I cannot seem to switch off at night. Thoughts are whirring around my head for hours and hours and I can’t get to sleep. I am becoming increasingly distressed as I rarely get a decent night’s sleep. Please help.

Insomnia and sleep issues are very common in our region. In fact, the demands of modern living and the stresses of high-pressure careers can often make sleep a rare commodity indeed.

Humans have evolved to be the ultimate problem solvers. We’re great at finding solutions, so when there isn’t one immediately at hand, our brains buzz around trying to find one.

If you have lots of concerns, stresses and deadlines your brain will continually attempt to ‘remind you’ of these and the perfect time – yep, that is bedtime, when you can mull over and dissect every last detail from the comfort of your own bed. Patterns form and we get to a point where not only are we worrying about the stuff of daily life, but are also worrying about whether we will be able to sleep properly. The tortuous cycle just continues and I feel this is where you’re currently at.

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One method I use with my clients is called a ‘worry diary’. This is a simple tool (a diary) where you allocate time in your day specifically for worries. Choose a time and write down or log your worries. The concept simply means that when they are logged, your brain doesn’t need to re-allocate these worries at the point of sleep. You can rightly inform your subconscious self that the concern in question has already been dealt with.

Dealing with the source of your worries will also help. You need to take some time to work out where they are rooted. Once you’ve spent a month writing your ‘worry diary’, take the time to read over it and see if you can find the bigger picture. Our day-to-day anxieties often originate at a much deeper source, but once you understand them, you can feel sufficiently empowered to ring in the changes.

Our obsession with technology is also a contributing factor to our lack of sleep. The blue light emitted from gadgets can keep you awake or cause poor sleep quality. What we look at on those gadgets can contribute to sleepless nights too. Constant checking of social media in the evenings bombards our brain with information, just when we need it to be winding down. If you are guilty of this, consider implementing a new regime and turn them off a couple of hours before bed. Replace technology time with relaxation time. Try this for a month too and see whether it makes a difference.

Finally, taking a more holistic approach can also help get you back on track. Our bodies are machines and they need looking after. All too often we treat them worse than we treat our cars. Exercise and good nutrition provide the solid foundations from which to build a good night’s sleep. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise daily is great.

Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based lifecoach and hypnotherapist. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.