Insomnia in itself is not a disease. It is symptom of sleeplessness. Not getting proper sleep, not getting sleep immediately after retiring to bed, getting sleep but for shorter periods only, and unable to fall asleep after interruption are some of the symptoms of Insomnia.
Insomnia is divided in three main categories depending on duration of the symptoms. First among these categories is transient Insomnia which makes you sleepless for shorter period of one day to one week. Next is acute Insomnia which gives you sleepless nights for one to three weeks. Third is chronic Insomnia in which symptoms of sleeplessness continues for longer period ranging between one month to months together.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of sleep disorders. Insomnia may be caused due to other problems apart from basic cause of brain and body relaxation like excessive intake of toxicants like caffeine, fear, medications, anxiety and stress or mental tension. Excessive physical work or pain may also cause Insomnia or sleep disorders. You may get Insomnia owing to various causes like medication, fear, mental stress, anxiety. It is very important to know the exact cause of Insomnia to treat it with suitable medication. Following guidelines will make you understand basic causes and effects of Insomnia.
o Interruption of breathing: This is termed as sleep apnea in medical terms. In this condition, you experience interruption in breathing. As a result of this interruption your sleep cycle is disturbed. This happens due to partial collapse of respiratory track muscle tone. The bigger problem about this condition is that person suffering from such condition does not remember what interrupted his sleep. However, he keeps drowsing throughout the day complaining sleeplessness. This type of Insomnia is attributable to congestive heart, sign of premature aging and cerebral vascular condition. The best way to get rid of such condition is that you must awake from the bed and resume breathing.
o The other type of Insomnia is noticed particularly in person taking frequent journeys. Your journey may have different time zones as such it becomes very difficult for you to adjust yourself with the changed sleeping habits. Your body is accustomed to a particular time schedule for sleep. Whenever there is change in this schedule you may experience symptom of sleeplessness. This cause is also applicable to people working in shifts.
o In another type of sleep disorder symptoms, person responds physically to the events he has seen in dreams. Violent behavior during sleep, nightmares and sleepwalking are examples of such responses.
o You may experience other symptoms like awaking in night due to unpleasant sensations. This sensation occurs due to flowing of acids upwards from stomach. This condition is termed as gastro-esophageal reflex.
Insomnia can be also caused by some other factors like dietary allergy, emotional upheaval, side effects of medications, physical or mental stress, depression etc. Early detection of causes will help your doctor in deciding line of treatment and provide you early relief from Insomnia.
Treatment of Insomnia
Sleeping medicines / sedatives can provide you required amount of sleep and help you in getting relief from Insomnia. You can also try herbal medicines such as chamomile, hops, valerian and lavender. Marijuana plant (scientifically known as cannabis sativa) also gives good results in inducing sleep. However, this herbal medicine, cannabis sativa, has been banned by many governments for use in treating Insomnia.
You can try following home remedies to get some relief from Insomnia:
o Drink warm milk before going to bed. Tryptophan present in the milk works as natural sedative and helps you in getting sleep.
o Exercise regularly. This will relax your body muscles and may give you relief from sleeplessness.
o You can try diet control method – having heavy lunch and maintaining three hours gap between dinner and bed time.
o Avoid mental stress, phobia, worrying while retiring to bed.
o Cultivate habit of getting up early and retiring to bed at decided time.
o Your sleep depends upon the relaxation your body and mind gets. Meditation may help you to get required relaxation and gain sleep.
o Use of oils (aromatherapy) for relaxing muscles may result in restfulness and inducing sleep.
However, it may be noted that above remedies do not have proven results but are based on the experiences of Insomniacs. These results may vary from individual to individual.
You may try other therapies like acupuncture for treating Insomnia. The best remedy will be the one prescribed by your health provider.