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Experts suggest that 60-80% of sleep problems derive from stress, worry and anxiety. Most people could relate to this, having experienced a bout of insomnia when stress levels are high and this is unavoidable; a normal part of modern life. However, if the insomnia cycle continues regularly, perhaps you need to assess your stress and worry quota.
Stress, is a normal human reaction to many of life’s journeys and it would be unrealistic to think we can say goodbye to it completely, after all some level of stress is motivating for many of us and leads to improved productivity. However, it is important to be aware of your stress levels and what you are personally able to cope with before it starts to interfere with your sleep and health. Finding personalise strategies that help you reduce stress, whether that be in your work or personal life, is pivotal to better sleep. Although meditation and exercise are not everyone’s ultimate stress relieving combo, there must be a good reason that experts around the world, preach its benefits. According to Washington DC based Sleep Foundation, a lack of physical activity as well as stress and too much screen time are the leading causes of sleep disturbance. Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of the sleep program, Towards Better Sleep, Kathryn Smith says “Combining physical activity and meditation through yoga, is for many people a very effective way to help the mind and body relax. The meditative effects of yoga on the body are very similar to the process of falling asleep, whereby the heartbeat and brain waves become slower.”
Insomnia is complex, as it’s not just a physical disorder; it encompasses our whole being including our emotional and psychological state. And while stress and worry are in the naughty corner, we should reiterate that worrying during the day about a lack of sleep at night is totally counterproductive and will only heighten anxiety levels at night.  But perhaps if we practiced a greater level of self-awareness by knowing our personal limits, we could control stress levels and enjoy a better night’s sleep?
If you are struggling with insomnia and no-longer want to rely on sleep medication, Towards Better Sleep may be the solution for a healthier, more productive 2018. Towards Better Sleep is a group therapy programme, facilitated by Clinical Psychologist Kathryn Smith and Psychiatrist, Dr Curt Gray from Psychology Consultants, Morningside. The cognitive behavioural treatment programme uses evidenced based techniques that focus on sleep education and behavioural techniques, correcting faulty thinking and relaxation strategies. Set in a small group of 9 or less, the intimate setting offers the benefit of reducing the cost of treatment, whilst giving clients the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s insomnia experiences. The next programme starts 30th January 2018 and runs in the evening over 6 weeks. Email [email protected] if you are interested in registering for the programme and for more information visit