What is Insomnia?
Insomnia also known as sleeplessness (common English), insomnio (Spanish), anidra (Hindi), nidranash (Marathi), Tukkamillamal(Tamil), insonia (Portuguese), bessonnitsa (Russian). A sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. The signs of pathological insomnia are dramatic changes in the duration and quality of sleep, persistent changes in sleep patterns, lapses of memory and lack of concentration during the day. Other symptoms are emotional instability, loss of coordination, confusion and a lingering feeling of indifference.
Causes and Symptoms of Insomnia
Sleep is a periodic state of rest for the body which is absolutely essential for its efficient functioning. Sleep gives relief from tension, rests the brain and body and a person wakes up in the morning fresh and relaxed after sleep. The amount of sleep, however, varies within very wide limits from individual to individual. Normally, seven to eight hours of sleep every night is adequate for most people. Some, however, do well with four to five hours because their sleep is deeper and more refreshing. The most common cause of sleeplessness is mental tension brought about by anxiety, worries, overwork and over excitement. Suppressed feelings of resentment, anger and bitterness may also cause insomnia. Constipation, dyspepsia, over-eating at night, excessive intake of tea or coffee and going to bed hungry are among the other causes. Smoking is another unsuspected cause of insomnia as it irritates the nervous system, especially the nerves of the digestive system. Often, worrying about falling asleep is enough to keep one awake.
Insomnia and Sleeplessness Home Remedies
- Induce Sleep: Using this common spice can help induce sleep. A paste made of nutmeg powder mixed with an equal amount of ghee can be applied around your eyes and on your forehead before bed to help you fall asleep.
- Herbal Home Remedy: Heat a large cup of milk with a peeled onion, but do not boil. Drink 30 minutes before bedtime.
Get Good Night Sleep: Lactucarium which is main ingredient in lettuce, helpful for sleep. Lettuce seed extract is also helpful for good sleep. In 3 cups of water add 1 tablespoon of lettuce seeds and boil the mixture till it becomes one cup. Strain the water and drink. OR Eat a large leaf about half an hour before bedtime.
- Homemade Natural Tea: A tea made from apple skins is meant to induce sleep. Add dried apple skins to water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, sweeten to taste and drink 2 to 3 cups during the evening.
- Calming Bath: Valerian is well known to help insomniacs. You can choose to drink a cup of valerian tea or take a few drops of tincture before bed. Valerian can also be used in a calming bath. Chop or grind 75g dried valerian root, add to 2 liters of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Add to the evening bath.
- Lemon Balm (balm mint) is a sedative as well as a stomach soother. Try a tea made with two to four teaspoons of dried lemon balm herb and a cup of boiling water.
- Trick for Sound Sleep: Here’s a use for tomato juice you probably never thought of. Drink 1 cup with 2 teaspoons natural sugar and 2 pinches of nutmeg. Drink the juice between four and in the afternoon; have dinner between six and seven. That evening you should get a sound sleep.
- Relax Mind and Body: Milk is available very easily and also works well for sleeplessness. Add 1 tablespoon of honey (OR nutmeg + honey OR crushed almonds + nutmeg) in milk and drink. Try this everyday night at bed time. Also try rubbing some milk on feet for relax sleep.
- Lavender Pillow: Lavender is great in a tea, bath or in a pillow to lend its relaxing aroma to your bedtime routine. The essential oil of lavender contains many medicinal components, and simply inhaling the fragrance can be calming. Put a sachet of dried lavender, or several sprigs of the freshly cut herb, between your pillow and pillowcase before going to bed. You might also brew a cup of lavender tea, made by steeping 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers in 1 cup just boiled water.
Traditional Natural Sleeping Aid: Add 2 teaspoons of chopped hops flowers to 1 cup of almost boiling water, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Strain, and drink one cup 30 minutes before bedtime. Drinking hops tea during day will contribute to general relaxation. Caution: If sleeplessness is due to depression or low mood disorders please choose a different remedy as hops can make things worse. Try to include yogurt in more quantity in day to day use.
- Reduce Mental Stress and Fatigue: Cherries are good for mental fatigue and stress, both of which can contribute to insomnia. Eating 10 to 20 cherries daily may help relieve these conditions and help you sleep.
- Add 2 tablespoon of honey to 1 cup of water and drink at bed time for quite sleep.
- Bed Time Tea: Fennel seed tea is very tasty remedy for insomnia. Boil 2 cups of water add 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds. Boil again for a minute. Steep it for 15 minutes. Strain tea and enjoy warm or cold. You may add honey and milk for taste. Helpful if drink after dinner or at bed time.
- Chronic Insomnia Medicine: Indian snakeroot (Rauvolfia serpentina / sarpagandha) is effective especially for chronic insomnia. Take 0.25gm. sarpagandha root powder add pinch of cinnamon powder (optional – use for taste). Take this mixture at bed time. For better results try morning and evening for few days.
- Take bottle guard juice and sesame seed oil in same quantity. Mix well and apply on head everyday at bed time. Try different recipes with bottle guard, which keeps body cool and works well for insomnia.
- Popular Folk Remedy: Try garlic milk. Mix together 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, and 1 clove of fresh, chopped garlic. Boil gently until 1 cup of liquid remains.
- Treat Jet Lag: Jet lag can be temporary reason for insomnia. If this is so set your watch to the time at your destination before you go and begin eating and sleeping accordingly. Sleep as much as you can on the plane. Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water as air in planes is as dry as a desert. Spend time in the sun at your destination to reset your biological clock.
Tips to Fall Asleep Fast And Improve Sleep
- Sleep disturbances are often due to worries and anxieties that keep the mind agitated at night. To help dissolve those anxieties, meditate for a while before going to sleep. You will sleep like a child. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can ease stress and help you fall asleep. Also try controlled breathing exercises.
- One of the simplest and most effective ways to induce sleep is to rub some oil on the scalp and the soles of the feet before going to bed. Slightly warming the oil before applying is helpful.
- A hot bath or shower at bedtime helps to promote sound sleep.
- A well timed nap can help you function better and help lower blood pressure. However, a long, late nap could throw your nighttime sleep schedule and your important quota off track.
- Snack wisely before bed. A small piece of whole grain toast or bowl of oatmeal may help you sleep. The carbohydrates may help move the amino acid tryptophan from the blood into the brain, where chemical processes can convert it to melatonin. A light snack can also prevent blood sugar from dropping too low during the night. Low blood sugar activates stress hormones, which may wake you up. “Light” is the operative word. A heavy late night meal can interfere with sleep.
- Insomnia is common among the elderly for a variety of reasons. The sleep of the elderly is often punctuated by brief periods of wakefulness during the night. In such cases it is the quality rather than the quantity which is most affected. With age, there is gradual reduction of periods of deep sleep. The older person, therefore, gets roused easier. Sleep requirements also diminish with ageing. From nine hours of sleep per night at the age of 12 the average sleep needs decrease to eight hours at the age of 20, seven hours at 40, six and half hours at 60 and six hours at 80.