4 Useful Treatments To Help Cure Insomnia

"Count sheep? OK, sure, that will surely cure my chronic, long term, debilitating insomnia. Thanks for nothing, knucklehead". That sentence is the normal, frustrated response from any insomniac when told this kind of lame advice. The truth is, if some of us actually resorted to this comically useless home remedy we'd have counted 640,000 sheep and still be at the task when the morning alarm sounded. As it applies to insomnia cures, counting sheep is about as useful as rubbing a cow belly for luck.

That said, there is the tiniest proportion of logic behind why people advise you to count sheep, the reasoning being that by busying the mind with a mundane and boring task, you free your mind from worrying over life's stresses. Since it is such a boring task, apparently counting sheep can also bring about a lull that induces the sleep cycles to begin. So all in all, as an impetus for better ideas, this ridiculous technique could be thought of as useful. Like I said, as an impetus for better ideas. In theory, sure, counting sheep should work. In practice? Absolutely not, at least not for someone with true insomnia problems.

The concept however, it can be applied to insomnia problems by taking such misguided pseudo-wisdom and applying certain technologies that have been scientifically studied to assist the brain and induce a sleep response. Things such as binaural beats, properly designed audio CD sleep programs, white noise devices, e.t.c... all have shown very promising results because they successfully distract the mind from complex thought, hone and focus the mind on a simplistic yet repetitive task, thus allowing relaxation and sleep to come without much pause. 

So once you're in bed and the insomnia cycle begins, your mind races and you know it might be another rotten night of bad TV and eventual eye bags; before you do get up and raid the fridge, read, or go online, try utilizing one or more of the techniques below and see if that can help you relax and fall into the comfortable bliss we insomniacs find so elusive.
  1. Binaural Beats – binaural beats are auditory processing artifacts. They are made when two or more separate tones of slightly variant frequencies are perceived by the brain simultaneously, in the stereo field. These sound waves have been shown in  numerous studies to induce relaxation, meditation, creativity, in fact many desirable mental states. Many people with chronic, long term insomnia have seen their ailment all but disappear by utilizing binaural beat recordings. (See Holothink for more info)
  2. Meditation – When properly applied, meditation helps not only the act of falling asleep, but the quality of restful sleep you receive is said to improve greatly. As well, meditation has been linked time and time again to better heart and vascular health and a more balanced and serene lifestyle. I can't speak highly enough about adopting a program of meditation in one's life. Some Eastern monks have taken the art of meditation to such lengths that their resting heart rate is less than half that of normal human beings, which can't be a bad thing ;). Plainly, as history has shown, meditation is extremely powerful when applied correctly. (See Mindful Awareness Training for more info on proper meditation)
  3. White noise – products such as the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, or Adaptive Sound Therapy have also been shown in study after study to affect a positive result in those in need of insomnia cures. This process, as with binaural beats, connects with your brain on a subconscious level and does not require learning a technique or application of action per say (minus turning the machine on of course :)). Many of my readers have written to me after purchasing the Zeo Sleep Coach in particular, singing praises to it's effectiveness.
  4. Deep Breathing Exercises – deep, or diaphragmatic breathing is useful for inducing relaxation and sleep, which is why it is used in most meditation therapy. Some experts believe deep breathing helps affect a sleep response from the concentration required, along with it's repetitive nature. Others say it is due to the increased oxygenation of the blood vessels.  Either way, studies have shown it is effective, so if it works it's certainly worth a try.
    - The best technique for achieving proper diaphragmatic breathing is to breath deeply in through the nose, slowly, holding the breath for as long as it is comfortable, and then letting out the air through the mouth. Optimally your exhalation should last at least twice as long as the inhalation. The goal of deep breathing exercises is to expand the stomach and not the rib cage, while concentrating solely on filling your entire body with air.
So even after you've settled in for the night, PJ's on, light's out, and pillows fluffed, as long as you have a remote on the nightstand for your binaural beats or your sleep audio program, you can still have some insomnia cures available to assist your relaxation. Practicing meditation is as easy as learning the proper techniques, and deep breathing is something human beings have been doing naturally since we invented the wheel. Try any or all of these four things if you regularly suffer sleeplessness, and you may end up having more restful sleep than people without insomnia. Even if you have to spend a few dollars acquiring a quality program or white noise device, the money you save in health benefits and quality of life are definitely worth it.

Get some rest!