Topic of the Month
Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining
sleep, or both, despite adequate opportunity and time to sleep,
leading to impaired daytime functioning. Insomnia may be due to
poor quality or quantity of sleep.
Insomnia is very common and occurs in 30% to 50% of the
general population. Approximately 10% of the population may
suffer from chronic (long-standing) insomnia.
Insomnia affects people of all ages including children,
although it is more common in adults and its frequency increases
with age. In general, women are affected more frequently than
Types of Insomnia :
If there is one thing we hated as kids, it was being told to go
to bed. It is funny how most of us can easily look back to a
time when we would actually rebel against sleeping.
Unfortunately, as the years go by and the responsibilities pile
on, the reverse becomes true – we would like to get more
sleep, but there is always work to be done and places to go.
Packed schedules and stressful lifestyles have contributed to
what is often considered an epidemic of insomnia. We spend most
of the day working, come back home, turn on the TV, and drift
off to an uneasy sleep, waking up the next day feeling tired and
groggy. There is also a reverse effect at work here – some of
us look at sleep as ‘something for the weak,’ and pride
ourselves on needing just a couple of hours each night. What we
do not realize is that a lack of sleep – or rather, a lack of
quality sleep – has a detrimental effect on our systems. You
might look at sleep as ‘resting’ time for your body but that
would be understating it quite a bit. Sleep is more than just
giving ourselves a break – it is necessary for our mental,
physical, and emotional well-being.
Three different types of insomnia exist: transient, acute, and chronic :
Symptoms of insomnia :
Insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks but it seems
longer. Most people occasionally suffer from transient insomnia
due to such causes as jet lag or short-term anxiety. If this
form of insomnia continues to occur from time to time, the
insomnia is classified as intermittent.
- Acute Insomnia is
the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of between
three weeks to six months.
- Chronic Insomnia
is regarded as the most serious; persists almost nightly for at
least a month.
Symptoms of insomnia can be different for each individual, and people
with insomnia might experience a variety of symptoms.
Unfortunately, getting less sleep than you need, affects your
health as much as overindulging in food or drink. While there is
no ‘one-size-fits-all’ amount of sleep, most experts say
that anything less than seven hours puts us at risk of impaired
performance and judgment. Having said that, there are some
people who are perfectly fine with just five hours of sleep,
while others find nine hours to be the optimum amount.
Some signs that you do not get enough sleep are:
• Fatigue and a lack of motivation
• Irritability, aggression
• Weight gain
• Water retention and skin problems
• Difficulty focusing at work or school
Lack of sleep does not cause only shorten health issues, but can
also have long lasting consequences for your health.
Other causes for Insomnia :
- In encephalitis lethargic a (brain disease), sleeplessness
continues for several.
- In uremia and high blood pressure, sleeplessness occurs.
hunger, coffee, tea and other cerebral stimulants.
anxiety, fear, mental depression.
Herbs which is useful :
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) :
Brahmi works as a safe and natural sedative and
tranqulizing agent and hence it offers protection against
convulsions and is also beneficial in insomnia. Brahmi is also
useful for improving mental clarity, confidence and memory
recall. For these used of Brahmi, it has been widely used by
students. Brahmi has been found to be very beneficial in the
treatment of anxiety neurosis and mental fatigue. It has been
found to significant improve IQ levels, general ability,
behavioral patterns and mental concentration in children.
Tagar (Valeriana wallichi) :
The Valerian diminishes the irritability of brain
and spinal cord and is the principal remedy of insomnia
especially due to nervous exhaustation and mental overwork.
The CNS depressant and sedative action of Valerian finds a use
in Ayurvedic therapy of delirium, insomnia, epilepsy and
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) :
It is a first liner natural remedy for stress and anxiety. It
has antioxidant and immunity enhancing propeties. The
nootropic effect nourishes the brain and nerves
(Lavandula angustifolia) :
Traditionally, pillows were filled with lavender flowers to
help the restless fall sleep. Scientific evidence suggests
that aromatherapy with lavender slows the activity of the
nervous system, improves sleep quality, promotes relaxation
and lifts mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.
Go for a low-salt diet
Avoid white-flour foods, sugar, tea,
coffee,chocolate, cola drinks: alcohol, fatty foods,fried foods
Take the following diet Vitamin B1: Whole grain, cereals, pulses and nuts
Vegetables: Lettuce, Bottle Gourd
Dairy: Milk, Curd, clarified butter
The following tips can help improve sleep. This is called
Home remedies of Insomnia :
Exercise: For those of you who feel too full of energy
come bedtime, exercise can help you sleep better.
Eat on time: Another consequence of a busy lifestyle is
irregular meal timings. Apart from causing weight gain, eating
too late at night might give you restless sleep.
Avoid stimulants: Coffee might help you get through a
hectic workday but avoid caffeine, cigarettes, or any other
stimulant too close to bedtime. For some people, even
something as mild as green tea can keep them up for a while.
Avoid alcohol at night: A nightcap might seem like a
good way of getting sleep after a long day at work, but in the
long run, it will make sleep more difficult to come by. The
same goes for sleeping pills – you are also putting yourself
at risk of a substance abuse problem if you come to depend
Turn off that TV: No, do not just turn it down – turn
it off, and then turn off the power switch. Look around your
bedroom – there is probably a TV, a set-top box, a laptop,
and perhaps a set of speakers – all of them fitted with
bright LEDs that can be very disturbing for anyone trying to
sleep. Even if you choose to leave the mains power on for your
electronic devices, covering their LEDs with some tape might
help alleviate this issue. For those of you awakened by the
early-morning sun, a simple trick like thicker curtains can go
a long way.
Keep a diary: Keeping a daily journal that also
includes your sleep quality and dreams will let you assess
what affects your sleep.
Do not worry: Worrying about getting enough sleep might
actually harm your sleeping pattern. For many people, waking
up in the middle of the night is a common occurrence –one
that should not cause any alarm. Wind down gradually: Just as
we rarely jump from a sleepy state to complete alertness,
winding down your evenings gradually can help your body adjust
Get off your bed: If you cannot sleep, it is pointless
and counterproductive for you to toss and turn. Leave your bed
and read something soothing or do some yoga, or meditation.
Make sure that you have comfortable and firm bedding.
Make sure your pillows are not too firm and not too soft.
Meditate: This is the number one way to have a good
night’s sleep as it helps you to move into a deep relaxation
mode. You could also try to relax every part of your body
starting with your head and moving towards your toes. Giving
yourself reiki is also a good way to go to sleep.
Yoga Nidra :When you are not feeling sleepy, practice
Yoga Nidra while laying down in your bed. You will slowly fall
Herbal remedy : Take 2 capsules of Nightzz
Capsules at bed time which helps smooth and sound
sleep. It is a safe, natural herbal food supplement.
Take a glassful of celery juice and mix a
teaspoonful of honey in it. Have this every night before going
to bed. It will assure a restful sleep throughout the night.
Grind some fried cumin seed to a fine powder. Mix them with a
pulp of a ripe banana. Eating this at night induces sleep.
Ayurvedic Supplements :