Relaxation and Insomnia (Relaxation for better sleep)
There are many possible reasons for having trouble with sleeping or having insomnia. Relaxation techniques are proven to help insomnia that is not related to any other condition, or so-called 'primary insomnia'. For many patients who have difficulties sleeping, the cause is either side effects of prescription medicine or a psychiatric disorder. There are also many other reasons for having insomnia, which can vary from pain to hormonal problems. In these cases, relaxation may or may not help achieve better sleep. While the results here vary from person to person, it is a good idea to first try to treat the primary medical condition and not only insomnia. Since relaxation techniques, lower stress people with secondary insomnia tend to benefit from using relaxation therapy in any case.
For primary insomnia relaxation training is a very good non-pharmacological choice to treat insomnia or try to improve the quality of sleep. Sedatives and previous generation sleeping pills cause addiction, and people very easily build up a tolerance to these types of medication, which then demand an increased dosage. Making things even worse is the fact that if the medication is stopped, one's insomnia may become even worse than in the beginning. Therefore a natural self-administrated method, such as relaxation with no noticeable side effects, is an unprecedented advantage for people suffering from insomnia. It is also a way for sufferers to get off of medication and use only relaxation response exercises to treat their problems with sleeping.
How does Relaxation Help People with Insomnia?
The key to success is eliciting a relaxation response, which is common to all relaxation techniques. The relaxation response reduces stress gathered during the day and this results in many positive changes not only to insomnia but also to conditions such as anxiety, moderate depression, panic attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or skin conditions, asthma or epilepsy, and many others.
The exact manner in which the relaxation response helps people with these conditions still needs many years of research and is probably very complex, with many different mechanisms of action. However, it seems stress reduction plays a dominant role in helping people who use such relaxation techniques.
Will it Work for Me?
People with insomnia can expect positive changes in their sleep if they practice any relaxation method. Here it should be emphasized the relaxation response must be elicited at least three times per day for 10-15 minutes for several months in order to see the full effect that relaxation holds for each individual. Do not be discouraged by this fact, since many notice the first improvements after as little as one week. The other positive factor of relaxation is its effects on other areas of life. You will not only sleep better or longer, but you will also have other positive effects on your wellbeing, such as: building more confidence, being less stressed, having fewer tension headaches or migraines, etc.
The best choice is to choose a relaxation method and use it for the rest of your life. This may sound intimidating, but today's lifestyles now demand a relaxation method for each individual. The good thing is that when we get relaxed we feel better, we are in a better mood and usually happy. Who does not want that? And it only takes half an hour a day!
There are many relaxation techniques available and you just have to find one that you feel will work for you.
The most known relaxation techniques are:
- Autogenic training
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Do not be discouraged if you don't see results within a week. Patience here is very important and after three months of practice, you must compare your new condition to the one you had prior to practicing relaxation therapy in order to notice true improvement. As you can see, insomnia can be treated with relaxation, leading to better sleep and overall higher quality of life. However, there is no guarantee; you have to try it out to see if it works for you!