Many of us have trouble sleeping. Whether you suffer from mild, occasional insomnia or toss and turn all night, you're not alone. Most of us have experienced insomnia at one time or another.

The biggest enemy of healthy sleep is active thinking when it's bedtime. Active thought creates beta waves in the brain that keep us awake. Although beta waves also occur during REM sleep, they happen after we're already asleep and don't keep us up. It's during the falling-asleep process that active thinking interferes with drifting off.

A state of drowsiness that discourages active thinking and encourages relaxation can sometimes be brought on by warm beverages, hot showers, and other techniques. However, if your brain is still involved in active thinking, these strategies won't work.

There is a trick to falling asleep effortlessly but it requires a bit of discipline. The trick is to move internally from an active thinking mode to a passive observing mode. Stop thinking and observe your mind instead. This can be difficult at first, but with a bit of practice it's easily mastered.

Imagine turning your brain to a neutral setting and then quietly observing your consciousness without getting involved in it. It's a lot like watching a movie. You're passively watching something, but you're not creating it. Once you do this a few times, you'll get the hang of it and sleep will come easily.

Symptoms of Insomnia can also result from issues unrelated to active thought. If that's the case, this technique probably won't work for you. Trouble sleeping can result from physical pain, sleeping disorders, or a sleeping area that's too hot, cold, noisy, or bright. You can deal with temperature, noise, and lighting, but sleeping disorders, illness, and physical pain usually require professional help.

Sleep disorders can cause you to be continuously sleepy when awake, even after you've had a full eight hours. Sleepwalking and sleep apnea can interfere with sound sleep, even though you're not aware of them. Sleep terrors and nightmares can cause regular abrupt awakenings throughout the night and lead to a fear of falling asleep.

Insomnia can also result from being out of sync with your circadian rhythm. A day person with a third shift job may have trouble sleeping.

Sleeping medications are not a good long-term solution if you have trouble sleeping. Prescription sleep aids are highly addictive and the withdrawal syndrome can be severe and dangerous.