to forget.

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