Insomnia refers to the inability to sleep or habitual sleeplessness. It may involve disruption of the person’s circadian rhythm or body clock, which may also impact his activities of daily living and mental processes. The following are the causes, symptoms, and home remedies for insomnia.
Insomnia have several causes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia may be due to depression or anxiety, which is evidenced by tension, getting caught up in thoughts about past events, excessive worrying about future events, feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, and a general feeling of being overstimulated. Medical conditions can also cause insomnia and some of them include nasal or sinus allergies, gastrointestinal problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease, endocrine problems like hyperthyroidism, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, as well as chronic and low back pain. The sleep-wake cycle is also affected by a person’s lifestyle. As per the publication, factors that contribute to sleeplessness include working at home in the evenings, taking naps in the afternoon, sleeping later to make up for lost sleep, and working for irregular hours.
Signs and Symptoms
Insomnia also presents a number of symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, these include difficulty falling asleep, not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep, waking up in between sleep, waking up too early, tiredness, depression, difficulty paying attention, irritability, anxiety, and increased errors or accidents.
While agents like sleeping pills allow a person to sleep, excessive intake may result to complications. The following are some home remedies that will help manage sleeplessness.
Warm milk stands as one of the most common remedies for sleeplessness. According to Web MD, milk is rich in calcium, which helps the brain produce melatonin. Melatonin maintains a person’s sleep-wake cycle through activating drowsiness and reducing the body’s temperature, along with working with the central nervous system in synchronizing the body clock.
Tart Cherry Juice
One remedy for insomnia is tart cherry juice. According to Everyday Roots, the juice is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that becomes serotonin and then melatonin. This way, half cup to a cup of tart cherry juice serves as a natural sleeping aid.
The rocking chair is associated with the elderly, but It stands as one of the strategies to induce sleep. According to Everyday Health, sitting on a rocking chair provides the same mechanism like babies being gently rocked back and forth in the arms. According to Swiss researchers, as cited by Everyday Health, study participants were able to sleep faster and engage with the restorative deep-sleep phase faster when they napped in a hammock-like bed. As per the study, the mild swinging sensation stimulates brain areas involved in deep sleep.
Insomnia also responds to relaxation techniques, as they help calm the mind and relieve tension in the person’s body. According to Help Guide, a person may do abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.
For abdominal breathing, the person breathes deeply and fully, involving his chest, rib cage, abdomen, and lower back. He closes his eyes and takes deep and slow breaths, making each breath deeper than the last. He breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth.
Progressive muscle relaxation also increases a person’s comfort. He starts with his feet and tenses his muscles as tightly as he can. Next, he holds for a count of ten and then relaxes. He continues to do it for every muscle group in his body, from his feet to the top of the head.
In mindfulness meditation, the person sits or lies calmly and focuses on his natural breathing and how his body feels in the moment. He allows his thoughts and emotions to come and go, without judgment, as he always returns to focus on his breath and his body.
Insomnia does not allow a person to recharge his mind and body, decreasing his optimal level of functioning.