The Guatemalan tradition of placing a small handmade worry doll under your pillow at night is said to eliminate your worries while you sleep.
“When a person cannot sleep well due to worries, they tell the worries to a worry doll. They then put the doll under their pillow and during the night the worry doll worries in the persons place, allowing them to sleep well and awake refreshed”.
What’s keeping you up at night? Chances are it’s worry. Let’s face it: In our hectic lives, there’s always something to worry about, whether it’s a personal issue or the state of the world. Worry also can cause what is called “maintenance insomnia,” or difficulty staying asleep. This is when we wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep.
Why does worry affect our sleep? During the day we might have all the same worries, but we’re engaged in other activities that take our minds elsewhere. At night, when it’s quiet and your mind isn’t distracted, all those same worries come to the forefront, and we can’t seem to quiet them. To help settle your thoughts before hitting the sheets, it’s important to give yourself wind-down time by reading, meditating, listening to soft music or taking a warm bath. And, of course, make sure your mattress is supportive and comfortable because it’s the key to having a cozy bed to climb into.
Worrying is nothing new. It happens to everyone all over the world. Generations ago, the indigenous people of Guatemala created worry dolls as a remedy for their stress. These are tiny dolls, handcrafted with fabrics from Mayan costumes twisted and tied around small pieces of wood and wire. It’s all held in place with colorful yarn, which makes up the doll’s head, hair, feet and hands. At just 2 inches tall, the dolls are small enough to tuck under a pillow. The tradition is that when worrying keeps you awake, you tell your concerns to the doll, who then does the worrying for you, so you can sleep peacefully through the night.
This is the traditional story of how the worry dolls came about, and it’s a wonderful way to introduce worry dolls to children and adults to help them/us get to sleep.