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Insomnia is a problem that affects just about everybody at one time or another in their lives. Although hard statistics are difficult to come by, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that as many as 30% of adult Americans suffer from sleeplessness on a nightly basis, and 10% of those cases are severe enough to impair daytime functioning. Defined by the NIH as, "complaints of disturbed sleep in the presence of adequate opportunity and circumstance for sleep," insomnia can be caused by many factors, including but not limited to sleep apnea, jet lag, depression, anxiety, or acid reflux disease. If your insomnia goes on for more than a week, please see your health-care provider, as prolonged insomnia can be a sign (or cause!) of a deeper health issue. However, for simple occasional insomnia, here are some tips and hints that may help.

Some people prefer to treat this unhappy circumstance by the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as Valium or Benadryl. Still others prefer to ingest arguably gentler substances, such as hot milk, or teas made of such soothing herbs as chamomile, lavender, catnip, or passion flower. I like to give my occasional insomnia a double whammy - instead of hot water to brew my chamomile tea, I'll use hot milk.

For other insomnia sufferers, biofeedback, meditation, and other relaxation practices are the key. The Wild Divine series of biofeedback tools are perfect for learning how to use your mind to relax your body.

Aromatherapy can help, too - place a few drops of bergamot essential oil on a tissue or cotton ball and place it inside your pillowcase before you go to bed. Or take a bath (warm water, please - hot water will wake you up!) with Moon Magick Bath Salts - we make them with pure, natural essential oils, and our Peace, Tranquility, or even Meditation varieties are awesome for folks who need some help relaxing enough to sleep.

Finally, here's a simple meditation that works great for me and many others who've tried it. Open your mind's eye to see and feel yourself floating inside a beautiful red cloud. Feel and see yourself sinking gently downward through this mist of red. Visualize yourself sinking through and out the bottom of the red cloud into one colored orange. As you continue to gently, soothingly float downwards, imagine yourself sinking through successive clouds of yellow, green, blue, indigo, and finally purple. If you stay awake long enough to get to the purple cloud, chances are you'll be asleep shortly after arriving there.

We've found that music and other sound therapies, whether with or without verbal guidance, can work beautifully with any of these methods. Here are some popular CDs that many of our customers have found useful in their journey through insomnia.

Natural Music for Sleep - Dr. Jeffrey Thompson This breakthrough musical system, developed over 15 years of clinical research, is proven to lead the listener to deep and restful sleep. Simply listen at bedtime, and specific inaudible sound frequencies, embedded into the soundtrack, help you to fall asleep easily and naturally. Contains no spoken words or subliminal messages.

Sleep - Keith Banfield This specially crafted piece of music has been designed to aid relaxation and can be used to help you drift off into relaxing, peaceful sleep. Used in conjunction with the methods described in the accompanying booklet, this CD can be a useful tool in your anti-insomnia kit.

Super Sleep - Hemi-Sync This CD helps you produce the natural brain-wave patterns of the Delta-sleep state and enjoy the benefits of totally refreshing, deeply restorative sleep. Use ear buds, headphones, or speakers placed on either side of your bed. Play Super Sleep continuously to support uninterrupted sleep and get a good night's rest. Non'verbal and contains no music. You will hear soothing sound effects combined with specific sound frequencies as you gently move into sleep.

Guided Meditation for Sleep - Simonette Vaja One of the easiest methods to help you enjoy a beautiful sleep is to listen to this guided meditation. Vaja's entrancing voice and Ian Cameron Smith's gentle music combine to call you into the excellent sleep you need. Includes a full color guide packed with info about sleep and helpful ideas for you on how to sleep better.

Delta Sleep System, vol. 2 - Dr. Jeffrey Thompson Play either of these CDs on any ordinary stereo or through headphones. Pulses of sound embedded into an ambient musical soundtrack, combining rich orchestration and 3D sounds of nature will coax your own brainwaves toward the Delta level that brings deep, refreshing sleep.

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