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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

How Mindfulness Can Beat Insomnia

While not everyone has suffered from Coronavirus and only a minority have faced severe disease, hospitalisation and the danger of death, the pandemic has certainly had a major impact on physical and mental health in other ways.

Insomnia has been one of the most notable and widely-reported symptoms. A number of factors may have played a part in this; the fear and anxiety arising from the crisis, the loneliness felt by many individuals and the disruption to normal routines of work and leisure may have all played a major part.

This effect has been seen in many countries. For example, US news outlet Healthline reports, the past year has seen a 20 per cent increase in prescriptions for sleep-inducing medication.

Britain has seen a similar trend, to which can be added the worrying news of a rise in illegal medication to fight sleep loss; Sky News has seen data from the WEDINOS laboratory, run by Public Health Wales, showing there has been a 25 per cent rise in the illegal purchase and use of benzodiazepines, which have the same status as class C drugs.

It is a established fact that stress and worry can leave people lying awake at night, churning negative thoughts over in their head, with their hearts fluttering and minds too active to relax. With hormones like adrenaline and cortisol present in high quantities, getting to sleep can be almost impossible.

All that is why now may be a very good time to try mindfulness as a better alternative to medication - legal or otherwise - to get a better night’s sleep.

Mindfulness works by allowing you to live in the moment, meaning anything that can wait for tomorrow will do just that. Learning to practise mindfulness means learning to let go of particular thoughts in the knowledge that you don’t actually need to hold on to them at all.

Of course, it’s not something anyone can do just like that, but it is a technique that can be learned with the right help. By seeking out mindfulness therapy based in London you can help to ensure you are going to get a better night’s sleep.

Mindfulness techniques can be allied to other sensible measures to help you sleep more. One of these is to ditch the familiar idea of trying to force yourself to sleep, which never works. The other is to turn off electronic devices sooner; not only can using them fill your mind with thoughts, but the light from them stimulates the mind and makes it harder to relax.

With the government recently setting out its exit strategy from lockdown and the vaccination programme continuing to make rapid progress, hopes will be higher that better times lie ahead and that cause for worry is diminishing.

However, for some the psychological impact of the pandemic may be lasting and the kind of anxiety that curbs sleep could last even when life has ostensibly returned to something close to normal.

That is why it is wise to get help now, because otherwise a tendency to be worried and anxious may become so deeply embedded that it will persist even when the pandemic is a fading memory.

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