10 Ways To Beat Insomnia With Cognitive Therapy

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 17/01/2012 10:42 Updated: 17/01/2012 16:33

British people are a nation of insomniacs, according to a recent sleep study.

The Mental Health Foundation found that nearly a third of Brits suffer from insomnia - and those are just the people who are desperate enough to speak to their GP.

"Lack of sleep can lead to low energy and concentration levels, depression, immune deficiency, relationship problems, weight gain (as the mind tries to boost energy by making us eat more), and even serious medical problems such as heart disease," says cognitive hypnotherapist, Lesley McCall.

Over 10 million sleeping pill prescriptions are issued every year but does reaching for the pills really work or do they simply suppress the symptoms leaving the cause untouched?

Non-drug therapies such as cognitive hypnotherapy (CBT) can help to re-establish natural sleeping patterns - ensuring a long lasting change without medication.

Below, cognitive hypnotherapist Lesley McCall offers her expert tips on how to beat insomnia without popping pills.

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  • 10 Ways To Beat Insomnia

    Expert tips from Cognitive Therapist <strong><a href="http://lesleymccall.co.uk/" target="_hplink">Lesley McCall</a></strong>.

  • Drown It Out

    "If you want to drown out internal chatter try holding the tip of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth without actually touching it until the chatter stops."

  • Wiggle Your Toes

    "It sounds simple (and a little silly) but wriggling your toes while lying in bed until you feel sleepy, helps the body relax."

  • Wait For The Right Moment

    "Only go to bed when you feel tired. If you have been in bed for longer than 30 minutes and you are still awake, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy again. Don't do something stimulating such as watch TV or eat, as this will send your unconscious the wrong message - that it gets rewarded for not sleeping."

  • Do A 'Brain Dump'

    "Many of us go to bed with worries on our mind that can keep us awake - so get rid of them. Do a 'brain dump' before bed. Spend 10 minutes writing down what is on your mind or compile a 'to-do' list. Keep writing even if you are only jotting down sort notes or long scribbles."  

  • Relax

    "Try and relax for 30 minutes before bed to ensure you get good quality sleep - because remember, it's not just the quantity but quality of your sleep that matters. Try not to take the stress of the day into sleep with you as this will mean that the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is needed for de- stressing the mind, will increase, leaving less time for the slow wave sleep, which refreshes us."

  • No Napping

    "Don't sleep or nap during the day - it confuses you body clock and will make it harder for you to drift off in the evening."

  • Have A Bath

    "Have a warm bath before bedtime. The core drop in temperature when you get out will help you to drift into a deep sleep."

  • Eat Mindfully

    "Be aware of what you eat. Try and have no caffeine after midday, eat regular meals and remember that carbohydrates will help you feel sleepy."

  • Exercise

    "Exercise is an excellent stress buster - but make sure you leave at least three hours between exercise and sleep, to give your body enough time to wind down."

  • Swtich Off (Everything)

    "Reteach your brain to associate bed with sleep. This means eliminating computers, smartphones or TV's from the bedroom."