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Sandy Schell, ACST, LWC


Sandy Schell

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About Insomnia

Do you have difficulty falling asleep?  Or do you wake up during the night and cannot get back to sleep?  Do you wake up feeling tired in the mornings?


You’re not alone.  More than 25% of the US population is unhappy, to at least some degree, with their sleep habits.

What Is Insomnia - About Insomnia - Symptoms of Insomnia

While some people have insomnia related to specific health challenges, such as asthma, heartburn, or depression, others have insomnia because of alcohol use or pain medications that keep them up.  


Insomnia can come and go, or it can last for a long while.  If you have insomnia 3 nights or more per week, and you’ve been experiencing this for longer than a month, you have what is considered chronic insomnia.


If you feel sleepy during the day, are feeling tired and irritable, or you’re having trouble with your memory, or problems concentrating, you have what are considered to be classic symptoms of insomnia.


Most people that have insomnia have an idea of what is causing it.  Stress is a big contributor to insomnia.  Job worries, health issues, anxiety, depression, significant changes in life (divorce, loss of a loved one, job loss, major move), can all contribute to having sleepless nights.


And be aware that our environment can be contributing to a loss of good sleep.  Too much light or noise, physical discomfort, and room temperature, are all factors that can affect how well we sleep at night.


Tips for insomnia - so you can get a better night’s rest:


1. Stop eating food and drinking fluids at least 2-3 hours before bed.  While some people claim a light snack before bed helps them sleep, other people sleep better when they’re stomachs are not digesting food.


2. Avoiding stimulants and alcohol in the evenings typically helps people get a better and deeper night’s rest.


3. Exercise is great, just not in the evenings.  If you’re exercising less than 3 hours before bedtime, you may be setting yourself up for a not-so-restful night’s sleep.


4. Spending even as little as 10-15 minutes outdoors each day has been reported as being helpful in correcting imbalances in sleep cycles.  Melatonin is a hormone in our body that helps to regulate our sleep cycles.  Studies have shown that spending a bit of time outdoors every day can help melatonin do its job better, which could in turn, provide for a better night’s rest.


5. Make every effort to go to bed around the same time every night.   Getting up around the same time in the morning reinforces this.   


6. Taking naps is a regularly debated topic, with some saying naps are helpful, and other saying they’re not.  It’s best to listen to your body.  If taking a short (15-20 minute) nap is helpful to you, and you can get a good night’s rest, then great.  However, if taking a nap interferes with the quality of sleep you experience that night, then better you stay away from naps.


7. Atmosphere is very important to a good night’s sleep, more so than many know.  Make your bed and your bedroom comfortable for sleeping.  Make sure all the lights go off at night, especially the ones that blink, like the lights on computers.  A room that is quiet, dark, and is a comfortable temperature will enhance the quantity and quality of sleep you get.


8. If you sleep next to someone who snores, or there are other noises nearby, try earplugs or a white noise machine (even a small fan can work).  There are a wide variety of earplugs for every shape and ear size these days.  And if you try a white noise machine, a constant noise, rather than a changing noise is reportedly better for deep sleep.


9. Turn off the lights, tv, and other electronics devices at least ½ hour before bed.  Many people report that reading something pleasant and relaxing helps them drift off the sleep.  Also, taking a warm bath with Epsom Salts and 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil can help you wind down at the end of your day.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts helps the body release tension, and the lavender (in small doses) relaxes the mind, helping you be ready for a good night’s rest.


10. Don’t use your bed as an office.  Keep your business materials, homework, computer, and anything else that engages your mind in stimulating ways out of the bedroom.


11. Don’t watch the clock.  Set an alarm for when you want to get up, and then set the clock facing away from you.  Or better yet, put the clock in a drawer in the nightstand.


12. Do a few minutes of deep breathing.  Sit comfortably in bed. Take a comfortable, deep breath in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for a count of 2, and release your breath through your mouth for a count of 6.  Repeat this 10 times.


13. If you have a lot on your mind before lying down to sleep, jot down your ideas, to-do list, etc on a pad before turning out the lights.  This process of emptying your mind will help you know that you can pick up tomorrow morning where you left off, without forgetting anything important.


14. If you find yourself lying in bed counting sheep, and not falling asleep, many report that it’s best to just get up and read, listen to soft music, or do something relaxing, like knitting, until you feel sleepy.



If, after trying the above tips, you’re still having trouble sleeping, CranioSacral Therapy may help you get a better night’s sleep – more often, and more regularly.  Please contact us for a complimentary consultation, where we can discuss your specific concerns and circumstances, and see how Body Wisdom CranioSacral Therapy would be of benefit to you.