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Home Diseases Insomnia Treatment of Insomnia with Naturopathy
Treatment of Insomnia with Naturopathy E-mail
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Disease - Insomnia
Written by Dr. Jyoti Kumbhar   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 17:53

Treatment of InsomniaTreatment of Insomnia in Naturopathy

Sleeplessness’… clinically termed as ‘insomnia’ is quite common in today’s list of ailments, which affects us physically and mentally. It occurs in 30-50 percent of general population. Approximately, 10 percent of population suffer from  chronic insomnia. It affects people of all ages including children, although its more common in adults and its severity increases with the age. In general, women are affected more frequently than men. According to one estimate ‘sleeplessness’ cost $ 15.9 billion a year in health care cost alone. ‘National Highway Traffic Safety’ (NHTS) report says, that, about 1,00,000 auto mobile accidents happens yearly because of ‘drowsy drivers;

Now as it raises our concern not only for individual’s health but for  the society’s wellness, let us study this in detail. Insomnia clinically defined as, difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep or early awakening in morning or frequent awakenings during sleep and inability to fall asleep again, followed by functional impairment during daytime.

According to modern medical science there are different types and classification of insomnia as follows-

1.    Primary – Not by any known physical or mental conditions (common causes like alcohol, stress, coffee, etc.)

2.    Secondary – By some medical conditions (like psychiatric diseases, depression is most common).

Another classification depending upon the duration of the disease follows:

1.    Transient insomnia: Lasts for less than a week it may be due to changes in sleep environment timeings of sleep or stress.

2.    Short Term (acute) insomnia: Lasts for less than a month or 3 weeks.

3.    Long term (chronic) insomnia:  Lasts longer than a month. It may be due to some medical conditions or psychiatric diseases.

Insomnia can also be classified based on underlying causes as due to sleep hygiene, sleep disorders or stress and so on.

Causes of insemination

  • Stress
  • Physical discomfort (chronic pains)
  • Working in different shifts
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Deficiency of magnesium and iron
  • Caffeine
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Certain medications
  • Overeating at night
  • Nervous excitement
  • Overwork
  • Lifestyle oriented
  • COPD’s
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Acid reflux
  • Hypertension
  • Urinary problems
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Common psychiatric diseases like Depression, Psychosis, Mania, Anxiety, Hallucinations, etc.

Other Causes

  • Sleep walking
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Circadian sleep disturbance

Beside the conditions listed above there are other types of insomnia observed in some patients like-Psycho-physiological, idiopathic, Paradoxical / Subjective insomnia and Fatal familial insomnia which is very rare.

Effects of Insomnia on Human BodySigns and Symptoms of Insomnia

  1. Difficulty in falling asleep on most nights.
  2. Feeling sleepy / tired during the day.
  3. Waking up several times during sleep.
  4. Impairment of physical / mental vigour.
  5. Tolerance is decreased.
  6. Mood changes.
  7. Poor attention and concentration, poor memory.
  8. Lack of energy, headache, etc.

Diagnosis

A thorough medical and psychiatric history of the patient is necessary to rule out the problem, especially the sleep history-like duration of sleep, time of sleep, time of sleep, time to fall asleep, the number of duration of awakening, time and length of day time naps or asking the patient to maintain their ‘sleep diaries’. ‘Polysomnography’ is an overnight sleep study. It is a diagnostic test during which a number of physiological veriables are measured and recorded during sleep.

Complications

Of course, the complications of insomnia are not life threatening but increase the risk of automobile accidents, psychiatric diseases and certain medical conditions. It deteriorates patient’s physical and mental health gradually significantly interferes with quality of life. Some evidences says that lack of sleep can also lower your immune system or ability to fight infections.

When one should see a doctor?

Sound sleep is an essential parameter in assessing your physical and mental health, but different people have different requirement for sleep. It also changes with age. Sleeping for 6-8 hours is not mandatory to have good health. Even four hours sound sleep can refresh you and can keep you fit. If problem of having few sleepless nights resolve spontaneously when provoking or underlying factor is corrected, you are not to worry, but if it persists for longer than medical evaluation is necessary and underlying causes should be treated properly.

Non-pharmacological Approach

  • Sleep hygiene (like well ventilated, dim-lighted, peaceful room).
  • Behavioural interventions (cognitive behavior therapy).
  • Patients education (which decreases performance anxiety).
  • Relaxation Therapy (Yogic techniques, meditation).
  • Avoiding Stimulus like (caffeine, alcohol, watching TV).
  • Preventing Paradoxical intention (trying to keep oneself awake).

All these therapies are widely in use for treating and curing insomnia because even the modern medical science has recognized and agreed upon they

Fact that, just popping the sleeping pills is not the answer for insomnia, rather alternative therapies and non-pharmacological treatment have a good role to play in curing insomnia, avoiding side effects of sleeping pills, as well securing a complete health of an individual.

There is a wide range of alternative therapies in treating and curing insomnia.

Role of Naturopathy

As we all know today, stress is the main causative factor in almost all psychosomatic disorders, including insomnia. Naturopathy, with its holistic approach helps you to relax physically and mentally. It believes in body’s own recuperative power in restoring health of an individual. It works on 5 principles of nature ‘Panchmahabhootas’ treatments are designed accordingly. It detoxifies, rejuvenates your system and thereby calms your mind.

Hydrotherapy

It’s the system of Naturopathic science, where the water of different temperatures is used to treat various physical and mental diseases. Water treatments:

Soothen your nerves and decrease nervous irritability.

  • Relieve bodily aches and pains.
  • Decrease muscle tension and improves muscle tone.
  • Increase internal organs efficiency.
  • Rejuvenate your system and calms the mind.

Some of the applications which are especially used in case of insomnia are:

  • Neutral douche / neutral affusion to spine-3-5 minutes before bedtime.
  • Hot food bath for 15-20 minutes at bedtime
  • Leg pack overnight.
  • Neutral immersion bath (with Epsom salt) at bedtime.
  • Cold compress to neck before sleep.
  • Neutral wet sheet pack.

Diet Therapy

According to Naturopathy, A wholesome, natural, fresh organic diet plays an important role to keep you physically and mentally fit. A low salt diet, as salt is said to interfere with a restful sleep. Some of the home remedies helps you to improve your sleep.

  • Among all, Vitamin B (thiamine) is of special significance in treatment of insomnia which is necessary for healthy nerves and to fall asleep naturally. Its sources are wholegrain cereals, pulses, nuts.
  • It is beneficial as it contains a sleep inducing substance called ‘lectucarium: The juice of this plant has sedative action or lettuce seeds taken in decoction are useful in insomnia.
  • A glass of milk with honey before bed is useful, as it contains tryptophan which will be converted into serotonin and thereby melatonin, which induces sleep. It acts as tonic and tranquiliser.
  • Juice of bottle gourd and sesame oil in 50:50 ration, effective for insomnia.
  • It has hypnotic action and improves sleep, taken with warm water before sleep.

Massage Therapy

A therapeutic massage has a very good role to play in relieving your stress, rejuvenating your system and gives you the feeling of freshness, vigour and vitality. In case of exhaustion from excessive physical, mental, nervous or muscular work. General massage secures the most marked and satisfactory results, relieving the sense of fatigue in a most wonderful manner in a short span of time. Massage also exerts a decidedly quietening influence upon the nervous irritability commonly accompanying cerebral and nervous exhaustion.

  • A local massage to head and neck.
  • Rejuvenating full body massage.
  • Certain massage movements like touch or gentle stroking of the forehead or feet has sedative hypnotic effect.
  • Derivative massage o Centrifugal friction gives good sense of relaxation in treating insomnia.
  • Massage with colour (blue/green) charged oil or aromatic oil also give good relaxation.

Magneto therapy

It’s a science where different poles of magnets are used to treat various ailments. Magnets has certain effects on internal organs, body fluids and tissues. It acts upon the circulation, reduces the pains and helps our body to heal itself. Each magnet has its south and north pole. In case of insomnia-

  • A low power south pole magnet on forehead can be given (maximum for 10 minutes).
  • Magnified water drinking can be helpful.
  • Keeping medium power magnets under bath palms for 10 minutes before bedtime can help you to get good sleep.

Chromo therapy

It’s a scientific method of using coloured rays of light to treat various physical and mental health disorders. Colour has proven biological and psychological effect on all living being. It can be used in various forms as:

  • Exposure to coloured lights
  • Massage of colour charged oils
  • Visualisation of certain colours
  • Using certain coloured clothing
  • Drinking colour charged water.

In case of insomnia colours, especially blue and green can be used as, blue/green coloured walls in bedroom, dim blue lights in bedroom, blue/green colour charges water drinking before bedtime can be helpful.

Mud Therapy

There are different types of mud, but black mud (black soil) has its certain effects which are helpful in treating certain diseases. The mud for treatment should be pure, uncontaminated (free from pesticides, fertilizers), clean and finely powdered. It should be soaked in water for at least 12 hours before use.

  • A local mud pack on abdomen and eyes is quite relaxing.
  • Whereas a direct full body mud application detoxify you a sense of freshness.
  • Especially in case of insomnia sleeping on earth or barefoot walking in the garden or early morning walking on dew drops is beneficial.

Acupuncture

It is a traditional Chinese system of medicine where fine needles are inserted at particular points. Acupuncture produces its effects through nerves. Autonomic nervous system plays an important role in working of acupuncture. Efficacy of acupuncture is already been proved in treating insomnia.

Electrical stimulation can be given (mild)for 20-30 min for 7-10 days. Acupuncutre gives excellent results in curing insomnia

Acupressure

It can render same effect by giving pressure with your thumb or finger tips on some particular points. Applying a firm pressure on reflux areas with circular massage on points will have good results, it can be repeated again. In case of insomnia, few points on back of head, at base of skull, on face, neck and head can be used.

Aroma Therapy

It is gaining ground as a natural remedy. It’s uses are as follows:

  • Chamomile and lavender do promote sleep, its refreshing and also lengthens sleep time.
  • A lavender sachet under your pillow or lavender oil applied to the temples induces sleep.
  • Massage to neck, shoulder with few drops of chamomile / lavender / sandalwood / rose oil is very smoothening and calms the nerves.

Yoga Therapy

The complete science of Yoga, has been used for the wellbeing of human beings, down the ages. As a therapy, various yoga postures, kriyas, paranayamas, relaxation techniques and meditation are being used to treat various psychosomatic disorders.

It’s not only to treat your diseases, physical and mental but  it deals with the all levels of your being / personality rendering you a long and healthy life. Yoga will increase the elimination of toxins from the body right down the cellular levels. Breathing practices allows more oxygen in the body providing clarity to the mind. It’s one of the major tools to relieve your stress and rejuvenate your body. Certain yoga postures which are help in case of insomnia are:

  • Uttanasana
  • Vipreetkarni
  • Sarvangasana
  • Halasana
  • Shirshasana
  • Sukhasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Shavasana

Regular practice of any relaxation technique or meditation wil help you to improve your sleep.

‘Yoga Nidra’ found to be very effective in Insomnia.

The most important thing to keep in mind is stop worrying about your sleep, otherwise the worry itself is enough to keep you awake. Make use of alternative therapies to distress your  body, rejuvenate your system. Experience the wonderful panacea of yoga and make your life better, happy and healthy.

 
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