Insomnia (Sleeplessness): Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies
Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder that can cause difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Symptoms of insomnia include fatigue, trouble focusing, irritability, and memory problems. While the underlying causes of insomnia vary from person to person, there are many home remedies that can help improve sleep quality. Try implementing some of these tips into your nightly routine to get the best night’s sleep possible!
Are you not able to take a sound sleep in the night? Do you wake up 2-3 times in the night? Do you feel a headache after waking up in the morning? Then you can have insomnia.
What is insomnia?
Due to busy and stressful lifestyle, the problem of the sleeping disorder is increasing. Among such disorders one of the key problems is Insomnia.
Insomnia is a condition in which person is unable to sleep. Insomniac people find difficult to sleep or they wake up very early or wake too many times during the night. Disturbed sleep is also referred to as insomnia. Sleeplessness after sudden circumstance or health issue is not classified as insomnia.
So the meaning of Insomnia is unable to sleep for at least 3 nights per week for 3 months in continuation.
Sleeplessness or inability to sleep is most often misunderstood. In your sleepy hours, if you are working on your laptop or watching television, then that is not sleeplessness, because in this scenario you are programming your mind not to sleep. inability to sleep is a condition when there is an environment of sleep but still you are awake.
2. Disturbed sleep:
Lots of negative or positive dreams in the night or hearing some kind of noise that disturbs sleep are also symptoms of the disease. We all see dreams during sleep but most of the time we don’t remember them but if you are a person who sees lots of dreams and most often remember them after waking up, then it is a condition of disturbed sleep.
3. Waking up many times in sleep:
An average human should sleep for continuous for 5-6 hours but if a person wakes up 2-3 times in the night on a regular basis then he is suffering from the disease.
4. Waking up too early:
Waking up too early depends on when you slept. You should have at least 6-hour of sleep.
5. Depression in the morning:
It is the last but most important symptom. Without any specific reason, if a person suffers from headache, anxiety, and mood disturbance in the morning, it may be because of insomnia.
Types of insomnia:
On the basis of duration, it has two types.
1. Acute insomnia:
Sleeplessness for 2-3 continuous nights is called acute insomnia. It is mostly because of sudden environmental change or mental stress. It does not require treatment and resolves within days.
2. Chronic insomnia:
Inability to sleep for 2-3 nights per week for 3 months is defined as chronic insomnia. This type causes serious health issue like hypertension, migraine, heart problems, menstruation problems, PCOD and others.
What causes insomnia differs from person to person. Sleep is a complicated phenomenon of nature. There are lots of diseases which cause insomnia and insomnia itself causes lots of diseases. It is like an infinite circle. Causes of the disease can be divided into three types, which are:
1. Medical conditions:
There are lots of medical conditions which can lead towards sleeplessness or sleep disturbance. On the other hand, there are some symptoms of diseases that make it difficult for a person to sleep. Such as:
- Nasal congestion/ sinusitis
- Chest condition like pneumonia, cough etc.
- Arthritis, backache etc.
- Abdominal worms
- Hyperacidity/ gastrointestinal reflux
- Allergic skin condition
- Neurological conditions such as restless leg syndrome
2. Psychiatric condition:
Insomnia is more related to psychiatric conditions such as tension, anxiety, depression, and others. There is an infinite circle with psychiatric condition and insomnia. For example, insomnia triggers and worsens the psychiatric condition and psychiatric conditions itself causes insomnia.
- Insomnia and depression: Insomnia and depression go hand in hand but both are the distinct disorder with the overlapping feature. Inability to sleep is a classic sign of depression, but not all insomnia is because of depression.
- Insomnia and anxiety: Anxiety causes the release of adrenaline hormones which stimulate the brain. The stimulated brain can’t sleep and this makes the whole body tired and this tiredness increases anxiety further. Again as said above, anxiety causes insomnia, and insomnia causes anxiety.
- Insomnia in pregnancy: Insomnia in pregnancy is a mixed type of the disease. It is both psychological and physical.
3. Unhealthy sleep habits:
Unhealthy sleep habits vary from person to person. For example, some people sleep very well after reading a book and others stay awake for a long time. It is better to evaluate your lifestyle thoroughly and find what habits make you awake. For example:
- Working on the computer: Light of Computer makes brain more alert so working late on the computer can cause insomnia.
- Drinking coffee and tea: Coffee and tea stimulate the brain, thus drinking these with dinner or after dinner may cause the disease.
- Using mobile phones: In the digital world, mobile is a necessity. But using mobile for video, audio or reading purpose is mostly related to insomnia. These things divert your mind from sleep.
- Smoking and alcohol: Small quantity of these sedate brain but in the large amount they cause hallucination.
How to cure insomnia/Treatment of insomnia:
Treatment of it depends upon the severity of condition and causes. In brief, the study of insomnia treatment is divided into five main types. In most of the cases, the combination of all five is needed.
1. Treating the medical condition which causes sleeplessness:
As mentioned above lots of medical condition interferes with sleep. Treating that condition may improve sleep.
2. Non-medical treatment:
Relaxation technique, cognitive therapy, stimulus control training are some examples of non-medical treatment of the disease. For beginners, it can be started at home but if this doesn’t work, it is a good choice to have a consultation with the therapist.
3. Medication for insomnia:
There are lots of drugs available which make you fall asleep but do remember these drugs can be fatal if taken with alcohol or along with other medicines or in high dose. Sleep induce medicines also cause addiction if taken for long. So it is better to take such pills with the consultation of the doctor. Some common medicines for it, are alprazolam, doxepin, ramelteon, trazodone, zaleplon etc.
4. Home remedies for insomnia:
Here are some natural sleep remedies which induce sleep.
- Buffalo milk: Buffalo milk is anciently used for its treatment in Ayurveda. Milk contains tryptophan which stimulates serotonin hormones which are natural sleep hormones.
- Massage: Soft massage with oil induces relaxation and sleep. One can use normal sesame oil or Ayurveda preparation oil like mahanarayan tailam, bala tailam
- Cow’s ghee: Internal application of two drops of cow’s ghee in each nostril induces sleep.
- Valerian tea: Extract of valerian is a natural sedative. A small cup of herbal tea with valerian root will make you fall asleep even faster.
- Sarpgandha tea (Rauwolfia serpentine): It is an Indian medicine. Drinking herbal tea with a pinch of serpentine powder can induce sleep.
- Fruit: Kiwi and banana are two fruits which induce sleep. Add one banana and kiwi in dinner for some days in continuation.
- Castor oil: Apply 1-2 drops of castor oil in eyes. The exact mechanism is not known, but this is used from the generation in India for better sleep.
- Coconut oil: Massage the umbilical area with coconut oil. It is also thousand years old home remedy.
- Burn 1-2 small piece of Camphor (Kapoor): Burning 1-2 small cubes of camphor (Kapoor) in bedroom attracts positive energy. Aromatherapy of Camphor (Kapoor) relaxes the brain and induces sleep.
- Lukewarm water: Luke warm water is used to treat hyperacidity. Drinking 100 ml of Luke warm water in night softens the stomach, relaxes muscles, decreases the chance of food regurgitation, and thus gives smooth sleep.
5. Natural sleep remedies:
Try to change your bedtime habits. What you do in last 2 hours before bedtime causes sleep or sleeplessness.
- Don’t lie down on the bed before actually want to sleep: Most of the people spend time on mobile or watches television being on the bed. These activities confuse your brain.
- Make a regular to-do list before going to bed: Your mind can read your signals and prepare the whole body for sleep. Make a list of regular habits of cleaning bed, nighttime brush, face wash, and comb your hair with hair massager just before sleep time. By doing this you are giving signals to your mind for sleep.
- Make a routine: Try to sleep daily at the same time and wake up at the same time. This will set your body clock.
- Change direction: If currently, your head is towards north than shift to just opposite, means south side. This may sound weird but it is very effective as changing direction interferes with magnetic field around you.
- Darkroom: Melatonin hormones also called night hormones, causes sleep. Secretion of melatonin stimulated by dark light. Try doing short duration meditation in dark room before sleep but never do meditation being on the bed as it can cause sleeplessness.
Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder that can cause difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Symptoms of insomnia include fatigue, trouble focusing, irritability and memory problems. While the underlying causes of insomnia vary from person to person there are many home remedies that can help improve sleep quality. Try implementing some of these tips into your nightly routine to get the best night’s sleep possible!
Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition please contact your doctor.