If you’re a busy person (Who of us is not busy?) you may often receive an unbidden wake-up call at two a.m. On some nights you roll over and fall back to sleep in a few minutes, but more often than not you wind up staring at the dark . . . thinking.
- How can I get my boss to invest in Project X?
- Are we saving enough for retirement?
- Will my mother/father like the senior living center?
The list goes on, and if you ever get to the end of the list you start all over again. Your mind and body are exhausted. You need more sleep but can’t stop thinking.
To key to more rest is to distract your mind from the endless churning, and then to lull it back to sleep with a boring task.
Lately, I’ve had success with a game I call Counting Sevens. The goal of the game is simple: Count upward by sevens in your head until you reach an even one hundred.
“Wait a minute,” you say, “seven doesn’t go evenly into one hundred.”
Correct! So here’s how the game works.
Start off counting by seven: 7, 14, 21, 28 . . . and onward until you hit 84, 91, 98, 105. STOP.
You went over one hundred, so take the 5 from your first number over one hundred and start all over again.
5, 12, 19, 26 . . . 89, 96, 103, STOP.
Do it again.
3, 10, 17, 24 . . . 87, 94, 101 STOP.
Repeat as needed UNTIL you get to an even one hundred.
1, 8, 15, 22 . . . 85, 92, 99, 106
6, 13, 20, 27 . . . 83, 90, 97, 104
4, 11, 18, 25 . . . 81, 88, 95, 102
2, 9, 16, 23 . . . 79, 86, 93, 100.
BING! You won!
Here’s the thing: Keeping track of the count in your head is just hard enough to distract your mind from those thoughts that keep you awake. At the same time, counting sevens is repetitive enough—i. e. boring—that it will often lure you back to sleep before you reach the even one hundred.
Count slowly . . . pausing mentally between numbers to calm your mind. Don’t slow the cadence so far that it allows your brain to jump back to those other thoughts.
If you make it to the even one hundred . . . slow the count further and start over again at 7.
Happy ZZZzzzzz . . .
HEY — no trick works for everyone. What’s your cure for insomnia?
Share Counting Sevens with anyone who suffers from insomnia; it just might lull them back to sleep.