Ahhh, night time. The rush of the day is done, things are winding down and it’s finally time to close your eyes and drift off into peaceful slumber. And that’s about the time your brain decides to wake up and remind you of all the things you didn’t get done that day and all the things you need to do tomorrow! What can you do when this happens? Check your Stress at the pillow! An estimated 3.3 million Canadians, aged 15 and over, have trouble falling asleep. One of the contributing factors to this is stress. It can be very stressful if you didn’t get everything done you were hoping to do in a particular day, and then worry about how that will impact your next day. Unfinished business has caused many a restless night. I used to try the proverbial counting sheep thing. However, with my mind and the way it works, it became a competition. “Gee, I wonder how MANY sheep I can make jump over the fence tonight. Oh look that sheep didn’t jump high enough and hit the fence haha. Wonder where all these sheep are coming from? Someone must know they’re loose. Hey what if sheep had Olympics and their jumps were rated?” Counterproductive… to say the least. I also read all the tricks to a good night sleep. Turn the TV off an hour before bed. Drink a glass of warm milk. Set a sleep schedule. Read a book. None of these things ever worked for me, the book thing especially, because I would invariably get caught up in a good part and stay awake way longer than I’d intended. One exercise I started practicing, and has seemed to work wonders is a form of meditation, but I call it “check your stress.” When I lay down I close my eyes, and in my mind I picture the list of things I had hoped to get done on a particular day and hadn’t. This list is titled “today”. Next to this list I picture a piece of paper that says “tomorrow” on it. Then, I click each line, one by one, and drag it over to the “tomorrow” list, and say to myself “tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Incidentally in my mind I must be picturing a computer desktop to be able to “drag” information. I’m even a tech nerd in my sleep…) I do this for each one until my “today” list is blank. This gives me a feeling of closure, which in turn relaxes me enough to be able to fall asleep. It’s something I usually only have to do during particularly busy times, but if you’re someone who thrives on structure it is something you can do each night. Take the time to check your stress. You’ll be amazed how much better you sleep!
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