Stress management
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HEALTH INFO - Insomnia


Many of us suffer with this at some point in our lives. Sometimes the cause is stress, tension or overwork; it can be emotionally based, or due to your lifestyle. There are a number of self-help measures that can work. Try and introduce some of the following into your life to ease the problem, but remember healing can take time; so stick with them.

Sometimes you can see an immediate improvement; sometimes it can take weeks or even months. It depends on the cause and how long you have been suffering with insomnia.

Hopefully some of these tips will help break the cycle, but most importantly you will have to want to make the change. Often sticking with what we know feels safer, even though it causes us distress:-

-Think positive and the following items are more likely to work for you.

-Reduce your intake of stimulants like tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, salt, sugar, processed foods. Cut them out altogether if you can, but remember this can cause side effects e.g. headaches, so reducing them a little at a time is wise.

-Drink plenty of water; it can flush through toxins and stimulants harboured in your body.

-Exercise regularly, 3 times a week for 20 minutes aerobically is recommended; that means exercise vigorously but so you can still talk while exercising. Again build up to something you can manage. Some exercise is better than none at all.

-Avoid exercise 3 hours before bedtime.

-Try listening to relaxing music; choose something bland, repetitive and soft, avoiding tunes that remind you of past memories.

-Try drinking chamomile tea, cava cava, or a milky drink before bedtime. Maybe have them with some dry biscuits like digestives or rich tea (not chocolate!!).

-Although lavender is a good oil to help you relax, other oils are more sedative e.g.
benzoin, frankincense, clary sage, sandalwood, rose, vetiver or valerian. Pop 2 drops in a teaspoon of base oil, apply to the soles of your feet, temples and chest, or:-

-Try a warm bath, but not too hot as this can be a stimulant. Add 6-10 drops of your chosen oils to 1\2 an eggcupful of milk, and add to your bath once you have drawn it to the correct temperature.
Swish round and soak for 20minutes. Pat yourself dry with a towel to ensure you continue to soak up the goodness of the oils.

-Try massage to ease tension and reduce stress. Ideally time it so you can relax or go to bed afterwards.

-Take time out in your life to relax, it's easy to make excuses not to.

-Do some visualisation or relaxation exercises. There are many books on this subject available in bookshops or in your local library. Alternatively consult a therapist for details. Often breathing exercises are simple but effective.

-Dim your lights 2-3 hours before bedtime.

-Burn some of the aforementioned oils in a burner during this time to enhance sleep.

-Ensure your feet are warm with socks, or a hot water bottle/wheatbag. Cold feet can be a cause of sleeplessness!

-Then again avoid too much heat in your room. Research shows that being too hot can make you uncomfortable and wake during the night.

-Paint your room relaxing colours, e.g. blues, purples, greens and turquoises. Avoid reds, yellows, whites, creams and oranges (although if you want a passion pit orange is recommended!?? ).

-Choose a small bedroom to sleep in, or if this is not possible, invest in some drapes around your bed. Research shows that we feel safer and less exposed in smaller, confined spaces as a general rule.

-Invest in a good quality mattress. Ideally we should change our mattress every 3-5 years. So chuck the old, lumpy thing away.

-Try some acupressure points to induce peaceful sleep. These can be found in self help books, or if you prefer consult an acupuncturist or myself for details.

-Try a relaxing treatment e.g. acupuncture, Reiki, shiatsu, counselling, etc, etc, etc,.
The list is endless, but choose a therapy that suits you. Ensure you get on with your therapist, and book a course of treatment for the best results,

-or take up a gentle form of exercise like Tai Chi or yoga, which rebalances your body inside and out.

-Talk to your local health food shop about natural supplements if need be.

-Remember, it is OK to have broken sleep, so long as you get enough.

-Some people find it helpful to walk around in bare feet outside for 20 minutes towards the end of the day. This is because walking around in shoes on manmade carpet can create static electricity which can prevent sleep.

The advice included on this site is not meant to replace any medicine or treatment you are receiving through your doctor, if you have any queries or concerns including compatibility with current treatment/medication, please contact us or speak to your GP ©2002

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