Many people experience insomnia at some point in their lives. There may be a number of root causes according to the individual, and people of any age may be susceptible to periods of sleeplessness, either as a short term problem with an identifiable trigger, or as a chronic long term condition. If you suffer from insomnia, it is worth looking at practical measures first, before considering medical solutions, either conventional or homeopathic. The following measures may be beneficial:
Light and temperature: even minute amounts of light in your bedroom can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, by interfering with the pineal gland’s production of melatonin. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible, and turn off light emitting technologies (TV, computer, iPad, etc) well before bedtime. A cool bedroom is more conducive to sleep – ideally 60 – 68 degrees, as this mimics the body’s lower internal temp during sleep.
Electro magnetic fields also disrupt melatonin production. Move alarms and other electrical devices as far away from your head as possible. Keep mobiles, wireless routers and phone bases out of the bedroom.
Physical factors: make sure you have no caffeinated drinks later in the day, and consider whether factors such as indigestion, physical pain and side effects of medication may be affecting your sleep.
Exercise: take some evening exercise, especially if you are sedentary during the day.
Make a sleep routine: decide on a time to go to bed and stick to it. Take time to wind down – turn off the computer, listen to some music, read a book.
Relaxation and worries: try meditation or relaxation techniques, and if there are things on your mind, keep a note pad by your bed. Try writing down important thoughts that won’t go away – getting them off your mind and down on paper can really help.
If practical issues don’t help, consider homeopathic treatment as an option. Self-prescribing can be effective if the problem is short term and has an identifiable trigger. If your insomnia is more chronic and long term, and with no clear cause, a homeopath will look at the whole picture of your state of health and circumstances before prescribing the appropriate remedy for you. I always try to understand your sleep problem in the context of you as a whole person.
The following are some commonly used remedies for insomnia. Choose the one that best fits your symptoms, but consider getting in touch for a more in depth consultation if your sleep does not shift into a more healthy pattern after a week or so of treatment. They are safe for everyone to use, including children.
Coffea cruda – difficulty switching off due to an overactive mind, excitement, or too much caffeine.
Kali phos – insomnia from nervous exhaustion, including after intense periods of work or study. A typical state and a useful remedy in new mums, and those who have been studying for big exams.
Zincum met – difficulty sleeping from emotional stress or overwork. Sleep tends to be light, and legs are restless and jerk before sleep.
Cocculus – this is a remedy often helpful in sleeplessness from exhaustion, typically brought on by nursing the sick, or from night watching, with anxiety. Symptoms may be accompanied by weakness and vertigo.
Passiflora – this remedy in a low potency can help to restore a more normal sleep pattern, especially in those who are restless and wakeful from overwork or worries.
Nux vomica – those who need this remedy typically wake at 3-4am with an overactive mind, and feel irritable and tired on rising. It is useful in acute insomnia brought on by studying or overwork, and overuse of stimulants including coffee, or alcohol.
Arnica – as well as being the main remedy for bruising and trauma, Arnica is the first remedy to think of for jetlag, resulting in a state of exhaustion with the inability to sleep.