One of the largest single factors in not being able to fall asleep at night is having worries and concerns on your mind. The credit crunch, and subsequent economic downturn, have left more of us than ever with concerns about job security, housing and money. In turn this has lead to what the American Psychological Association have dubbed as an ‘edpidemic of insomnia’.
This article outlines at 5 tried and tested techniques which help the form of insomnia triggered by concerns about the future. All of the methods listed are 100% drug-free, ensuring that the worries of today do not become the dependencies of tomorrow.
Method #1 – Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Financial stress can leave you tense and agitated, one key technique for ensuring a relaxing nights sleep is to focus on unlocking the tension in your muscles progressively. Starting at the feet you tense and then very slowly relax each muscle group in turn. This method has the advantage of requiring a certain amount of concentration – preventing those credit crunch woes from entering your mind.
Method #2 – The Right Kind Of Bedtime Snacks
Many people find comfort from their worries and concerns in food. While a late-night snack can be relaxing, it is important to ensure that you eat the right kind of food – to prevent insomnia. Avoid protein rich foods such as meat and fish, instead focus on food high in carbohydrates since these contain amino-acids which are known to have a role in making you feel drowsy.
Method #3 – Light, Noise and Temperature
When you have problems on your mind the slightest imbalance in your sleeping environment can cause insomnia symptoms. Now is the time to survey the light levels, temperature (particularly any marked changes during the night or morning periods) and noise. If you are unable to prevent noise, for example living on a busy road or having an active family, then masking may be a good solution. This involves utilising either ‘white noise’ or specially designed sleeping music tracks which mimic the appropriate brain waves.
Method #4 – Mental Distraction And Imagery
Slowing down your busy mind can be achieved using tried and tested techniques of mental distraction. The best known of these is the classic ‘counting sheep’ idea, though any similar method will work. Some people enjoy using mental imagery instead, this uses the imagination to transform you to a peaceful beach or forest – combining distraction of the mind with relaxation can accelerate peaceful sleeping.
Method #5 – Abdominal Breathing Technique
Our final technique combines pro-active relaxation with concentration which distracts the mind, this could easily be combined with the imagery method mentioned above too. The idea is to force progressively deeper and slower breathing, focusing on gradually taking air closer to your abdomen.
With financial and economic worries becoming increasingly prevalent in our society, it is more important than ever to take proactive steps to stop this causing insomnia. Remember, a deep and relaxing sleep will not only have a beneficial effect on you – but also those close to you.