Insomnia is a complex condition that is characterized as habitual sleeplessness. It involves the difficulty of falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble falling back asleep once awake.
Signs of insomnia can even present itself when a person is waking up too early and feeling tired and groggy upon waking up.
This brings a host of other symptoms like poor memory, chronic fatigue, inability to concentrate, daytime sleepiness, low motivation or positive energy and a lack of producitvity. Insomnia affects people around the world in different ways.
In the U.S:
- 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia
- 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder (up to 3 months)
- 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder (3 times a week for up to 3 months)
Insomnia affects everything in a person’s life including relationships, work and school performance. A study estimated that an average employee with insomnia loses roughly 8 days of work per year in the U.S work force. Based on that calculation, over $63 billion is lost due to poor work performance caused by this condition.
Choose A Relaxation Method
Generally, insomnia is treated with sleeping aids to relax the body and induce sleep. However, while sleeping aids can be effective temporarily, they bring a host of negative side effects that can be felt on a short-term and long-term basis.
Some of the major symptoms include: grogginess, stomach and digestive problems, changes in appetite, headaches and general dizziness and weakness. This wears at the body over time and can cause further impairment.
Mindful meditation practices are a great way to promote natural relxation, and creates a deep physiological shift on the opposing side of the stress response. This natural relaxation method is integral in soothing many stress-related ailments that include depression – a leading cause of chronic insomnia – along with pain, and high blood pressure.
Practicing mindfulness meditation or equally significant techniques like guided imagery or sound meditation, present real change for your mind and body without the use of chemicals.
- How to Practice Detached Mindfulness
- Learn More About Guided Imagery
- The Soothing Qualities of Audio Therapy
Dr. Herbert Benson — who first coined the term 'relaxation response' — links stress as the main cause of sleep disorders. His study at Harvard University proves that sleep disorders can be improved dramatically by mindfulness meditation practices as a natural relxation method. He also suggests that 20 minutes of meditation during the day while sitting up or doing deep breathing is all it takes to induce a relaxation response.
Any technique could prove helpful and those suffering from sleep disorders are encouraged to find a relaxation method that best suits their personal preference.