What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder which can make one difficult to fall asleep or staying asleep. One with insomnia can wake up very often throughout the night. Signs like difficulty in falling asleep, waking up early in the morning or feeling tired on waking up are the symptoms of insomnia.
Types of insomnia
Scientist has categorized insomnia into two kinds based on its occurrence:
- Primary insomnia: – it is a sleeping disorder which is not directly associated with any other disorder or disease.
- Secondary insomnia: – it is a sleeping disorder which is directly associated with other disease or disorder. It can be any health problem like depression, arthritis, cancer, etc. it can also be due to a medication or pain or substances like alcohol.
Other two kinds of insomnia based on how long that last are:
- Acute insomnia: – if insomnia is short term, it is called as acute insomnia. It generally lasts from a night to few weeks.
- Chronic insomnia: – if insomnia is long term, it is called as chronic insomnia. It lasts for at least three to four nights and can be longer than a month.
Causes of insomnia
Cause of acute insomnia are as follows:
- Stress: – stress can be a root cause of insomnia. Stress like divorce, moving or stress due to any traumatic experience can make you have acute insomnia.
- Sickness: – any disease can make you an insomniac. Sickness is one of the reasons for insomnia
- Emotional trauma
- Physical trauma
- Environmental factors: – various factor like noise, light, the temperature can interfere with your sleep.
- Medications: – medication tends to interfere in one’s sleep pattern.
- Jet lag
Causes of chronic insomnia are as follows:
- Depression or anxiety
- Chronic stress
Symptoms of insomnia
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Sleepiness during day
Remedies to treat insomnia
- Light exposure: Light plays an important role in our sleep and wakefulness pattern. It tells our body to be awake. Light can be used to treat sleep problems. If you are suffering from insomnia or any sort of sleep problem, you must consider light therapy. In this one just need to increase the amount of light exposure in the morning. The person is advised to get enough light in the morning to tell the body to stop melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a hormone that controls our sleep-wakefulness cycle.
- Melatonin supplements: As you are now aware of the hormone responsible for controlling our sleep. A melatonin supplement can help a person fall asleep easily. Melatonin is usually advised for jet lag and shift work concerns. melatonin is produced in our brain naturally form serotonin, which decreases in the light/daytime. It can be useful, when a person is suffering from insomnia because of low production of melatonin at night, which can be due to depression, stress, aging, jet lag, etc.
- Yoga: Yoga is considered as the union of mind, body, and spirit. It is a system of relaxation, breathing, and exercise. It is proven very helpful in treating insomnia. It relaxes your mind and helps you sleep better.
- Meditation: Meditation is also a kind of yoga practice. It again helps you relax your mind and sleep better. Regular meditations help in sleeping better. Meditations slower your breathing rate and reduces stress hormone levels. By lowering the breathing rate, it gives to the body to focus on breathing, or sound or word and increase awareness.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is basically using scents to fall asleep easily. It is used to treat a person with sleep disorders. You can use essential oils to sooth your mind. You can try this by putting a few drops of essential oil of your choice to your pillow or handkerchief.
- Bath: A good bath with warm water can lower the body temperature and help you fall asleep.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile is very helpful in treating insomnia. It is an herb that traditionally used to relax muscles. It is also good for digestion and reduces anxiety. It helps in inducing sleep better. But the person is not advised to drink chamomile tea right before bedtime. So, don’t drink near bedtime. Drink it in the evening or after dinner.
- Ashwagandha: Like chamomile, ashwagandha is one of the herbs that can help you fall asleep.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps in falling asleep.
- Medication and relaxation: Regular medications help in sleeping better. Medications slower your breathing rate and reduces stress hormone levels. By lowering the breathing rate, it gives to the body to focus on breathing, or sound or word and increase awareness just like what meditation does.
- Visualization: You should do in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. It is a practice where you imagine relaxing scenes. For instance, think of a tropical island and the warm breeze feeling against your skin. The more you visualize the more scenes you are involving in and more effective it will be.
- Mindfulness: It is a type of meditation in which you try to focus your mind in the present.
- Hypnosis: Hypnosis brings about some physiological changes in our body such as decreased heart rate, decrease blood pressure, etc. hypnosis is a good technique to relax our mind.
- Food: Whatever we eat have a very significant role in falling asleep. One should cut done the sugar a bit to improve sleep. Sugar gives us a lot of energy to spend but it can cause uneven sugar level which can disrupt peaceful sleep. Decrease alcohol intake, Caffeine, and nicotine an effect sleep. There can be many sources of caffeine like chocolate, coffee, cough and cold medicine, alcohol, tea, etc. Alcohol consumption can give you nightmare wakefulness. Tryptophan is an amino acid that makes serotonin which is necessary or sleep. Eat food like whole wheat crackers, sunflower seeds, food rich in vitamin B6, bananas, etc. these help in conversion of tryptophan into melatonin. Eat food rich in magnesium. Deficiency of magnesium can make you difficult to fall asleep.
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