In this article we look at some simple and effective sleep techniques. We've all heard about counting sheep and to be honest its effectiveness varies from person to person. With others it may not work at all. The reason often being is that too much concentration and focus is put on the actual task. If the conscious mind is too awake you may find yourself counting up to 1000 and still not feel any sleepier.

During a sleepless night, you may notice that your conscious mind is overly active and that sleep does not come easily. What most people don't realize is that it's the subconscious part of the mind that knows how to sleep. Fact is, sleep is a natural process which is supposed to just happen. I'm sure you've tried, but you absolutely cannot will yourself to sleep with the conscious mind, it just doesn't happen that way.

If you've suffered from insomnia for many years and relied on sleep medication to help you sleep, you may find natural sleep nigh on impossible. This is because you have come to rely on sleeping pills and you are no longer relying on your natural ability to sleep.

You are no longer letting your subconscious do its job and suppressing your ability to sleep. However we are capable of relearning how to sleep, or more accurately, reawakening and reinforcing our own ability to sleep.

Although dealing with insomnia is a complex process, the following simple sleep technique may be of some help. Don't get frustrated if it doesn't work. Your insomnia didn't develop overnight, so please do not expect an overnight cure. Instead, enjoy the task, let yourself become immersed, it's a time to relax and not a time to think or worry.

• So, once you're ready to sleep, ensure that your bedroom is dark, comfortable and not too warm. It's best to lie on your back for this. So get yourself in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

• Now begin to breathe deeply and slowly. Listen to each slow inhale and exhale. On each exhale, feel your body sinking down into the bed. Feel your body heavy and tired. Continue this until you feel relaxed from head to toe.

• Now it's time to begin with some affirmations. Imagine a calm and soothing voice and tell yourself 'You feel sleepy and tired' and 'You will sleep better and better every night' Feel free to adapt and change the affirmations. Just ensure that you use positive language.

• Now continuing with your deep, slow breathing, begin to count up on each exhale. Working from your head to your toes, relax a part of your body on each exhale. Imagine and feel your body heavy and sinking deeper into the bed. Continue this until you reach your toes.

• You may find that you lose track when counting. This is a good sign that you're drifting, if this happens, don't worry exactly where you were, just continue roughly where you left off. If at the end you are still awake, don't panic! You can't expect miracle cures. This is just a simple sleep technique that will help your conscious mind drift and your subconscious take over to allow you to fall into sleep.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you are interested in more advanced sleep techniques and a look at alternative therapies and practices, as well as improving you sleep habits, stay posted.

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