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How Natural Stress Management Can Eliminate Sleep Problems

Stress is one of those necessary evils in our lives - something we don't necessarily want but can't live without. Our bodies are under stress from the moment we wake up: while we eat, breathe, walk and talk.

But stress is a natural part of life, and the key is making sure that it doesn't lead to more serious conditions, such as anxiety and depression, panic disorders and phobias.

Long-term, unhealthy levels of stress can lead to a variety of health concerns, including indigestion, dizziness, headaches, tremors, sexual difficulties, fatigue, weakness, aches and pains, heart palpitations, muscle tension, and sleep problems, including insomnia.

The techniques below are useful for you if you are stressed, but also if you have a lot of left-brain activity in your job, and you find it difficult to switch your brain off at the end of the day.

This problem is very common with people who use computers all day, and/or who are reviewing details all day, and who have a lot of different things to remember in a day. These are the insomnia types who find it difficult to go to fall asleep at night (but often, once you're actually asleep you'll sleep happily all night).

By following natural techniques, you can learn to develop habits that will lead to better sleep and help eliminate your insomnia and other sleep problems, greatly reducing the amount of stress in your life.

1. Before bed, try a relaxation technique. Sit quietly and take deep breaths. Focus on the world around you. Close your eyes as you concentrate on your breathing. Count one, two, three, as you slowly breathe in and out. This natural method is excellent for reducing stress and in time can improve the depth and quality of your sleep.

If you want to go further with this idea Google "Cooks Hook-up" to find Dr Cook's excellent way to balance both your left and right brain hemispheres in a simple breathing exercise.

2. Listen to quieting music, something with a steady, metronome quality. This will assist in regulating your breathing and ultimately help reduce stress and eliminate sleep problems. If you're in bed, you can use your iPod or MP3 player so as not to disturb your partner.

3. Wind down and effectively shut off your brain. Avoid doing anything stimulating (including watching TV). Instead, try something relaxing, like massaging your feet, giving yourself a manicure, or reading a book.

4. Keep a bedside journal. By jotting down what you're feeling and what's happening inside your head just before you turn out the lights, you're tuning in to your relaxed, unconscious thoughts.

You may begin to detect patterns that might better explain your sleeplessness, e.g. certain stress triggers (family, work issues, etc.) or food triggers (caffeine, spicy foods, etc.) that you might be able to better control once you're aware they exist.

5. Take a break during the day. Before stress can escalate into nighttime sleep problems, take a step back and examine your stressors. Get away from stressful situations by taking a walk, grabbing a drink of water-whatever it takes to remove yourself, even for just a few minutes. That quick escape can help you prioritize your concerns and you may just realize that whatever the issue is, it's not worth taking a toll on your health.

6. Don't be a workaholic. As the saying goes, "No one on his deathbed ever said he wished he'd spent more time at the office." Even if you love your job, it's highly unlikely you love the stress that often accompanies it. If you're highly stressed at work, reevaluate your habits.

This may sound obvious, but you'll be amazed at how much stress you can eliminate once you realize it's there. So find better, more constructive ways to do your tasks. Examine your schedule if you're putting in too many hours. See if your company offers time management or stress reduction seminars.

7. Review what your stress is about. If it's a permanent problem like a job you hate, a partner you can't get on with, a mortgage that's totally stressful, a lifestyle that's hectic - then the solution could be a decision away.

There's power in decisiveness, if you can find the courage to vote for your future. No amount of slow breathing and quiet music is going to fix a major problem you keep avoiding. 'Natural solutions' include decision making.

Remember, you need to affect change, eliminating or at least reducing those factors causing your stress. By following these natural techniques, you can reduce your stress and help eliminate your sleep problems. By reducing stress, you will be able to sleep better naturally.

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