Insomnia is the most common sleep disorders, with tens of millions of Americans suffering from it every night. Despite these numbers, it is a disorder that can feel very lonely when it seems you are the only one in the world who is still awake.
Anyone who has suffered from insomnia knows that it is no joke. Having a little trouble falling asleep once in a while is disconcerting enough. But an ongoing cycle of sleepless nights can have long term effects on physical and mental health.
There is lots of advice out there about diet and exercise as ways to cure insomnia. Avoiding caffeine is a must. Keeping to a regular sleep schedule is also known to help. As is an exercise routine. But what happens when you have tried all those things and you are still watching the clock tick by while the rest of your neighborhood seems to be fast asleep?
Stress and anxiety are often contributing factors to a person's trouble sleeping. While there may be no way to eliminate the causes of the stress, there are some very easy relaxation techniques that anybody can do that have been proven to help conquer the battle with insomnia.
While breathing is an involuntary action that we don't have to think about to make happen, focusing on the breath can have immediate results in terms of lowering heart rate and blood pressure while increasing the oxygen you are receiving. Take a breath in, hold it for the count of 4, then release it. That simple action will have amazing fast results.
Imagining something can trick your body into thinking it is really happening. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a setting that makes you feel happy and peaceful. Walk yourself through the scene, slowly taking in your surroundings with all of your senses. Enjoy the moment you have placed yourself in without focusing on whether or not it is working.
Lay quietly in your bed. Slowly do a scan of your body, identifying each body part as you move from your toes to the top of your head. Tighten each body part as you identify it. Then relax that body part. Your body will slowly move from tension to very deep relaxation.
This technique is something that you can do while you are wide awake and not stressing about falling asleep - but the benefits will be felt when bedtime comes. So many people shy away from meditation because they think it is too difficult to do. But meditation is simply sitting still and observing your thoughts as they flow in and out of your mind. This will not only help to relax your nervous system, but it will teach you to accept random thoughts entering your mind. This is a skill that will come in handy when you are lying in bed with your spiraling thoughts