What Is Insomnia?
Although doctors are able to prescribe a variety
of medications for insomnia, people often prefer
a natural sleep remedy. There are very good
reasons for this. Many of the prescribed medications
are habit-forming or have unwanted side effects.
They may even lead to tiredness during the day.
Insomnia or sleep disorder
Insomnia or sleep disorder is the condition
of not being able to sleep as much as a person
needs to. It is normal to suffer a sleepless
night from time to time, and to sleep more at
some times than others. For example, the body
will adjust to the changing seasons by wanting
more sleep in the winter and less in summer,
when the daylight hours are longer. Insomnia
is more serious than this and can be severe
enough to disrupt a person's life. Insomniacs
may suffer from any or all of the following:
- being unable to sleep despite feeling very
- waking in the night and having trouble
getting back to sleep
- waking too early
- feeling unrefreshed after sleep
Causes Of Insomnia
Sleep disorder can be caused by many factors,
either physical, physiological or psychological.
Physical causes include pain, e.g. due to arthritis,
headache, toothache, etc. In this case the best
solution is to treat the pain. Other physical
causes may be restless leg syndrome, sickness,
Physiological causes include things that affect
the body such as jet lag, light or noise in
the bedroom, changes in the environment or temperature.
Psychological causes include anxiety, stress,
grief. Anxiety about not being able to fall
asleep can make insomnia worse.
Removing Physiological Causes
The first thing to consider before looking
in a health store for herbal remedies is your
sleeping environment and routine. The bedroom
should be completely dark. If your clock has
a lit display, cover it or turn it away from
the bed. Some ventilation is required although
in a cold climate you may not always be able
to sleep with a window open.
If your partner disturbs your sleep by moving
about at night, having separate mattresses may
help. You can find a double bed base that will
take two mattresses, and you can each choose
the type of mattress that you prefer. If noise
is unavoidable, e.g. you live on a busy street
or your partner snores, consider earplugs.
Routine is vital to our sleep patterns, which
is partly why jet lag is so disruptive. Try
getting up at the same time every day, including
weekends, and don't take naps. Even if this
sounds impossible, just try it for one month.
When and how you get up is even more important
than when and how you go to bed.
Natural Sleep Remedies
Valerian is a natural tranquilizer that can
help many people with psychologically triggered
insomnia. Drink valerian tea in the evening
or take in capsule form. This can help you sleep
longer and more deeply, leaving you feeling
more refreshed. It will not make you sleepy
during the day but may help you to stop worrying
Valerian may take a couple of weeks to become
effective, and should not be taken for more
than three months. Do not take valerian with
other medications without consulting your doctor,
and do not take with alcohol, before or after
an operation, or if you have any liver disease.
Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the
body. It is produced by the body at night to
help us sleep. Supplementing it can be very
helpful and melatonin has become one of the
most popular natural sleep remedies in recent
years. However, it acts as a depressant and
therefore should not be taken by people who
are already suffering from depression or other
psychological problems. Do not take melatonin
if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
or relaxation therapy will be useful for anybody
suffering from anxiety or stress. They will
help both mind and body to calm, so that you
can sleep more easily.
Dietary remedies can also help. Cut out caffeine
completely, and try to avoid eating sugary foods
in the evening, as variations in the blood sugar
levels during the night can disrupt sleep patterns.
A snack of slow-release carbohydrate food such
as bread or cereal (without sugar) will help
blood sugar stay up so that our sleep is not
Consult a qualified medical practitioner before
starting any natural sleep remedy, to check
that it is suitable for you.