fbpx Strategies for Sleepless Nights | CCNM-ICC

One of the most important factors when it comes to health is ensuring that we get a good night's rest. Sleep plays an irreplaceable role in our overall health and well-being. When we sleep, we give our body a chance to rest and repair. Proper sleep helps promote healthy brain function, growth and development, digestion, and immune function. A good night's sleep is also protective against a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. 

Some nights, sleep is difficult to come by. Instead of spending the night tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, or counting sheep, here are 3 simple strategies you can try to help yourself fall or get back to sleep: 

Cognitive Shuffling  

Cognitive shuffling is an exercise developed with the goal of interrupting the patterns of thought that might be keeping you awake at night. It’s simple and easy and it could help you either fall asleep or help fall back asleep: 

  1. Choose a word, such as “slumber” 
  2. Start with the first letter of your chosen word, “s” and think of a word that starts with the letter “s”. For example, “spatula”. Visualize the image of a spatula.  
  3. Next, think of another word that begins with the letter “s” and visualize that word. Continue with the letter “s” until you run out of words. 
  4. Then, go on to the next letter in “slumber”, which is “l”. Think about words that begin with “l” and visualize each of these.  
  5. Continue repeating these steps until you reach the end of the word, or you fall asleep. 

Body Scan  

Difficulty with sleep can often be a result of having trouble relaxing your body and quieting your mind. A body scan is a meditative practice that can be helpful in releasing mental and physical tension from your day. With body scanning, you make your way through each area of the body, noticing any sensations or tension that may be present and gently release it, allowing your body to soften and relax.

You can likely find several guided body scans on the internet, so we suggest finding one that you enjoy listening to. Here is one that we like from the meditation app Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com/thehappyhabit/guided-meditations/bedtime-body-scan-for-deep-sleep 

Adult Bedtime Stories 

We often listened to, or read bedtime stories as children to help us fall asleep, so why not try them for ourselves now! You can find bedtime stories designed for promoting sleep on several meditation apps such as: 

Author: Sydne Valiquette, CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre Intern