Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. It is characterized by inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep. A person suffering from the disorder will often wake up at night, have problems falling and maintaining sleep, feeling tired even after long hours of sleep and having trouble going back to sleep after waking up at night. Chiefly, there are two types of insomnia. They include primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is characterized by lack of sleep or having sleep problems. A person with the disorder does not have any other health condition and the problem cannot be associated with any disease. Secondary insomnia on the other hand occurs due to health conditions including asthma, cancer, respiratory problems, arthritis, and pain in the body, depression and heartburn. Taking medication for these conditions can cause insomnia. Similarly, a patient can suffer acute or chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia lasts for a short period say, one to a few weeks. On the other hand chronic insomnia is long term and can last for weeks, months or even longer. Therefore, the symptoms will vary from one patient to the other depending on the cause of the disorder.
Causes of Insomnia
There are many causes of insomnia including:
- Life stress say at work, due to death of a loved on, divorce or moving from one place to another,
- Physical or emotional discomfort,
- The use of medical for asthma, high blood pressure, medication for treating colds, allergies, depression and other diseases can cause sleep problems,
- Switching from day to nightshift can cause sleep problems,
- Jetlag can cause insomnia,
- Pain and discomfort at night,
- Anxiety and depression,
- Chronic stress,
- Traumatic experiences say road accidents,
- Uncomfortable sleep environment,
- Spending too much tome in the sunlight and too much darkness at night,
- Irregular sleep patterns,
- Painful breakup,
- Use of illicit drugs,
- Alcohol use and alcohol withdrawal,
- Sleep hygiene, obesity, dementia and parkinson’s disease,
- Pregnancy, psychosis and congestive heart failure,
- Mental and physical causes of insomnia.
Insomnia can go away on its own especially if it occurs because of a natural cause. However, the disorder can be quite persistent if it is caused by a physical or mental factor such as medications including antidepressants, cold and flu medications, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, pain relievers that contain caffeine, diuretics and high blood pressure medications.
Psychological problems including anxiety, chronic stress, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and bipolar disorder.
Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy can cause insomnia.
Symptoms of Insomnia
- Daytime fatigue,
- Lack of energy,
- Poor social functions,
- Headache and increased mistakes when carrying out everyday functions,
- Poor social function,
- Daytime sleepiness,
- Problems with memory and concentration,
- Relying on alcohol and sleeping pills to fall asleep,
- Waking up too early,
- Trouble getting back to sleep when awakened,
- Difficulty falling asleep even after a tight and busy schedule,
- Waking up in the middle of the night and un-refreshing sleep.
Insomnia is treatable both using home remedies and medication. It is often imperative to see a doctor for diagnosis and proper treatment. Note that insomnia can be a symptom of a disease or a physical disorder. A medic will diagnose and offer the best treatment option. In most cases, a medic will recommend home remedies for healthy insomniac. Therefore, if you have any symptom of the disorder, do not hesitate to see a medic.
Insomnia Home Remedies
Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Take a Warm Bath– Taking a warm bath is an excellent remedy for insomnia. It helps to relax body muscles, soothe any pain and relives you of mild stress. Do not over do it. The aim of a warm bath is to relax the body and not to drain its vitality. Use bath salts and baking soda. They help to relax the body and remove any toxins. You will feel refreshed, relaxed and in a better position to sleep without any problem.
- Massage– A massage is an excellent home remedy for insomnia. Get a massage from your spouse, family or friend before you sleep. A full body massage is excellent because it relaxes the whole body. A backrub, face and scalp massage is of great help because it releases tension in muscles, relaxes the body and soothes you to sleep.
- Listen to Music– Listening to music helps to treat insomnia. Today, there are many music genres. Choose your favorite music and listen to in bed or prior to sleeping. Ensure the music is soothing and relaxing. This will help you fall asleep without a problem.
- Warm Milk– A cup of warm milk is great when treating insomnia. Take a cup 15minutes before sleeping. Milk is known to soothe the nervous system. It contains calcium and works directly by relaxing your nerves especially jagged nerves thus helping you to fall asleep.
- Herbal Tea– Herbal tea is an excellent home remedy for insomnia. This is a great option for those who do not like dairy products. Herbal tea contains a wide range of ingredients including chamomile that help to relax the body and soothing effect for you to fall asleep. Catnip, anise, fennel tea and chamomile are a few examples of herbal tea that will help you to manage the condition. They contain natural ingredients and are easily available in food stores. You can always choose an herb tea flavor that suits your needs best. Blends of herb tea are known to help you fall asleep and maintain it for a long time.
- Sleep Environment– Sleep hygiene is additionally very important in the treatment of insomnia. This means that you should sleep in a clean, quite and cool bedroom. Avoid any form of noise, heat and excessive light in the room. A good sleeping environment relaxes your body and enables you to fall asleep faster.
- Regular Sleep Pattern– Ensure a regular sleep pattern. Get in and out of bed at a regular schedule. You can set an alarm to wake you up in the morning and ensure you maintain a steady time when getting to bed at night. A regular schedule enables the body to accustom itself thus, preventing insomnia. Avoid naps during the day because it interferes with your sleeping pattern.
- Try to Avoid Stress– Before you sleep, it is important to avoid stressful situations and activities that stimulate the body say vigorous exercises.
- Eat a Well Balanced Meal– Ensure to eat a well balanced meal before sleeping. Additionally, avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine prior to sleeping.
- Try This– Preparing your brain for sleep is additionally an excellent home remedy for insomnia. It stimulates production of hormone melatonin that helps you to fall asleep. It makes the brain feel sleepy. You can prepare your brain for sleep by increasing light exposure during the day and limiting light at night, keep warm, relax, listen to soothing music and taking a cup of milk will help prepare your brain and body for sleep.
- Chamomile- This is an honored sedative herbal remedy that can be effective in treating insomnia if used safely. Chamomile is normally used to prepare a special type of tea that helps to improve conditions such as irritability and restlessness. This herb is especially effective in children. You can also put some chamomile tea in your bathing water to calm overwrought nerves.
- Hops- This herb was used by the eclectic physicians to treat insomnia. It was applied as a sedative to improve conditions such as nerve weakness. It is a perfect flavoring element of beverages and drinks such as beer. It is known to be effective in dealing with conditions such as sleeplessness, restlessness, nervousness, and more. Use this herb for about a week. If the condition does not improve even after applying these herbal remedies, contact your doctor.
- Lavender- This is normally used to strengthen the nervous system. You can use it by adding a few of its drops to the water when bathing. This should be done before bedtime by people with insomnia or any other sleeping disorder. Alternatively, you can use the lavender oil as rubdown oil or a compress. Other people simply inhale it to improve insomnia. The good thing about lavender is that it does not have notable side effects. This makes it ideal for the young ones.
- Passion Flower- Many medical professionals including herbalists consider this flower important for treating insomnia. This condition which comes as a result of stress, fear, overwork, and nervous exhaustion requires something to calm down the nerves. Many people in England use passion flower to prepare sedatives including sleeping sedatives for kids. What is more, passion flower does not have side effects. You can therefore use it in whatever dose. Drink one cup of passion flower tea three times a day for two weeks.
Diet for Insomnia
Diet plays a crucial role when it comes to treating and preventing insomnia. It is important to eat foods that are rich in amino acids. They contain tryptophan that helps you to fall asleep and sleep for longer. they include dairy products, soy products, poultry, seafood, beans, brown rice, hummus, whole grains, beef, pork, goat and lamb, hazel nuts, peanuts, soybean nuts, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Dairy products are rich in calcium and help to release sleep hormone and prepare the brain for sleep. More importantly, ensure your food is well balanced and eat 2hrs before going to bed. This will help to stimulate sleep and prevent indigestion which can cause insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium, vitamin B complex sources, melatonin sources including oats, cherries and sweet corn should be part of your dinner.
Avoid caffeinated drinks before sleeping because they stimulate the brain and body instead of preparing it for sleep.
Avoid excessive proteins, sodium, sugar substitutes and sugar in desserts, sweet sauces and baked food. They are craving and aggregate insomnia.
Additionally avoid fast food because they contain excessive sodium and can increase your blood pressure. This can cause sleep problems.
Prevention of Insomnia
Insomnia is highly preventable. Self sleep discipline is very crucial. Create a relaxing, soothing and warm environment in your bedroom. Ensure there is no excessive light in the room, use warm beddings and cover your face using a mask if need be to sieve excessive light for you to fall asleep.
Avoid engaging in vigorous activities prior to bedtime. They stimulate the body and it will be hard for you to fall asleep.
Eat a balanced meal 2hrs before bed. It will enhance digestion of food and relaxes the body thus, enhancing good sleep for the entire night.
Try to avoid any stressful situation prior to bed. Do not argue, or listen to disturbing conversations. Listen to good and relaxing music before bed. It will relax your nerves and prevent insomnia.
Take a warm bath before bed. It will help to relax body muscles and the body at large. This will help you to fall asleep.
Take a cup of warm milk as opposed to a cup of tea before bedtime. Milk contains calcium that helps to relax the brain and stimulate sleep hormone.
It is imperative to prepare your brain for sleep to prevent insomnia. Avoid excessive light at night and eat foods that help you to fall asleep. Darkness helps to make the brain drowsy thus preventing insomnia.
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