Wide Eyed & Weary: Sleep Troubles & Solutions

iStock_ill_websave.jpgIs the experience of sound sleep becoming a distant memory for you? If so, you’re far from alone - for 30-50% of Americans insomnia is a part of life. The commonest sleep problems being getting to sleep, or staying asleep.

And when your sleep is affected, your health is affected: recent studies have linked sleep problems to health issues including depression, obesity and high blood pressure.

Insomnia is also linked with anxiety, depression and substance addiction, though no-one seems sure whether poor sleep is a result of anxiety etc, or whether anxiety and depression cause poor sleep.

When Sleep Troubles Get Serious

Serious, or primary, insomnia is a life altering experience where sufferers speak of the “desperate quest for sleep” wakeful and anxious at night and so tired during the day that their body shakes and they find it hard to get much done. Chronic insomniacs find themselves caught in a loop of sleep deprivation hell.

Researchers consider this sleepless state to be the result of a hyper-aroused nervous system and believe that it may be hereditary.

Steering Clear of the Sleep Spoilers

While the caffeine present in coffee and some soft drinks is notorious as a sleep spoiler, alcohol is less widely recognised as a disrupter of rest because of it causes drowsiness, but once alcohol leaves the bloodstream it can cause wakefulness.

Some prescription medications like beta blockers and ritalin can also affect quality of sleep.

But lifestyle can also be a major contributor to sleep issues and the development of the hyper-aroused state that researchers are now looking to as a definite cause in the development of insomnia.

Television, computers, mobile phones, traffic noise, white noise, and video games all agitate the nervous system. And this aroused nervous state typically leads to difficulties in settling down to sleep or sudden wakefulness in the early hours of the morning.

Are You Cultivating Insomnia?

Yet, it might be that this hyper-aroused state is not some much inherited, as researcher believe, as cultivated. Most 21st entertainment ideas are based on noise and speed. Gone are the days of reading poetry, or attending classical music performances for entertainment. When it comes to diversion most people like it fast and loud.

Ayurvedic Solutions for Sleep Problems

Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of healthy and happy living,  considers this constant noise and motion to be detrimental to health and productivity by excessively disturbing our senses of vision and hearing. When your eyes and ears are over stimulated, you gain a sense of diversion, but you loose any sense of personal peace and contentment. Restless usually equals sleepless, but there is another way…

Ayurveda speaks highly of the merits of meditation for resting the senses and mind. The ancient art of pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses, can rest your mind and body and improve your sleep and immunity too.

By withdrawing the sense in an inwardly focused direction your body gets the message to rest and do some repair work, and your sleep will improve as you learn to get your good feelings fix from the natural and gentle art of inwardly focused attention.

Related resources for peaceful sleep:


Relaxed & Resourceful Self Hypnosis Relaxation

Peaceful Mind Guided Relaxation for Sleep