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When you just can’t get to sleep

When you just can’t get to sleep image

You know the feeling- the alarm is blaring, you feel exhausted, but another day is starting and it’s time to get up. Exhausted, stressed, maybe a little panicked because you have a full schedule and you’re dead tired- because you just couldn’t get to sleep the night before. 

An old remedy we’ve probably all heard about, and which has certainly popped up in cartoons and film over the years, is ‘counting sheep to put you to sleep. While many of us city dwellers are probably don’t get to spend a lot of time watching sheep jump over hedges, let alone understand the need to count them ,the underlying principles are quite sound. We just need to get a little creative to come up with a version that works for us.


What’s the difference between your mind spinning with thoughts... worries... the to do list... and your mind being focused on just one thing? 


The trick is to get yourself focused on that single thing, to the point where your mind can slow down, switch off, and begin it’s drift to the land of nod.


So maybe you don’t want to count sheep. That’s ok, because anything that’s routine and relatively boring- yes, the opposite of exciting or panicking- is going to do the trick. If you like numbers; or don’t want to get too creative, choose a random number over 500 and then begin to count backwards in 7’s. Each time you choose a new number to start with, so you don’t get too used to what those minus 7’s will be. If you get bored with 7s, change to another number over 5. I know that’s work, but the point is to do something similar to counting those sheep- routine, not requiring major effort, and that is certainly not exciting. If you’d rather use words, choose a random complex word- like stupendous, or disproportionate, (that last one took some thought to type, so it’s a good choice), and then spell them backwards! Keep going, until your mind would rather switch off the thinking part and allow itself to settle into sleep, than spell any more words. Splendiferous! That’s exactly what you wanted.


If you need any more assistance, download: 

Get Sleep Facts and Myths, By Dr Colinda Linde

by clicking here.

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  • 2016-11-13 08:01:31

    Thanks for this advice. I also try to make up a visual story in my mind...like a movie, about doing something. Sometimes that works for me.

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    • 2016-11-14 19:44:24

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for sharing. It's a good way to de-focus from what's on your mind at bedtime when it gets quiet and the rush of the day ends; maybe worries or the dreaded to do list! And engaging all your senses like this, is like a meditation. Enjoy!

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