“SLEEP” is something one cannot live without. It is as natural as hunger. But if it is a natural response, why do so many people suffer from various sleep disorders? Majority of people at some time or the other during the lifespan suffer from some sort of sleep problem, which affects their general health.
It is concluded that for optimal body functions, good mood, healthy hormonal functions and overall health, sleep is very important. When some type of sleep problem occurs as a result of some external physical or mental barrier like high stress levels etc, once that barrier is expelled, the normal sleep pattern returns. When, however, the irregular / absurd sleeping pattern becomes almost a habit, one needs effective therapy to combat it. Before we go to how to combat sleep disorders, we need to know what different types of sleep problems we humans encounter. There are lot more types of sleep problems once we delve deep into the issue and not just the problem of insomnia or sleeplessness. Let’s see--
Types of Sleep Disorders--
1) Oversleeping (Hypersomnia)- Medically, the normal sleep is said to be between 7 to 9 hours at night. If you’re sleeping far more than this, you do suffer from hypersomnia. In this problem, people suffer from excessive day-time sleepiness and drowsiness, and also extended sleep hours at night at times. Many people that suffer from this problem may have high anxiety levels, low energy levels or some memory troubles. In people with obstructive sleep apnoea too, in which the person suffers from sudden breathless spells during sleep, might suffer from oversleeping during the day. Also some over the counter medications, anti allergic drugs and alcohol can lead to oversleeping problem.
2) Insomnia (Sleeplessness) – This is by far the commonest sleep problems and many people today are fighting the problem throughout the world. The list of causes is endless, starting from depression to wrong food habits. Primary insomnia is the one where there is no known direct cause behind insomnia. Secondary insomnia, the problem can be linked to some health disease like asthma, depression, heartburn, arthritis, etc.
The most important causes behind insomnia are –
n Stress- that may be related to anything ranging from discord between the partners, death of a loved one, job problems etc.
n Environmental factors like excessive noise, light or excessively hot ot cold temperatures etc.
n Conventional drugs
n Irregular sleeping pattern due to variety of causes.
n Some kind of physical pain
The symptoms of insomnia include irritability, sleepiness during the day, memory or concentration problems, general fatigue etc.
3) Snoring- Occasional snoring can occur with anyone and may not be significant. However, when it occurs in obese people and leads to some sort of obstruction to breathing, it is a serious issue and needs proper treatment. There are some side effects of snoring that has some kind of obstructive cause behind. They include frequent waking from sleep, poor night’s sleep and strain on the heart if the obstruction is severe.
4) Night terrors and nightmares- Night terrors are common in children. Episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep with difficulty in arousing the child can almost diagnose the night terrors. There may or may not be any mental and/or emotional cause associated with such episodes in the children. But during homeopathic treatment, one has to consider all such factors very carefully.
5) Parasomnias- These are sleep disorders that affect during arousals from REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) sleep or partial arousals from NERM (Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement) sleep. Various sleep problems are encountered under this type, that are, sleep-walking, rhythmic movement disorders, sleep talking, nocturnal leg cramps, sleep paralysis, irregular heart rhythms, teeth grinding (bruxism), enuresis (bed-wetting) etc.
6) Sleep Related Eating Disorders- In this problem, the person shows abnormal eating pattern during the night. Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is characterised by eating during the night in full awareness and failing to fall asleep thereafter. People with hard and fast diet rules during the day are more vulnerable to such problem. Excessive work-related or relationship related stress is also linked to NES.
The above mentioned six types of sleep problems are by far the commonest. Recognizing that one has sleep problem and approaching a physician as early as possible can avert many adverse consequences. Also the conventional drug therapy has not quite succeeded in annihilating the sleep problems in their totality without making the patient addicted to the drugs. Also the drugs might act very temporarily and not give lasting relief, while leading to many side effects. That is why more and more people are approaching the safe and efficient homeopathy for treating their sleep troubles.
Before we proceed to "how to apply various homeopathic medicines for sleep disorders", let us be very clear that there is no generalized drug for treating people with insomnia or hypersomnia. Every homeopathic physician must have a detailed case history of the patient with his physical, mental and emotional picture very clear. A proper case evaluation needs to be done in order to track the miasmatic dominance, physical and mental totality, and the constitutional analysis. The aetiology (causative factors) behind sleep disorders should be assessed cautiously. If the causative factors revolve around absurd lifestyle of the patient, a sound and adaptable suggestions must be given in order to see if he improves without medication.
Yes, let’s be very clear in our mind that unless the person absolutely needs medicine, we should not give him; if the removal of causative factor leads to normalcy.
Here are some of the important homeopathic medicines and their signs and symptoms as regards the sleep disorders. Please be very careful while having access to these drugs, as a careful assessment of all the factors by an expert is a must!
Top 10 Homeopathic Medicines for Sleep Disorders--
1) Coffea cruda –
n Wakeful mind and the person is on constant move
n Can sleep only till 3 am.; later only dozes
n Extremely alert sleep. Disturbed by dreams; wakes with a start
n Excessive mental activity, flow of idea result in nervous excitement.
n Sleeplessness during pregnancy with flow of ideas
n Sleep disturbed by itching of anus
n A sudden joyful news or surprise may cause sleeplessness; associated with irregular violent palpitations
2) Ambra grisea-
n Worry is the chief causative factor behind insomnia
n Dreams full of anxious moments
n Business troubles leading to sleeplessness (Bry)
n May be associated with nymphomania in women
n Cannot sleep in new places and in the presence of unfamiliar people
n Limbs to go sleep on slightest pressure; arms go to sleep (go numb) while lying down
n Worse by music, any unusual thing
n Very useful and one of the empirically given drug for insomnia, because it has a calming influence on the nervous system.
n When mental irritation or pain is the cause
n In wakeful sleep resulting due to exhaustion
n Especially useful in nervous people and aged people with insomnia
n Mentally worries, hypochondriac, overworked people with a tendency to convulsions
n May be associated with night cough
4) Daphne indica-
n Absolute inability to sleep
n Aching of bones leading to insomnia
n Nightmarish sleep with anxious dreams
n Dreams of cats - black cats
n He develops chilliness and clamminess when startled from sleep
n May be associated with craving for tobacco
n Irresistible sleepiness
n With weariness and inclination to stretch often
n Post-intermittent fevers, the person suffers from excessive sleep
n May be associated with constipation
n Sleepiness in women with excessive moroseness and lassitude
n Great disinclination to work with constant desire to lie down.
n Great dejection and melancholy
n Worse during evenings; better during menstrual flow, in the warm room
n The patient imagines to see ghosts and dreadful animals
n The child starts up very often and gnashes his teeth
n When he starts from sleep suddenly, goes into spasms
n Red face in starting up suddenly at night, redness of eyes and semi-stupor condition
n Sleeplessness in young children that are over-stimulated brains
n Babies wake up and play whole night
n First the baby wakes up, cries out, is wakeful and begins to laugh and play.
n Sleeplessness during teething and intestinal troubles
9) Nux vomica-
n One of the stalwart remedies for sleep problems due to excessive night watching and alcohol
n Health troubles start due to insomnia
n Cannot sleep after 3 am until towards morning and later feels sleepy
n Awakes feeling wretchedly
n Dreams full of hustle bustle and hurry
n Feels drowsy after meals and in the early evening
n Better after a short nap, unless aroused
n Snoring (Also consider Hippozaenium / Lemna minor when due to nasal bone problems and nose obstruction)
n One of the important constitutional remedies in sleep related troubles
n Feels drowsy during the day
n Startling in sleep
n Dreams of accidents
n Wakes at night feeling hungry
n Better after midnight
As said earlier, the above 10 remedies are mere a glimpse into how a homeopathic remedy is selected for sleep troubles. One has to be very careful to put an end to a maintaining cause if any (like smoking / alcohol abuse etc) in order to get lasting relief. But yes, as a homeopath, I can assure that with proper selection of a right homeopathic remedy, a person can enjoy his natural right to sleep pretty well and feel refreshed in the morning!
Have a blissful sleep! J
Posted by Dr Shreya Deshpande at 8:21 PM