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Insomnia - three ways to a peaceful night's sleep

Everyone has the occasional bad night's sleep. But if the odd sleepless night is replaced by regular sleeplessness then you may be experiencing a form of insomnia.

Insomnia is a common problem as highlighted by a recent Which? report that suggested in the United Kingdom "Up to one in four people report difficulty sleeping at least three times a week, and the problem is more common in older people." In the United States it's estimated that $2.4 billion is spent a year on insomnia prescriptions and remedies. Non-prescription remedies sales including sales of melatonin top hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The five most common symptoms associated with insomnia are;

1. Difficulty falling asleep.

2. Frequently waking up during the night.

3. Difficulty returning to sleep.

4. Waking up too early in the morning.

5. Un-refreshing sleep.

The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. It's an individual thing. As we age, it's usual to sleep less. This is partly because of the decrease in the natural hormone, melatonin which regulates the body's circadian rhythms. It's the circadian rhythms which in turn regulate sleep patterns. It is not unusual for sleep patterns to be temporarily affected by sudden changes in weight or as a result of negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, stress, tension or even jet lag. Insomnia is rarely a physical problem typically it is caused by a psychological issue. So, if you solve the psychological issue and you'll find that the insomnia will disappear.

How to beat insomnia.

First, consider diagnosing and treating any underlying medical or psychological problems that may be contributing to the insomnia. By removing the root cause of the problem, it's likely that sleep patterns will naturally return to normal.

Second, identify behaviours that may prompt or worsen insomnia. Be aware of any bad habits, take some action to stop or reduce them. Known behaviours that can cause insomnia are a large caffeine intake, drinking alcohol before bedtime or smoking.

Third, use behavioural therapies and techniques to improve sleep. Successful and popular therapies to beat insomnia include; relaxation therapy that provides psychological 'anchors' or sleep triggers; sleep suggestion audios that using binaural sounds and positive suggestions to induce a natural state of relaxation; and re-framing to eliminate the negative emotions that cause the insomnia.

Whatever you do to beat insomnia, take some form of positive action. Don't just hope that the problem will go away. After all what have you got to lose other than another sleepless night?

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