Sleepless in Saskatoon? Tips to treat insomnia in this month’s issue of ‘Tell Your Story Newsletter’

October 2022 Vol 4 Issue 10

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):

Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling

Let me teach you to tell your story!

Welcome Mid-October, 2022!

The shortening of our daylight hours has become perceptible this month. And with the return of at least some professionals to commutes and the pressures of sharing public office space, not to mention the next set of deadlines and in-person training, we may not be surprised to find that regularly getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge!

So in Article One, this month, some tips for treating insomnia from Australian psychologist, Chris James.

In Storytellers’ Corner, I visit the difference that exists between the words “tautology” and “redundancy,” with help from world-class etymologist, Bryan Garner.

Although our golden and crimson leaves have now mostly fallen, autumn is still beautiful in Saskatchewan. This coming week will bring temperatures as warm as 20 degrees Celsius, to remind us that the season is more than simply a precursor to another Canadian winter!

But as winter does return, crisp, cold days will prevail, encouraging us to pack away those shorts and sandals for warm sweaters and boots; and to replace our iced “bevvies” with hearty soups and hot ciders.

Although these late Covid days bring many challenges to us all, good readers, my hope is that we will continue to feel gratitude for the blessings that we sometimes overlook, but which still grace our lives.


Elizabeth Shih


Storytelling Communications



ARTICLE 1: Sleepless in Saskatoon? Tips to treat insomnia

STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: The case of “tautology” and “redundancy” with  etymologist, Bryan Garner




Article One: Sleepless in Saskatoon? Tips to treat insomnia (as we brace for another winter) . . .

I’ll get to the point: How are you sleeping, these days?

Have you been struggling with a lack of good sleep, while fighting one of the many viruses (besides Covid-19) that have infected our province in recent weeks?

In last June’s issue of the ezine “Psyche,” an article titled “How to sleep well again,” by Australian psychologist Chris James, updated us on effective methods to relieve insomnia—and with methods beyond the usual “pills and potions.”

We don’t need James to remind us that “insomnia” for entrepreneurs and other professionals can be a “debilitating, distressing [and] deeply frustrating condition that affects all aspects of sufferers’ lives.” We all know that we need sleep to recharge our bodies and minds, to allow our bodies to heal and to process the day’s events. If we get seven to nine hours nightly with little (if any) disruption, we should consider ourselves blessed! Good quality, deep sleep can be elusive.

Sleep-deprivation causes us to drag ourselves through meetings, to manage time intended for thinking and writing amidst a groggy, tired, irritable fog. It can, as James says, “feel like torture.”

To diagnose the term, he says, we must have “persistent difficulty with getting to sleep and/or staying asleep, at least three nights per week.”

But who among us hasn’t ever plodded through the “vicious cycle” that can cruelly develop between the desperation to sleep and the frustration of being unable to do so (tossing and turning), that actually “makes it even harder to get to sleep?”

I remember being told to try Zopiclone a few years ago (pre-Covid), by a medical professional who used it herself to catch sleep when she had sick children at home and a demanding, daytime career. Zopiclone is habit-forming, however, and I never felt comfortable relying on it, which undermined its usefulness to me in the first place.

Medical science tells us that about one-third of the population experiences one or more symptoms of insomnia, of which 10 percent have chronic insomnia. James notes that the condition is one of the most prevalent to beset us in current times.

It may consist not only of failing to get the usual seven to nine hours that modern medicine says we need; insomnia can also involve having “highly fragmented” sleep, and struggles to get and/or stay asleep, throughout the night.

Insomnia, James says, is distinct from sleep problems that arise from factors like work-shift patterns, perhaps the late-night parties (that some attend, post SABEX awards!) or noisy neighbours. And the term also excludes those with other conditions like circadian rhythm disorders or sleep apnea.

We don’t have to have long-term insomnia to know how it detracts from work performance, relationships and the motivation to exercise regularly and eat healthily. Sufferers report that they stop doing extracurricular activities and lack the energy to maintain their health.

Feelings of powerlessness and deep depression can ensue. But few insomniacs seek support for their sleeplessness and the field is partly populated with unregulated practitioners. It doesn’t help that most medical students in North American and Australia receive only two-and-a-half to three hours of sleep education in the whole of their degrees!

Therefore, doctors often overlook or minimize symptoms. Patients’ desperation may lead them to try supplements and remedies (“pills and potions”) that offer to quickly fix the problem, without substantiating how.

But James claims that the last 10 years have brought “highly effective treatments . . . supported by solid scientific evidence.” Doctors and psychologists who specialize in sleep disorders say that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is now considered the “gold standard” treatment for insomnia, because it focuses on sleeplessness as the result of self-perpetuating, negative behaviours and thoughts.

If you have experienced more insomnia lately than earlier in the Covid pandemic, this bears out medicine’s claim that insomnia results from changes in routines and periods of elevated stress, due to illnesses, having babies, changing jobs, losing a loved one or other relationships troubles.

Sufferers often try to treat their problem by taking “more caffeine, going to bed earlier, drinking alcohol, taking sleep supplements, sleeping on the sofa” and so on, which tend only to fuel the problem and persist, even if stressful events or bereavements have long passed.

James says that learning about how sleep works, making changes to habits, learning ways to relax properly and debunking damaging myths can all be helpful. This treatment, he says, is more “training than . . . therapy,” because it requires self-discipline and emotional (and physical) exercise. But he says the treatment does work.

As a sufferer of occasional sleeplessness, but not full-blown insomnia, I’m aware that negative thought patterns can coincide with sleeplessness, as though the “world is too much with us” to leave us a few hours to find some peace.

While James says he’s found success as a psychologist offering CBT methods, as outlined in such classic books as Mind Over Mood, I’d personally recommend some strategies that may be less laborious: listening to hypnotherapy recordings ( refer you to some) and to CDs of relaxation music (e.g. “Letting Go of Stress” and “Sleep Soundly” by Emmet Miller and Steven Halpern) have been composed to include sleep-inducing rhythms and sounds.

I also urge you to read about and consider taking Dr. Jud Brewer’s program Unwinding Anxiety,” which assists sufferers in resolving anxiety and depression. (And no, I do not receive any affiliate or other compensation for recommending these providers.)

And now it’s your turn: Do you suffer sleeplessness, or worse, insomnia? What strategies are you using to free yourself from the agony? Please write in; I’d be delighted to hear from you.



STORYTELLERS’ CORNER:  The case of “tautology” and “redundancy” with etymologist, Bryan Garner

Anyone who has read or studied the Arts or Fine Arts will be familiar with this month’s words: “tautology” and “redundancy.” I can remember first using the word “tautology” when translating medieval poetry in my Middle English course in the early 90s. (Remember translating “The Parliament of Fowls,” anyone?)

American etymologist Bryan Garner recently clarified the difference between these two words.

“Tautology,” he writes, is a term “found mostly in discussions of logic and rhetoric,” and specifically “to a restatement of something already said within the immediate context—in words that are different but do not add anything new.” Tautologies  often underpin circular reasoning, so that the words may sound convincing, but on closer analysis, merely circle back upon themselves.

To demonstrate the term “tautology,” Garner quotes Daniel Mitchell in a 2022 article on the “European Cult of Multinationalism” (“Washington Times,” 7 Nov. 2022, A25):

“Some people in Europe seem to think international bureaucracies and global treaties automatically generate good policy. Indeed, they define good policy as anything that is produced by this process—a rather convenient tautology.”

Garner distinguishes “tautology” from the more general term, “redundancy”: the latter refers to a word or phrase that adds nothing to the overall meaning because its sense has already been expressed (for e.g. “advance planning,” or “first introduction,” etc.).

Redundancies are common in wordy and imprecise writing that can (of course) be found all over online and off-line sources. Prior to retiring, the former Managing Editor of The Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Wilf Popoff, gave workshops to local writers and editors that cited many such laughable redundancies, as  “new baby,” as well as “fatally killed” and “permanently deceased.”

Redundancies can tickle your funny bone, as well as alert your mind. Some of my favourites are “absolutely essential,” “first conceived,” “basic fundamentals,” “harmful injury,” “joint collaboration,” “major breakthrough,” and “very unique.”

Put simply: brevity and precision carry power. And language matters!

And now it’s your turn. Have you wondered about what a “tautology” is, or how it is different from mere redundancy? Please send in your examples for me to use in a future issue!



Thanks and kudos this month to the staff at The Franklin (Revera’s senior assisted living building) in Saskatoon, who cultivate empathy and caring for our seniors without sacrificing professionalism.

I’m particularly grateful to Executive Director, Vin Rana; transportation director, Steve, and duty and building managers, Dea, Mason and Charmaine for taking very good care of seniors who need their care and dedication.

If you have a senior in your family who would benefit from assistive living support, please contact Daniel at The Franklin for a tour, at (306) 664-6366.


Congratulations to Monica Kreuger, Chief Visionary Officer of Global Infobrokers (Home of the Praxis Group of Schools), and her team, including Vice-President Brent Kreuger, Facilitator Deanna Litz and Program Administrator, Elaine Mantyka, for reaching “finalist” standing for “Business of the Year” at Saskatoon’s 2022 SABEX Awards, last Thursday evening, October 13th!

Also included in this thanks are PSE staff, Marie Weinkauf (bookkeeper) and Silvana Cracogna (Coordinator and facilitator of Language Programs).

Of the 400+ attendees of the awards, no business other than Global Infobrokers had provided entrepreneurial training and preparation to more than 1200 Saskatchewanians, including alumni who were present to promote their separate businesses, and even to win awards in other categories.

And no other business hosted a larger number of its team (me included) for the event—more than three lengthy rows of Praxis delegates, who attended to support them.

For more than 30 years, Monica and Brent Kreuger and their team have introduced to and deepened the practice of entrepreneurship in the province of Saskatchewan, shaping and making many, many careers in the process.

Those entrepreneurs remain affiliated with them and become part of a large network, which reflects Praxis’ commitment to excellence.

From among the list of finalists and the winner (Magnus Construction Services), I can think of no company more worthy of the “Business of the Year” than Praxis/Global–and yes, I am partial, as an alumna who also facilitates for them, every quarter. (But no, I am not paid for affiliate marketing!)

Global Infobrokers wins as the Business of Every Year, for those fortunate enough to train through it or work with its team.

So deepest THANKS, Monica, Brent and Team, for all you’ve achieved and continue to do!


While the above companies are not new businesses, they continue achieve excellence across all fields, including community service, which earns them recognition, here.

There are always new businesses and entrepreneurial programs to promote.

Please write me to share your success stories.

But for now, this is a wrap for mid-October!


Finally, my spirits as a teacher and writer are regularly buoyed by local friends Laura Van Loon (Parish Nurse), Monica Kreuger (Chief Visionary Officer of the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship), (Lesley-Anne McLeod (Regency novelist), Steve Cavan (Classicist and ESL teacher), Rev. Roberto DeSandoli (Minister of Word and Sacrament), Julie Barnes (professional writer and philanthropist), Erin Watson (librarian, University of Saskatchewan), and Dani Van Driel (painter and director, Action Battery).

When waters get choppy around issues like cutbacks to publicly funded health and senior care in the province, these friends have expressed their support in fortifying. ways and words.  Merci beaucoup, mes amies!



Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now help newcomers to Canada land better jobs and economic immigrants to secure better contracts by improving their English skills; I help SMEs close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I help major companies tell their legacy stories.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

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