What do you mean by insomnia?
Difficulty in sleeping or inability to fall asleep or to remain
asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when this is a problem
that continues over time.
It is also explained as:
· Inability to sleep,
· Over a period of time;
· Difficulty initiating sleep;
· Difficulty maintaining sleep;
· Early morning awakening;
· Non Restorative sleep.
Types of Insomnia:
Insomnia (short term),
Insomnia (on and off),
- Chronic Insomnia (constant).
Insomnia lasting from a single night to a few weeks is referred
to as transient. Temporary insomnia (transient insomnia) usually
is due to situational changes, such as travel and stressful events.
It lasts for less than a week or until the stressful event is resolved.
Short-term insomnia lasts for 1-3 weeks,
If episodes of transient insomnia occur from time to time, the
insomnia is said to be intermittent.
Insomnia is considered to be chronic if it occurs on most nights
and lasts a month or more. Chronic insomnia continues for more than
Insomnia may also be classified into:
It occurs in the absence
of other medical problems
It occurs as a result
of a medical condition such as heart disease, arthritis, cancer,
or heartburn, etc. causing wakefulness.
suffer from Insomnia?
Insomnia is found in males and females of all age groups, although
it seems to be more common in females (especially after menopause)
and in the elderly. The ability to sleep, rather than the need for
sleep, appears to decrease with advancing age.
What are the causes of Insomnia?
- Advanced age (insomnia
occurs more frequently in those over age 60); the melatonin -
a chemical that is needed in order to induce sleep, decreases
and, at the age of sixty, very little is produced by our bodies.
Without the presence of this chemical, the amount of sleep that
the body receives diminishes. This may either mean rising earlier
in the morning or the inability to sleep at night.
- Female gender affected most;
Women tend to be the victims of insomnia more often than their
male counterparts. This is partially due to the fact that hormonal
changes which are intrinsic to females can bring about this particular
condition. These changes may include PMS, menstruation, pregnancy
and menopause. Any number of things can happen when an influx
or decrease of hormones takes place in the body, and insomnia
is one of the more common side effects
- A history of depression.
- Stress, anxiety.
- A medical problem or the
use of certain medications occur along with the above conditions,
insomnia is more likely.
- Various medical conditions
such as high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, arthritis,
allergies, hyperthyroidism and Parkinson’s disease.
- Physical disorder- congestive
cardiac failure, pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, nocturnal asthma
and nocturnal seizures.
- Painful or uncomfortable syndromes- toothache, arthritis and
restless legs syndrome.
- Difficulty in initiating
sleep may be due to psychiatric illness such as; anxiety,
phobia, schizophrenia and depression.
- Drugs withdrawals
such as caffeine, antidepressant, beta blockers, alcohol, sympathomimetics
- Reversal of sleep rhythm,
seen in jet-lag, head injury, encephalitis, sedative misuse, irregular
night shift work.
- Nocturnal enuresis
[bed wetting in the children], sleep walking, taking while asleep
and night terrors can cause sleep disturbance in children.
- Sleep apnea is a
disorder characterized by a reduction or cessation (pause of breathing,
airflow) during sleep and may cause sleeplessness.
- The predisposition to insomnia
tends to run in family lines. It is believed that genetics play
some role in whether or not a person will suffer from this illness;
which is unknown to the medical community
- Transient and intermittent
insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing
one or more of the following- stress, environmental noise, extreme
temperatures, a change in the surrounding environment, sleep/wake
schedule problems such as those due to jet lag, or medication
What are symptoms of insomnia?
Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person
gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally
in their need for, and their satisfaction with, sleep. Insomnia
may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of
energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Insomnia patients generally complain of:
- Inadequate or poor-quality
- Difficulty falling asleep;
early wakening, waking frequently during the night, un-refreshing
sleep, or a combination of these.
- Waking up frequently during
the night with difficulty returning to sleep.
- Waking up too early in the
- Persons without adequate
sleep can experience tiredness, lack of energy, and concentration
How insomnia is diagnosed?
Patients with insomnia are evaluated with the help of a medical
history and a sleep history. Specialized sleep studies may be recommended
in Secondary insomnia, to find the medical condition.
Transient insomnia can be treated by altering some changes in the
lifestyle, or counseling may help. The treatment of chronic insomnia
- First, diagnosing and treating
underlying medical or psychological problems.
- Identifying behaviors that
may worsen insomnia and stopping them.
- Trying behavioral techniques to improve sleep, such as relaxation
therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and reconditioning.
- Sleeping pills are often antihistamines. Antihistamines are
generally taken for allergies, but also make you feel very sleepy.
Sedatives like, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Imidazopyridine,
Side Effects of Sleeping Pills:
- They impair our consciousness,
judgment, memory and intelligence.
- Almost everyone has some risk of becoming dependant on sleep
- Those who use sleeping pills have significantly higher mortality
rates than those who do not.
- Sleeping pills do little
or nothing to improve chronic insomnia and cause long-term chemical
- Sleeping pills reduce brain
cell activity during the day, affecting short-term memory as well
as causing a hangover effect.
- Sleeping pills accentuate
the GABA neurotransmitter, which keeps the nerve cells in the
lung tissue from firing. This is why an overdose of sleeping pills
will cause asphyxiation and over 1000 overdose related deaths
- GABA actuation is also responsible
for impaired physical ability. Each year, thousands of traffic
deaths, accidents and falls (especially in the elderly) are attributed
to sleeping pills.
- Sleep Apnea Patients should
never take sleeping pills. Sleeping pills increase the pauses
and length of pause in breathing. Someone with sleep apnea could
suffer brain or ocular damage from the lack of oxygen or even
- Anyone over the age of 40
should be cautioned against sleeping pills, and anyone over the
age of 65 should never take sleeping pills. Studies show that
almost all people over 40 have some symptoms of sleep apnea, and
anyone over 65 would be clinically diagnosed with sleep apnea.
- Sleeping pills create a
hypnotic dependency similar to alcohol and lower inhibitions and
fear of pain or consequences. This is one reason why sleeping
pills contribute to accidents and why chronic sleeping pill users
are less likely to worry or take care of themselves.
- Sleeping pills are highly
addictive. Sleeping pills are similar to barbiturates and are
extremely difficult to stop using.
- Although sleeping pills
do not improve daytime functioning, people still prefer taking
them because of the barbiturate feel-good effect they produce.
As with many addictive drugs, they may not be helpful, but we
feel good when we take them.
In general, over-the-counter sleep medications are not a good choice
- Are not intended for long-term
- Interfere with mental alertness
during the day, so you should avoid driving and other similar
tasks. You may also be at risk for falling.
- Reduce the quality of your
sleep by reducing time you spend in deep sleep.
- Commonly seen side effects
of sleeping pills are, drowsiness the next day, dizziness, lack
of coordination , forgetfulness, constipation, urinary retention,
blurred vision, and dry mouth and throat.
Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies
for Insomnia or Sleep Disorders:
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic
treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological
condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing
examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history
of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic
tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into
account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given
below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete
and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms
listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this
disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional
indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy.
To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit
our Materia Medica section. None
of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
[Kent] Sleep, Sleeplessness
[Murphy] Sleep, Insomnia
[Boericke] Nervous system, Sleep, Insomnia
[Boenninghausen’s] Sleep, Sleeplessness
Homeopathic medicines are selected on the basis of symptoms, cause,
family history and constitution of the person affected. Considering
all these factors any of the below listed (or some other) homeopathic
medicine may be indicated and helpful in this condition.
Nux vomica, Opium, Coffea cruda, Ambra grisea, Hyoscyamus niger,
Sulphur, Belladonna, Chamomilla, Arsenic album, Argenticum
Gelsemium, Ignatia amara, Magnesium carbonica, Cocculus indica,
Aconitum napellus, Arnica Montana, Causticum, Ferrum metallicum,
Muriaticum acidum, Tabacum, Senecio jacobaea; Cannabis indica,
Sleepless from rush of ideas. Cannot sleep after 3a.m.
until towards morning, falls asleep when it is time to rise
and feels heavy and unrefreshed. It is especially the remedy for
those who drink too much, those who abuse coffee and tea, those
who are subject to abdominal disorders and a sluggish portal circulation.
It is curative in cases where sleep is unattainable except from
a stimulant. The symptoms of Nux vomica are better after undisturbed
sleep, worse when sleep is disturbed. Sleeplessness from mental
overwork, from too close study, especially at night. Dreams
full of bustle and worry.
Stupefying and unrefreshing sleep. Sleepy, but cannot sleep. Sleeplessness
with acuteness of hearing, clock striking and cocks crowing at great
distance keep her awake. Loss of breath on falling asleep. Bed
feels so hot she cannot lie on it; moves often in search of
a cool place; must be uncovered. Sleepy but cannot sleep with great
drowsiness. Dreams of cat, dog and black forms. Pleasant, fantastic,
amorous dream. Suffocative attacks during sleep like nightmare.
Nervous sleeplessness from rush of ideas, mental activity,
awakes at or hears every sound after pleasurable excitement. In
cases where there is excessive agitation of body and mind, and where
ideas force themselves on the mind. The patient is wide awake,
without the slightest inclination to sleep, and all the senses
are extremely acute. It is the remedy when excitement or good
news, joys or night watching causes the insomnia. It is well suited
to sleeplessness in teething children, Sleeplessness from the bad
effects of too good news. Is indicated in wide-awake condition;
impossible to close the eyes; physical excitement through mental
exaltation. Sleeplessness, on account of excessive mental and bodily
activity. The greatest mental and physical exhaustion; great
restlessness lying awake most of the night. Sensitiveness of vision,
of hearing, of smell, of touch; sensitiveness to pain; it is most
astonishing sometimes about this great sensitiveness. Wakeful, on
a constant move. Sleeps until 3 a.m. after which only dozing. Sleep
disturbed by dreams or by itching of anus.
Sleeplessness arising from worriment of mind as from business
trouble. The patient retires to bed feeling tolerably tired,
yet as soon as the head touches the pillow he becomes wakeful. Before
midnight sleeplessness. He cannot sleep at night,
he knows not why. For several nights sleeplessness , and in the
morning slumber full of fantastical dreams. Frequent waking
at night. Frequent waking, and at 2 a.m. long uneasiness in the
whole body, especially in the occiput. Uneasiness in the occiput
after midnight. At night he wakes up with headache , which goes
off on rising. Very early waking; followed by frequently interrupted,
but very profound sleep, with eyes fast closed. In the morning,
in bed, weariness, with feeling in the eyes as if they were too
firmly closed. Sleep restless, with anxious dreams. Retires
tired, wakeful as soon as touches the pillow. Coldness of body and
twitching of limbs during sleep.
Sleeplessness from nervous excitement; the brain is full
of bewildering ideas and images. After long illnesses and
the brain cells are poorly nourished. Sleeplessness in children,
who twitch, cry out frightened and tremble. Sleeplessness from overworked
minds and without apparent cause may be benefited by Hyoscyamus.
Hyoscyamus paints the mental town of its victim a brilliant and
luminous red. The patient is jolly and wakeful. Sleeplessness from
nervous excitement. Starts out of sleep, frightened. Brain
full of bewildering ideas and images. Sleeplessness in children
who twitch, cry out, frightened and tremble. Irritable and easily
excited individuals. Sleeplessness from anxiety or over - excitement.
Sleeplessness from nervous excitement, cutaneous irritations
and external heat. The patient is drowsy all day and sleepless
at night. Sleeps in "cat naps", wakes frequently.
Restlessness of anaemic irritability. Long but unrefreshing sleep,
in morning. Nightly jerking and twitching in body during. Nightmare.
Sings during sleep and wakes up with singing. Cannot sleep during
2 and 5 a.m.
The sleepless conditions calling for Belladonna are due to congestion;
sleep is extremely restless, as a rule it is interrupted by talking,
starting, muscular jerkings and spasmodic motions; frightful images
appear on closing the eyes and the patient therefore dreads sleep.
Children awake from sleep frightened. Oftentimes there is a violent
throbbing in the brain which prevents sleep. Frightful dreams,
they constantly awaken the patient. Insomnia due to cerebral
hyperaemia. Restless sleep during dentition; sleeps with eyes
partially open; sudden starting, twitching, hot head and dilated
pupils will indicate it. Sleep is extremely restless due to congestion
in the head. Cannot close the eyes, as he sees dreadful images
on doing so. Children wake from sleep frightened.
For sleeplessness in children due to severe pain. It quiets
the irritability and the emotional excitement and the patient sleeps.
It is also adapted to weak, nervous women. The sleep is tormented
by dreams which are fanciful, vivid and anxious; the patient is
hot and thirsty. Moaning in sleep. Great drowsiness is characteristic
of the remedy, but cannot sleep. Sleepless due to pain. Nightly
sleeplessness with visions and anxiety. Crying out, starting up,
tossing about and weeping during sleep. Yawning and stretching.
Patient is disturbed, anxious and restless. Awakened by pains.
Sleeplessness due to fear of air raids etc. Frequent starting up
and twitching in. Somnolency in evening. Sleeplessness with constant
restlessness and tossing about. Inability to fall asleep after
once awaking at night. Anxious dreams.
Sleepless from fancies. Dreams of serpents, with horror. thoughts
activity of mind, from : midnight, before.
It is suited for the insomnia of brain workers. It is indicated
in business men who pass restless nights, awaken early in the morning
and worry over their business affairs. It also is most useful in
a state of alternate excitement and depression. Gelsemium
has also sleeplessness from emotional disturbances, and after evening
company. The patient goes to bed tired, but immediately becomes
wakeful. It is especially suited to thin, spare men who are nervous
and subject to nervous chills. Yawning, with stupor and inability
to keep eyes open; with general numbness. Late falling to sleep,
the nightmare. Insomnia from exhaustion and irritation.
Sleeps so light that he hears everything in it. Dreams all
night of the same subject. Insomnia due to grief, anxious
thoughts, sadness or any depressing emotions. Deep, stupefying.
Sleep after the cough paroxysms. Restless sleep and great restlessness
at night with a tremor passing through the body. Fixed ideas in
his dreams which continue after waking. Child awakes from sleep
with piercing cries and trembles all over.
Sleeplessness from oppression in abdomen or from anxious uneasiness
and internal fear, with a great dread of being uncovered. Sleeplessness
from flatus, cutting wisdom- teeth, exhaustion. Unrefreshing
sleep and feels tired in the morning. Dreams of fire, food, robbers,
quarrels, money, pleasures, misfortune and dead persons.
It is especially suited to light haired, timid, nervous and bookworms
persons. Sleeplessness due to night watching, nursing with
worry and anxiety. Thinking of the business of the day prevents
sleep. Spasmodic yawning. Sleepless from mental or physical exhaustion.
Sleeplessness from anxiety, restlessness, anguish and fear; child
tosses about feverishly. Starting up in after midnight
during sleeplessness, with constant tossing about from anxiety,
and flightiness with closed eyes. Drowsiness, with inability to
sleep. Disturbed sleep. Anxious dreams. Insomnia of the elderly.
Arnica is particularly adapted to sanguine, plethoric persons,
disposed to cerebral congestion, persons easily made train-sick
or sea-sick. Sleeplessness caused by over-exertion and weariness
of mind and body. Day sleepiness, with inability to sleep. Dreams
of death, anxious and terrible, awakes in terror, then sleepless.
Sleeplessness at night on account of dry heat cannot rest
in any posture. He cannot get quiet position. Nightly sleeplessness
with anxiety, dry heat and frequent starting up. Anxious dreams.
Wakes with slightest noise.
It is adapted to young, anemic, pseudo- plethoric persons who look
strong but are very weak physically. Restless, with anxious tossing.
Great drowsiness and fatigue, with inability to sleep at night.
Falls to sleep late in evening. Can lie on back only.
Sleepy, but unable to sleep; tosses about; dreamy and restless
all through the night. Irritable. Continual snoring, groaning, tossing
about and talking, with sliding down in bed, especially before .
Frequently wakened by a chill early in morning in bed.
Sleeplessness or insomnia due to nervous break down. Stupefying,
with profuse sweat. Insomnia with dilated heart, with cold, clammy
skin and anxiety.
For sleeplessness from prolapsus of uterus. Uterine irritation
In obstinate and intractable forms of insomnia. An irregular sleep
is more of an indication than absolute insomnia. Unconquerable
day sleepiness; Unrefreshing night sleep. Sleepless at night
because of anxiety and heat as though dashed with hot water.
Sleeplessness, especially during the latter part of the night.
The patient is a nervous due to business worries and excessive mental
What can be done for preventing insomnia?
- Avoid watching TV, eating,
and discussing emotional issues in bed.
- Don’t use bright light in
- Avoid, caffine and smoking.
- Get a massage on your scalp.
- A light snack may be sleep-inducing,
but a heavy meal too close to bedtime interferes with sleep. Stay
away from protein and stick to carbohydrates or dairy products.
Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which has been shown
in research to help people go to sleep. So milk and cookies or
crackers (without chocolate) may be useful and taste good as well.
- Do not exercise vigorously
just before bed.
- Take a warm bath. This often
- Listen light music. Actually,
any soothing noise (played softly) in the background may help.
- Sleep with your head facing
north (magnetic) and feet facing south.
- Relaxation techniques like
yoga and meditation.