Insomnia is a condition in which a person finds it difficult to fall asleep and/or remain asleep even though he or she has plenty of time to do so. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult requires at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function properly. Without adequate, restful sleep, people often feel tired, sluggish, irritable or even depressed. People suffer from insomnia may also have trouble concentrating on tasks during the day, and they may also be at a higher risk of accidental injury or death. You may be suffering from insomnia if you spend more than 30 minutes attempting to fall asleep on a regular basis, or if you find that you get less than six hours of sleep on most nights.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia can result from a number of different causes. The Mayo Clinic reports that common causes of insomnia may include:
- Overeating before bed
Eating too much food before bed can cause acid reflux and discomfort, both of which may cause you to stay awake long after you meant to fall asleep.
- Intake of alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
Although alcohol is a depressant, it can prevent you from getting the restful sleep you need. Caffeine and nicotine, on the other hand, are stimulants that can stop you from falling asleep well in the first place.
- Certain medications
Some medications, such as corticosteroids, may cause insomnia in some patients.
- Poor sleeping habits
If your sleeping environment is uncomfortable or if you don’t have a regular sleep schedule, you may find it difficult to fall asleep.
- Change in environment
If your schedule or living arrangements have changed recently, you may experience temporary insomnia while you adjust to the changes.
- Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions, such as chronic pain, may make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Many people who are suffering from depression will experience sleep disturbances, including insomnia.
Anxiety is a common cause of insomnia. People who feel anxious often spend time worrying after they go to bed, which can make sleep nearly impossible. This cause of insomnia may be temporary or ongoing.
Much like anxiety, stress can also lead to the development of insomnia. Whether you are stressed about work, relationships or health concerns, you may find it more difficult to sleep when your stress levels are high.
How Reiki Can Help
Regardless of the cause of your insomnia, Reiki may be beneficial. In some cases, Reiki may help by assisting to address the underlying cause of the insomnia. In other cases, Reiki may simply help you relax and establish better sleep patterns in spite of the cause of your condition.
If your insomnia is the result of stress, anxiety or depression, Reiki sessions may help to alleviate some of the problem. Some of the ways in which Reiki may help with these issues are detailed below.
- Reiki is relaxing.
Reiki often helps clients to relax, thus allowing them to put their problems in perspective and find a sense of mental and spiritual balance. This can lead to reduced stress and anxiety, which may in turn help relieve insomnia.
- Reiki gives control back to the client.
People who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression often feel like their life is not in their hands. Clients who participate in Reiki sessions are taking control of their condition, which may improve the symptoms.
- Reiki facilitates interpersonal connections.
Clients often feel supported and connected with their Reiki practitioners, who are caring and professional individuals. These interpersonal connections may alleviate the symptoms of depression and other mental problems, thus reducing incidences of insomnia.
Even if your insomnia is not the direct result of depression, anxiety or stress, Reiki sessions may still help you. Insomnia often occurs because of a combination of factors. Regardless of the factors contributing to your condition, relieving stress and restoring your sense of balance may still be beneficial. This is especially true if the cause of your insomnia cannot be addressed directly.
A recent study published in Biological Research for Nursing explored the ability of Reiki to produce a relaxation response. In this study, subjects’ heart rate variability, body temperature and cortisol levels were measured at various intervals before and after Reiki treatment. The study found that, while cortisol levels remained the same, there was a positive effect on heart rate variability and body temperature. This indicated a statistically significant relaxation response.
In another recent study, 15 volunteers who reported frequent episodes of insomnia were taught to use Reiki techniques for self-healing. At the end of the study, researchers found that Reiki improved sleep patterns and decreased episodes of insomnia among the participants. The results of the study also indicated that Reiki promotes stability of the parasympathetic nervous system, as well as calmness.
**This article appeared in The Reiki Times, the official magazine of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.
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Please Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only, and not intended as specific holistic health advice to the reader. Therefore, reading this article does not create a practitioner/client relationship. Reiki Therapy is meant to be used as a complement to traditional care, and does not substitute for qualified medical or traditional care.