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Suffering From Insomnia? 5 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep

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The inability to fall asleep when you need to might suggest you are suffering from insomnia. Unless properly treated, your weary mind and body may jeopardize your ability to get things done. So what must you do to bring an end to this predicament? The solution, says Taiwanese psychologist Yu Chia-Yung, involves her five-way “stimulation control therapy.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person may be considered an insomniac when he or she experiences sleep difficulties at least three times a week for at least three months which cause significant distress or problems at home, school, on the job, or other important areas of a person’s daily life.

Indicators of insomnia include difficulties falling asleep, sleep disruptions, or waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep.

Consider the example of Wang Shuzhen, a Taiwanese teacher who suffers from insomnia. In speaking with The Epoch Times on Feb. 19, Wang claimed the pressure of her work and caring for children was the likely reason for her inability to sleep normally. Making matters worse, she said, was her continued worrying about insomnia. “When I was lying in bed, I kept thinking that I was going to sleep, but I ended up being more stressed and unable to sleep, and the closer it came to starting work the next day, the harder it became to sleep.”

To address her lack of sleep, Wang decided to adjust her thinking, telling herself that “it’s okay if I can’t sleep, it’s okay if I sleep less” and not to let the “fear of insomnia scare her.” She decided to try meditation.

“Before I go to bed or when I can’t sleep, I sit in meditation and spend half an hour calming my mind. When my unwanted thoughts keep happening, I keep refocusing my attention back to quiet those thoughts. This has helped me to fall asleep within a few minutes.”

Wang may have discovered an effective solution to her problems. Yu Chia-Rong, a psychologist at the Taipei Children’s Psychotherapy Institute in Taiwan, believes insomnia is mostly caused by the mind. Continuing to contemplate the random words of others can preoccupy your thinking for weeks and lead to sleep interruptions, if not also sleepless nights.

While speaking with The Epoch Times on Feb. 20, Yu identified what she believed were the three main causes of insomnia.

1. Excessive Rethinking

Sometimes referred to as “ruminating,” people spend excessive energy rethinking life events without the benefit of being able to correct or change the past. Over time this contributes to mental frustration and exhaustion, which contributes to insomnia.

2. Habitual Anxiety

Allowing yourself to think habitually over a prolonged period about lifestyle stressors such as losing a job, starting a new job, family illness or death, etc. contributes to anxiety which can further fuel your insomnia. Unless physicians are made aware of your unhelpful thoughts, this makes it difficult for them to diagnose and treat insomnia.

3. Sleep Myths

People whose minds are compromised by the first two types of undisciplined thinking tend to live in a state of high activity. So even if they do fall asleep, they doubt that sleep occurred and assume this was caused by their insomnia.

To help improve your thinking and reduce the potential for insomnia, Yu recommends the following five tips she refers to as “stimulation control therapy.”

  1. Go to bed only when you are tired and want to sleep. The anxiety caused by not being able to sleep will make it more difficult to sleep, and this pressure will reinforce the negative reaction of “feeling like you will lose sleep.”
  2. Leave the bed if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. If you can’t sleep, it’s best to get out of bed and do something boring and relaxing, and then return to bed when you feel sleepy.
  3. The bed is for sleeping. After climbing into bed, make it a priority to fall asleep. Avoid watching TV or toying with electronic gadgets as this will preoccupy your mind and defeat the purpose of going to bed.
  4. Keep waking up at a regular time. Set up a routine time to go to bed and to awaken when you need to and stick to that routine.
  5. Avoid taking naps. Taking naps during the day may lessen your tiredness when you need to fall asleep at night. Try staying awake and active until it’s time to go to sleep.

If these five tips for better sleeping fail to correct your insomnia, Yu recommends that you “see a medical professional to understand the cause of your insomnia and determine the best treatment plan.”

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