Are your worries keeping you awake at night? Do you find yourself tossing and turning in the early hours, unable to switch off and stop your mind flying round at 150 mph?

Loss of sleep means your concentration, productivity, enjoyment of life and health are compromised as we need periods of rest to recover fully from active days. If you regularly experience sleep loss, the body and mind can get into a ‘habit’ and you can come to expect a poor night. So we have to remind ourselves that it’s OK to let go and drift off.

Insomnia or interrupted sleep patterns is just one of the signs of undue stress and here Annie Lawler gives 6 great tips for getting a great night’s sleep. Following her career as director of a London ad agency and experiencing the ill-effects of undue stress herself, Annie Lawler, qualified in Stress Management, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy & Reiki and set up her business, Breathing Space Therapies & Breathing Space for Business. She is a member of the Complementary Medical Association and the Institute of Stress Management.

1. Concentrate on your breathing. Shift your focus by taking some deep breaths, filling the abdomen & chest cavity right up to the collar bone. Then let the breath out, concentrating on releasing and letting go. Feel any tension in your muscles release and notice the quality of the breath in and the breath out. Not only does this help you relax, it distracts your mind from troubling thoughts and shifts your attention.

2. Focus on different parts of your body, working up from the toes & feet and feel each area start to relax and let go, as you imagine feeling warmth and calm move gradually through each part of the body, ending with the forehead, eyes, cheeks, ears, jawbone and chin. You’ll often fall asleep before you get much more than half way up the body.

3. Keep a notepad and pen near the bed and write down all the things that are troubling you or which you’re telling yourself you ‘mustn’t forget’ or you ‘should have done’ and haven’t. This has an instant download effect and allows you to relax about what’s to be done tomorrow and simply get a good night’s rest, leaving you refreshed and alert in the morning.

4. A few drops of lavender oil on a tissue or your pillow can help you relax and drop off to sleep. Lavender is one of the few aromatherapy oils which you can apply directly to the skin, so you can also put it on your pulse points at the temples and wrists.

5. If absolutely necessary, get up for about half an hour or so. Avoid the temptation to switch on the TV as this will merely excite your brain. If you find reading relaxing, then settle down and read a few pages of a good book or listen to some soothing music whilst sipping a cup of chamomile tea, which has relaxing qualities. This is often sufficient to break the pattern of ‘whirling ab dabs’ so that you can return to bed and let yourself drift off to a restful sleep.

6. Finally, if you find yourself lying in bed thinking ‘Oh God. I can’t sleep’ and becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned, tell yourself silently to ‘STOP’ and repeat to yourself over and over, ‘I am drifting off into a comfortable, rejuvenating and restful night’s sleep and can allow myself to relax and enjoy it.’

One happy customer who tried these tips and worked with Annie’s recording, ‘Blissful Sleep in a Box’ said, “My husband says to say thank you! Because I’m sleeping so much better, so is he and I can’t tell you how grateful we both are.”

Author's Bio: 

After working for over 20 years in competitive business such as the theatre and later on the Board of advertising agencies, I was only too familiar with undue stress and the symptoms and effects it can have on one's life.

8 years ago, I made some drastic changes to my life which included my relationship, where I lived and ultimately where I worked and what I did. Whilst these were at times painful, it has been the biggest period of growth in my life and I am delighted that I am now able to facilitate others in becoming hapier, healthier, more effective people.

Stress management has now become my passion and I am now also qualified in hypnotherapy, EFT, psychotherapy, Reiki & massage - all of which are tools I can use to help my clients.

It was early in my practice that I recognised that unduly stressed people often find it hard to make time for themselves and to come in and see me. So, I embarked on a programme to launch tools which they can use in their own time and space, either in conjunction with therapy or as a standalone.

My stress-relieving CDs were launched almost a year ago and are now distributed via my website, via my distributors New World Music and via (search term Annie Lawler) and have also been launched in the Beth Israel Medical Center Cancer division in New York, following extensive trials.

Recordings are available on CD or download and cover subjects such as insomnia, high blood pressure, stress, low self-esteem, pain, anxiety fears & phobias, exam nerves, healthy pregnancy and becoming a non-smoker. This year has also seen the launch of a new series of 'tutorials' on stress related subjects including, exam success, self-confidence, stress and developing a positive attitude. Entitled the 'Fast Track Masterclass' series, these complement the 'Self-help in a box' series.

I continue to run my programme of Teleseminars, seminars, 1-2-1 coaching and counselling sessions, seminars and group sessions.