Insomnia is a term used to denote a sleep disorder in which there is difficulty in falling or staying asleep or wake up too early or not able to get back to sleep. It can create many problems in your routine life like low energy levels, decreased energy to work and tiredness throughout the day.
The usual sleep duration required by an adult is seven to eight hours of continuous sleep on an average. When a person develops insomnia, this duration decreases significantly. This can be a result of some stress or may be associated with some other disease like joint pains which renders the person unable to sleep. Depending upon the cause of insomnia, it can be divided into two types, viz., primary (not associated with any other health condition) and secondary (associated with some other medical condition lie asthma, depression, arthritis, etc.). Also, depending upon the duration of insomnia, it can be of acute (can occur because of some acute stress which remains for a short period of time) or chronic (which persists for more than a month due to some persistent cause) in nature.
Sleep helps us to refresh our energy levels, relaxes out the brain from stress and anxieties and helps in repairment of wear and tear which our body gets from our activities throughout the daytime. Hence, sleep deprivation reduces all such activities of the body and causes the following symptoms:
- Unable to fall asleep at night easily
- Waking up frequently while asleep at night
- The tired feeling during the day
- Unrefreshing sleep, i.e., a feeling of tiredness even after sleep
- Difficulty in concentration
- Sleepiness during daytime
- Decreased work efficiency
There are different reasons for acute and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia can be a result of the following causes:
- Sudden stress in life leading to significant disturbance, e.g., loss of a job, death of dear one, divorce, etc.
- Acute diseases like cold, allergies, etc.
- Sleep disturbing factors in the surroundings like noise, light, etc.
- Disturbance in normal sleep cycle which includes jet lag, changing from day to night shifts, etc.
- Some medicines may also disturb sleep e.g., that used for the treatment of coryza, allergies, depression, etc.
Chronic insomnia can be a result of the following causes:
- Chronic stress
- Chronic disease conditions causing night pains or discomfort like asthma, arthralgia, etc.
Treatment line for insomnia depends upon its cause, severity and its consecutive effects upon the person, such as low work efficiency at workplace. -Following are the ways to fight insomnia:
- If not severe, acute insomnia may resolve by itself without treatment. While chronic insomnia depends upon treating its cause.
- If insomnia is mild, it can be resolved by adopting some changes in the sleeping pattern which are termed as good sleeping habits and are described below:
- Avoid using phones or other reading gadgets at night before sleep, as this habit makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Do not take naps during the day as this makes you feel less sleepy at night. Also, try to schedule your sleep at same time every night and wake up at same time in the morning to ensure a proper diurnal cycle.
- Do not take stimulants like coffee, alcohol, nicotine, etc. in the late hours of the day before going to bed as these tend to prevent sleep.
- Ensure that the bedroom is comfortable, has no noise, should be dark, and should not be too warm or cold. Sleeping masks or earplugs can be used to avoid light and noises respectively.
- Try to do something before sleep, which can relax you or make you forget your stress like listen to music, read a book etc.
If the above stated good sleeping habits alone are not helping you to sleep, then treatment can be taken from a medical professional. There are many Homeopathic medicines which can be used for insomnia. Unlike the sleeping pills of modern medicine, these do not cause side-effects. Following is a list of Homeopathic medicines for insomnia which should be taken only after consultation of a registered Homeopathic physician:
AVENA SATIVA: Indicated for sleeplessness, especially in alcoholics or in people who suffer from harmful effects of morphine.
COCA ERTHROXYLON: This should be given when the person feels sleepy but cannot find the rest anywhere. It is also indicated for teething children where teething is accompanied by nervousness and restlessness at night.
COCULUS INDICA: For persons having insomnia caused by night watching, nursing, etc. drowsiness will be there but the person is not able to sleep.
COFFEA CRUDA: Indicated when there is insomnia on account of mental activity. The person is wakeful always. Sleeps till 3 a.m. only after which only dozes. Wakes up suddenly with startling and after that, the sleep is disturbed from dreams.
IGNATIA AMARA: For insomnia developed from grief, cares accompanied by itching of arms and violent yawning. Dreams come continuously which tends to trouble her.
KALIUM BROMATUM: To think of insomnia arising from stress, grief and sexual excess. Sleep is restless and has horrible dreams during sleep.
PASSIFLORA INCARNATA: Indicated for restless and wakeful sleep, which is a result of exhaustion. Suited to feeble infants and aged people who worry a lot and do over-work and develop insomnia afterward. Also, to people having tendency to convulsions.