Do any of these sound familiar to you? Lying awake for hours trying to get to sleep; tossing and turning all night; or waking tired and unrefreshed?
Insomnia is a very common condition, and affects most people at some point in their lives. Average adults need around 8 hours of sleep a night, but many of us don’t get that much, leading to feelings of tiredness and ‘dragging ourselves through the day’. Those with insomnia experience frequent sleep disturbances including one or more of the following:
Difficulty falling asleep
Waking up too early in the morning.
Waking up a lot during the night.
Waking up feeling like sleep has not been restful or restorative.
This can be caused by a number of different things, and for many of us Stress and Anxiety (the typical ‘racing mind’) is a key contributor. Insomnia may also be due to altered circadian rhythms (e.g. from traveling or shift work), poor sleep hygiene (e.g. watching tv in bed), hormonal changes (e.g. Menopause), medications, coffee, alcohol or environmental factors (e.g. a light or noisy room). Sleep apnoea is another cause of unrefreshing sleep, in which a person stops breathing a number of times during the night, leading to ‘microarousals’ and fragmented sleep. Obesity and alcohol use are most commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnoea.
As with most conditions, treatment will depend upon the cause of insomnia. If a person is stressed or anxious, there are a number of herbs that can help. Vervain, Chamomile, Lemon balm and Passionflower are lovely relaxing herbs that also nourish the nervous system to increase feelings of wellbeing, relaxation and energy. Any one of these as a warm tea (Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Tea is great) in the evening is a relaxing ritual that may ease you into dreamland. Thompsons Kava 2400 is another consideration, as it relieves Anxiety, promotes relaxation and yet is not detrimental to focus if taken during the day.
Diet and lifestyle changes can also make a big difference to insomnia. Your Naturopath should be able to talk you through a range of changes which will fit in with your personal situation.
Updates - 3 November 2014
Paine, S & Gradisar, M (2011), ‘A randomised controlled trial of cognitive-behaviour therapy for behavioural insomnia of childhood in school-aged children’, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 49, Issues 6-7, pp: 379-388
We often think of insomnia as plaguing adults rather than children, but a surprising number of kids also suffer from problems with sleep. This study tested the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the sleeping patterns of42 children aged 7 to 13 years. They received CBT focusing on sleep medicine techniques and anxiety management. Out of all of the children in the study, those receiving treatment reported less problematic sleep associations and separation anxiety. These effects were continuing six months after the cessation of treatment.
Yet another consideration for those who have difficulty with insomnia – CBT may be a useful addition to a treatment program.
Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for Insomnia:
|1. Thompsons Kava 2400 (60 Tabs)||1 -2 tab 30 minutes before bedtime.|
|2. Fusion Sleep (30 Tabs, 60 Tabs) OR||1-2 tab 1 hour before bedtime|
|3. Nutra Life Sleep Well (30 Caps, 60 Caps)||1 cap 1 hour before bedtime|
|4. Bach Rescue Remedy Sleep (20ml)||2 sprays on the tongue as needed.|
|2 tabs with dinner.|
|6. Fusion Organic Magnesium Advanced (60 Tabs, 120 Tabs||1 tab with dinner.|
|7. Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Tea (20 Teabags)||1 strong cup half an hour before bed time.|
NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.
For more information on Insomnia or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.