If you struggle to fall and to stay asleep for a few weeks or longer, then you suffer from sleeplessness as known as insomnia.
Insomnia, occurs when you wake up during the night, realize you are wide-awake when you should be sleeping and then become anxious. The anxiety causes adrenaline to flood the system, and adrenaline prompts the body into action – the opposite of what you need for effective sleep. One of the biggest reasons for restless sleep is the unresolved thoughts and feelings that come up when we are in a relaxed state of mind right before falling off to sleep.
More than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million report sleeping problems occasionally, according to the National Institutes of Health. Stress and anxiety may cause sleeping problems or make existing problems worse. And having an anxiety disorder exacerbates the problem. Anxiety causes sleeping problems, and new research suggests sleep deprivation can cause an anxiety disorder.
The lack of sleep is a family affair. In a national survey on the sleep patterns of U.S. adolescents ages 12-14, the 2014 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation found only 29% of adolescents.
Before settling down for the night, take five minutes to try these simple steps adapted from the HeartMath Attitude Breathing® tool.
- Focus on your heart as you breathe in. Focus on your solar plexus as you breathe out.
- Concentrate on a positive feeling or attitude as you breathe.
- Lock in this feeling.