Many of you may have heard the recent article on the BBC News reporting that taking sleeping tablets may be harmful.
The story comes from a large American study by the Jackson Hole Centre for Preventive Medicine in Wyoming and the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Centre in California, which found that people taking sleeping pills were four times more likely to die during a 2½-year period, compared to those not taking these pills.
The experts are still divided on the study results, and doctors say we should not be alarmed nor stop taking our medication, but it is clear that further research will need to be done to identify if there are any potential harmful affects from sleeping tablets.
Insomnia affects many of us and each year millions of adults and children suffer from sleepless nights and endless tossing and turning. According to some doctors, insomnia is the most common mental health problem in the UK, but less than half of the people suffering from insomnia mention it to their doctors because they feel it is too trivial and think they can manage on their own.
There are many different symptoms for insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, waking up early in the morning and feeling exhausted.
Insomnia is often due to stress, anxiety and problems at home and work, and the lack of sleep often leads to further stress and anxiety, resulting in a cycle of sleeplessness.
Breaking this cycle is very important and alternative therapies such as reflexology may help.
Reflexology helps you relax and cope better with stress. It cannot get rid of the external causes of stress, but it can help you get a better night's sleep. Reflexology aims at restoring balance in the body and mind and most of my clients find the treatment useful in improving their sleep patterns with longer sleep cycles, less interrupted sleep and deeper sleep. As a result of this clients say they are better able to cope with stressful situations resulting in less anxiety.
I give clients reflexology in a reclining 'weightless' chair and some people find the treatment so relaxing they fall asleep during the session and (unfortunately) I have to wake them when its all over!
If you don't fancy reflexology, there are still plenty of alternatives: a warm drink before bedtime, a hot bath, herbal tea and a relaxing book should all work.
And remember... for some, insomnia is not a problem at all. As we get older, many of us need less sleep at night and we often think we suffer from insomnia when actually we don't – we just need less sleep!
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