Reduce Stress and Enjoy More Sleep
If you suffer from insomnia of any kind, the chances are you don't need to be told that there's a significant connection between sleep problems like insomnia and stress. In fact, as cases of insomnia and related sleep problems increase, more and more people find themselves caught between the pressures and responsibilities of daily life and their desire for a good night's sleep.
The good news is that insomnia and stress don't have to go hand in hand. There are a variety of productive ways that you can reduce stress and increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep at the same time.
If you have already taken the basic steps necessary for a good night's sleep (the 5 steps to better sleep outlined in my previous article and published here), the chances are you're suffering from stress-induced insomnia, and it's time for you to take action. That's because anxiety of any kind has quantifiable physiological effects such as increasing your blood pressure, your heart rate and your body temperature ? which in turn disrupt your body's natural propensity for sleep and disturb your body's nightly sleep functions. In other words, anxiety doesn't just reduce the amount of sleep you are able to get - it damages the quality of the sleep that you do enjoy.
Fortunately, you can reduce stress and improve your sleep fairly simply by undertaking some form of regular relaxation exercise. Depending upon your preference and your degree of stress, there are several different ways to improve your sleep quality through relaxation.
For some people all it takes to reduce stress is a warm bath and some sleep-promoting aromatherapy. Using calming aromatherapy candles or adding soothing essential oils to your bath
are the perfect way to diffuse anxiety and induce the sleep you need after a long day.
If you find yourself suffering from more severe stress and insomnia, you may also want to try a guided relaxation or meditation exercise to promote a good night's sleep. This can be as simple as spending fifteen to thirty minutes sitting comfortably in silence, or as involved as using a specially prepared CD or DVD for a more structured meditation that guides you gently towards sleep. Taking an afternoon yoga class or learning some deep breathing exercises are also excellent natural sleep remedies.
The best approach to including any sleep enhancing relaxation exercise (from sleep-inducing aromatherapy to guided meditation) is to try one approach for at least two weeks and see how you get on. Because your body responds best to routine ? especially when it comes to sleep ? this will give your sleep cycle a chance to properly adjust. If, after a couple of weeks you find that your chosen approach is having little effect, don't despair. Simply try another approach until you find a method that works best for you.
It won't take long for you to discover a relaxation exercise that suits your needs and the chances are you'll both reduce stress and be enjoying a long, restful night's sleep sooner, rather than later.
Copyright © 2005 Donald Saunders
Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health related publications including: "Help Me To Sleep - A Guide To Natural Sleep Remedies." For further details visit help-me-to-sleep.com.
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