Insomnia

SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP

Getting enough good quality sleep is essential for a happy and healthy life. Insomnia affects many people, with long-term health effects. Chronic sleep deprivation in adults can cause high blood pressure, depression, poor mood control and a range of other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

In children, too little sleep can cause poor behaviour and learning problems. Once, nine -ten hours of sleep was normal, now people sleep 7 to 7-1/2 hours.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation are agitation, moodiness, grumpiness, irritability, waking up unrefreshed, problems with short-term memory, attention and concentration.

Long-term sleep deprivation can be a major factor in some depression.

Causes of insomnia are:

  • Sleep apnoea (snoring)
  • Shift work
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Allergies
  • Pain
  • Depression

 

Children

Worms - worms are common in children and cause both insomnia and night terrors

Magnesium deficiency (same as for adults)

Other causes of insomnia

  • If you are getting enough sleep and still feel tired, have a medical check for underlying health issues.
  • Gut problems. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome, or other gut problems often experience sleep disturbances as well.  
  • Magnesium deficiency. Physical, mental and emotional stress increases magnesium loss from our bodies. The pattern of magnesium deficiency is falling to sleep easily, then waking later in the night and not be able to fall back to sleep.
  • Diet and lifestyle – eat well, exercise and do something about stress.
  • Hypoglycaemia – have a light snack before bedtime.
  • Silent reflux; worse when lying at night. The only symptom may be a prickly throat.
  • Mineral imbalance symptoms can be recurring headaches, restless leg syndrome or food sensitivities.

Improving sleep habits:

  • Avoid tea and coffee in the second half of the day
  • Exercise in the evening
  • Have a warm shower or bath before bed
  • A glass of hot milk and honey
  • Go to bed at the same time every night get up at the same time every morning (especially relevant for children)
  • Don’t sleep during the day.
  • Avoid computer and television before bed.

 

Serious Strategies to Induce Sleep

  • Sleep diary: write down the thoughts, feelings and anxieties you have  (for your eyes only, so no need to ‘write well’) Half an hour each night is recommended.
  • Record what you did on the nights you did get a good night’s sleep.
  • If you suffer from insomnia, consider how much exposure you have to early morning sunlight. Early morning sunlight helps to stimulate melatonin, the hormone that is needed for good sleep. At least five minutes of direct sunlight on your face in the morning (earlier the better) helps to stimulate melatonin.

Other helpful strategies:

A comfortable set of earplugs, an eye mask, natural fibre night clothing and lightweight bedding.

Treatment

Sometimes there are no clear reasons behind insomnia. Homeopathic medicines can treat insomnia by looking at your symptoms and prescribing an individually selected medicine. If you have no other health problems and haven’t found success with the normal sleep strategies, then it’s time to contact us for a consultation. A detailed history is taken at your consultation, so your insomnia can be fully addressed with homeopathic medicine.

One of the best investments you can make towards good health is improving the quality of your sleep  - and make sure you get enough of it.

BOOK

Professor Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia in Canada, the author of ‘The Sleep Thieves’ (Stanley Coren Free Press, 1996, NY) believes that western society is chronically sleep-deprived, making us clumsy, stupid, unhappy, or dead. “Too little sleep means short-term performance and long-term health suffers.”

Professor Coren points out a stunning statistic. In Spring, at daylight saving time, the nation loses an hour’s sleep, and there’s an increase of 7% in traffic accidents. In Autumn, everybody gets an extra hour’s sleep, which decreases the incidence of traffic accidents by 7%!

 


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