Do your thoughts turn to leaping livestock whenever you have trouble sleeping? You may want to adjust your focus.
Raed Hawa, a certified physician and sleep medicine expert at Toronto Western Hospital, claims that counting sheep may be counterproductive to falling asleep faster.
“Some people end up placing too much cognitive attention on the act of counting sheep (some ever concerned about the imagined sheep’s size, colour and so on), which prevents them from relaxing (the original purpose of counting sheep).”
Hawa contends that the best treatment for sleeplessness is cognitive behavioural therapy. In simple terms, this therapy involves relaxation and imaginary relocation, two exercises that any individual can perform on the comfort or their own bed.
The main goal of the treatment is to move the subject’s thoughts away from their considerations that are stress inducing.
If an individual is occupied with imagining an active scene of sheep jumping over a fence, he or she is engaging in a creative process too complex for proper relaxation.
So forget about your wooly friends and pivot your focus towards relaxing your whole body. Start with the top of your head and move to the tips of your toes. Then think of a setting you could place yourself in that would offer the highest degree of relaxation. This place can be drawn from a memory or purely fictional. Put yourself in the scene and imagine falling asleep.
And if your chosen scene does involve barn animals, try to keep their feet on the ground.