If you suffer from insomnia, then you have probably been wondering how to fall asleep during those sleepless nights. More often than not, insomnia sufferers complain of not being able to relax enough to sleep. Those racing, relentless thoughts that plague the mind at night seem never ending.

Although it is not uncommon for most adults to suffer from a sleepless night, for the insomnia sufferer it is a reoccurring problem. Unfortunately, 40 percent of insomnia sufferers rely on over the counter sleep aids or prescribed sleeping pills to combat sleeplessness. The question is, are they effective? And what are the long term effects of taking sleeping pills?

Taking sleeping pills over a long period will break down your body's natural sleep cycle and make natural sleep very difficult. Most sleeping pills on the market will disrupt normal brain wave patterns. This can affect the quality and quantity of sleep attained.

It's common to feel groggy, drowsy or tired in the morning. Sleep may feel un-refreshing and you may experience side effects such as, blurred vision, dizziness and palpitations. Sleeping pills may help you get to sleep but with continual use your body will build tolerance, and you may feel tempted to increase your dosage to attain the same affect.

Using prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids to catch up on your sleep is generally ok, but should be avoided. You should consult your doctor before taking sleep medication and never increase your dosage, without professional medical advice. You should also avoid taking them for more than 2 or 3 nights in a row, as prolonged use can cause 'rebound' insomnia, which may be more difficult to treat.

Insomnia can be difficult to treat especially when the sufferer has relied upon sleeping pills over a long period. This is because natural sleep is not attained and the sufferer is no longer relying on his or her own ability to sleep. It's easy to fall into the trap of taking sleeping pills, as most of us think that if we deal with the symptoms, the problem will go away.

There are far more effective ways to deal with insomnia which do not require medication. You see, insomnia is a learned habit. In this day an age, stress, worry and anxiety are increasingly common problems. Financial problems, relationships and work are common factors. We often ignore our body's signal that we are under too much stress. But by doing this it can have detrimental effects on our emotional behavior.

Stress is one of the major causes of insomnia. We get up, rush to work, spend the day rushing around trying to stay on top of work, go pick up the kids, go to the supermarket, rush home, slave away on the stove, do the dishes, put the kids to sleep and collapse on the couch completely burnt out. At this point we switch on the TV, eyes glazed with a million thoughts of the day and the next, whizzing around our heads.

We go to bed carrying these thoughts which seem to trigger a domino effect of thoughts, inevitably keeping us awake. It may be worry or anxiety, but more often they're just random thoughts spiraling out of control.

Everyone has the ability to sleep and it's the subconscious part of the mind that knows how to fall asleep. Through bad sleep habits, negative sleep thoughts and stress you've reconditioned the mind and your conscious mind becomes too dominant at night. Inevitably you will find that it's even more difficult to let the subconscious mind to take over and do its job.

By taking sleeping pills you are only reinforcing this, because you are no longer relying on your natural ability to sleep. But don't worry, just like learning to ride a bike or drive a car, the subconscious mind is able to learn how to sleep. More accurately you reawaken and reinforce your own natural ability to sleep.

How do we do this? Well first off we need to tackle the cause and improve our sleep habits. You need to take a step back, maybe even write down a list of causes and work to eliminate them. There are far more advanced techniques and therapies such as hypnosis, EFT, NLP and acupuncture which are completely drug free and work to remove the underlying cause.

For now these are some basic tips you can start applying to begin the process of establishing a good sleep routine:

# Establish a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it.
# Have a hot bath an hour or so before you sleep.
# Unwind with some soothing music or some chamomile tea.
# Leave your stresses of the day behind.
# Maximize your exposure to sunlight in the day.
# Make sure that your bed is comfortable and supportive.
# Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool.
# Release your stresses and worries by talking about your problems.
# Remember that bedtime is for sleep and restoration and not a time for worry or thoughts.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. For a more detailed look at more advanced techniques on how to fall asleep stay tuned for my next article.

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Click Here To Learn How To Fall Asleep Easily Every Night. If you have trouble sleeping and want to know more on how you can cure your insomnia, please visit the How to Fall Asleep site now.