* Insomnia is habitual or persistent sleeplessness, which may occur in the form of being unable to go to sleep, waking frequently during the night, or waking during the night and being unable to return to sleep. * Insomnia is most common in adults between forty and fifty-five and in women more so than men.
* There are many and varied causes of insomnia including stress, anxiety, depression, illness, pain, hypoglycemia, indigestion, changes in circadian rhythm and prescription and/or recreational drug use. .
* Inability to go to sleep or to stay asleep, and anxiety about sleeping habits.
* Listening to meditation music upon retiring may help you to further relax and to block out disturbing noises.
* Daily stress management routines such as yoga, breathing exercises and meditation help to encourage sleep at night and to allow you to reduce anxiety or stress levels.
* Try to have regular sleeping habits, retire and rise at the same time each day. Don’t nap during the day if you have problems sleeping at night.
* If possible, avoid drug use. Drugs including caffeine (soft drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate), alcohol, cigarette smoke and some recreational drugs may seem to have a relaxing effect, but all of them can contribute to sleep disorders. Prescription drugs such as decongestants, antidepressants and heart medication may also have an effect on sleeping.
* Exercise each day, as this will help to make the body tired.
* A warm bath before retiring may help to induce drowsiness, especially if used with aromatherapy oils. See below for oils that may help.
* Do not go to bed if you are not tired. If you wake during the night and cannot get back to sleep, get up and engage in activity such as reading or meditation until you are sleepy again.
Treatments for insomnia:
* There are many natural therapies available for insomnia including acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, acupressure, shiatsu and aromatherapy. It is recommended that conventional drug therapy be used as a last resort as they are known to cause addiction and to disturb the body’s natural sleeping patterns. If you wish to stop taking sleeping tablets, it is recommended you do so under medical supervision as sudden withdrawal of these drugs can cause side effects.
VITAMIN B5 – PANTOTHENIC ACID – The anti stress vitamin that helps with depression and anxiety. Natural sources of vitamin B5 include royal jelly, brewer’s and torula yeast, mushrooms, legumes and fresh vegetables. 50 mg daily may help with symptoms of insomnia.
CHAMOMILE MATRICARIA, GERMAN CHAMOMILE, ROMAN CHAMOMILE. – helps with sleep, pain, anxiety and stress. Use according to label instructions an hour or two before going to bed. Do not use chamomile for prolonged periods or if allergic to ragweed.
KAVA KAVA – a relaxant and mild sedative used for insomnia, stress, anxiety and pain. Use according to label instructions an hour or two before going to bed.
LAVENDER – essential oil. Lavender is used in a bath or massage oil for insomnia, depression and nervous tension. Draw a warm bath and then add six to eight drops of oil and agitate the water before getting in. Soak for at least ten minutes. Add lavender to massage oil and massage on to the body. Essential oil should equal three percent of total oil content. Lavender may be blended with other essential oils used for insomnia.
LEMON BALM, MELISSA OFFICINALIS, MELISSA. – tea. Used for nervousness and mild insomnia. Use three teaspoons of leaf per cup and steep covered for ten minutes, an hour or two before going to bed.
PASSIONFLOWER, MAYPOP – a mild sedative used for insomnia, stress and anxiety. Use according to label instructions, an hour or two before going to bed. Do not use in high doses if pregnant or lactating.
SKULLCAP, SCULLCAP, MAD DOG WEED. – helps with sleep, anxiety, stress and pain. Skullcap may help if withdrawing from the use of sleeping tablets. Use according to label instructions, an hour or two before going to bed. Do not use if pregnant or lactating.
VALERIAN – a sedative used for insomnia, anxiety, stress and pain. Use according to label instructions, an hour or two before going to bed. Do not use alcohol while taking valerian.