60 million Americans cannot sleep every night. 60 million ! sounds like a pretty significant illness to me . However, we know precious little as to why insomnia occurs- except a few known causes like caffeine, Electronic Gadgets , alcohol & stress …
Sleep disruption affects life in more ways than we realize. Not only do we feel like we are dragging ourselves all day, it increases perception of pain, makes us more anxious & slightly more irritable than our usual selves. some of us are pushed towards feeling depressed & very unsatisfied with our lives.
Insomnia leaves a very obvious mark on our faces as well. One look at an insomniac and you can tell they have spent their night tossing in the bed. The dark circles, the bags under eyes give away the story of our nights….
Now , there are 2 kinds of sleep starved people. The first kind have trouble falling asleep…the ones who count sheep and then there are the ones who have trouble staying asleep. These people wake up early in the morning after 2-3 hrs of sleep and then toss for the rest of the night. The physiological effects of insomnia are present in both and no one kind is better than the other
Is there any relief ?
There is, but you have to have an open mind and experiment with different options available out there to find one that best suits your needs & lifestyle. Of course there are medications, but lets reflect upon some non medication options first .
Preferably, turn down your coffee intake after 3 pm. i know this sounds too early, but the effects of caffeine from coffee last a lot longer if u have one cuppa Joe at 3 pm , you still have 1/3rd of it in your system by 9 pm. Caffeine from tea is slightly kinder to us, so consider that instead. Even better, consider green tea !
Food Options to treat Insomnia
1. Consuming a cup of Tart Cherry juice
2. One ripe banana
3. A cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg
4. A cup of warm milk with a quarter teaspoon of turmeric
These are all kitchen based remedies that work very well when consumed at bedtime.
- Massaging your eyelids with cold pressed castor oil,
- Putting a drop of castor oil in each eye,
- Massaging your feet or the crown of your head with slightly warmed sesame oil also work really wellThey act by relaxing the muscles and inducing sleep.
CBT audio tapes – These heard at bedtime also work well
Deep Breathing exercises – performed right on your bed work extremely well
Now lets consider some medication options
- Valerian Root
- Magnesium supplements
Several classes of medications are available these days for insomnia treatment
Some common drug names are ambien, sonata, lunesta, restoril, halcion,belsomra,seroquel, xanax, ativan, valium
All these drugs come with their own risks and side effects. They can also be induce addiction. Some of them can cause complex sleep related behaviors such as sleep walking, sleep eating,sleep driving. Patients often do not have any memory of these incidents next day. Also, these drugs should not be taken if you have consumed alcohol at night. Why ? because all these medications work to slow down your brain activity and along with alcohol intake that effect can be additive and potentially dangerous.
But that does not mean that you should not take them even if you are suffering due to prolonged insomnia. Because not everyone suffers from side effects ! this is the key thing to consider. If one has tried all non-medication options and nothing seems to bring them constant relief from the devastating fatigue that insomnia brings, then please do not suffer. consider medication options – you may have to go through some trial & error before figuring out what works for you, but its totally worth the effort
There are also some alternative treatments that can be considered albeit consideration has to be given if they interact with your current medications or not . There are several combinations available on the market consisting of valerian, melatonin, Theanine,Lemon Balm,Hops etc which may help with insomnia. Before you take these, please ensure if they are compatible with your current medications.
In conclusion, there is relief for insomnia , we just have to be patient and look for it . Happy Snoozing !