Monday, November 12, 2007


Inability to go to sleep or to get sleep for a period insufficient for the needs of an individual is known as insomnia. None of us can do without sleep. An infant sleeps 14 to 18 hours a day. This period is slowly reduced. An adult may be happy with 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. There are people who require 5 hours or even 4 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

Sleep has a definite purpose and that is why all mammals sleep. Lack of sleep apparently does not cause any physical harm. But anyone who gets less than his normal sleep experiences a decrease of efficiency and concentration.

In old age, sleep normally becomes fitful. It is good to regulate sleeping hours. One should go to bed at a fixed time. The human body maintains a 24-hour cycle. During this cycle, the body temperature rises and falls at fixed times. In the middle of the night, the body temperature comes down. In the afternoon, it reaches its maximum. It is comfortable to be sleeping when the body temperature is at its lowest. If someone is compelled to be awake by the circumstances at his time, he would not feel physically and mentally at his best.

The most common cause of insomnia is worry; the other is depression. Environmental disturbances also cause lack of sleep. Loss of sleep often results in fatigue and quickly impairs a person's normal judgment. The higher centers of the brain are the first to show the effects of overwork and anxiety. Such a person may become depressed, losing all interest in life and burdened with a sense of impending death. Unreasonable fears now arise to the surface of his mind, causing all kinds of anxiety and distress, as well sensation of acute pain.

Sleeping pills should be avoided. Sleeping pills taken over a long period disturb the second phase of the normal sleep, the rapid eye movement phase and thus cause harm to the person consuming them. Moreover, the effect of the drugs may last beyond the normal time for waking up and thus cause a reduction in efficiency and concentration. Sleeping pills mixed with alcohol can even be fatal. Patient should practice some technique to relax. Yoga can help or listening to music



It may be good, however, not to overload the stomach with food before going to sleep. A heavy meal disturbs sleep.
A bath before going to bed is of positive help and so is exercise in the afternoon.
In order to get good sleep taking a cup of hot milk before going to bed is a useful habit.
Late nights affect health most adversely because, after 10:30 p.m., the body requires rest and sleep while a late dinner, social function or a musical evening running into morning hours disturb the sleep patterns which is most suitable to the human body.
Stimulants brews like coffee or tea should be avoided in the late evening. Coffee after dinner has an adverse effect on sleep. Smoking of cigarettes also stimulates and thus keeps us awake.
The sleeping environment should be as comfortable as possible, neither too hot nor too cold. Beds, which are too soft, are not conducive to sound sleep. The bed should be firm, hard and of a proper size.
Drinking Kava kava a few hours before bedtime reduces stress, tension, anxiety and relaxes muscles. It helps to fall asleep deeper and to rest more.
A very effective insomnia home remedy is - Prepare a mixture by adding1 tsp. chamomile flowers,1 tsp. Hops,1 tsp. valerian root and1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 45 minutes, strain and drink 1 hour before bedtime.
Wake up at the same time everyday no matter when you got to sleep.
Avoid high protein meals for dinner; instead try to take complex carbohydrates in the dinner.
Drink a cup of warm milk with honey, nutmeg can also be added. The tryptophan in milk helps in sleeping.
Thiamine or vitamin B is of special significance in the natural cure for insomnia.
Lettuce is beneficial in the treatment of insomnia as it contains a sleep-inducing substance, called 'lectucarium'. Boil one tablespoon of seeds in half a litre of water, till it is reduced by one-third. It is very useful in preventing insomnia.
The patient should take plenty of curd and massage it on the head. This will induce sleep.
The mixture of bottle gourd juice and sesame oil in 50:50 ratio acts as an effective medicine for insomnia.
Prepare a tea by boiling about 375 ml of water in a vessel and adding a teaspoon of aniseed. The water should be covered with a lid and allowed to simmer for fifteen minutes. It should then be strained and drunk hot or warm. The tea may be sweetened with honey, and hot milk may also be added to it. This tea should be taken after meals or before going to bed. This is very effective home remedy for insomnia.
Honey is also an effective remedy to induce sleep. Two teaspoonful of honey should be mixed in warm water and taken before going to bed.
Take 1 tsp juice of celery leaves with stalks and 1 tsp of honey.
Have raw onion salad in the dinner.
Take 2 tsp of fenugreek leaves juice with 1 tsp of honey at bed times daily
Prepare a mixture by adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of honey and store this mixture in an airtight container. Take two spoonful of this mixture whenever necessary. This is also very effective home remedy for insomnia.
Sleeping with your head pointing north can improve the quality of your sleep.
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