Sleep is important. It helps our body recover from the day’s activities and enhances memory and brain function. Without it, we would literally go crazy.
Sleep should be a natural part of life but for some, it doesn’t come easily. The reasons are many and varied: some prescribed medications interfere with the body’s wake/sleep cycle, emotional stresses lead to night-time anxiety, and the wrong food before bed will disturb sleep. Sometimes there is no obvious reason.
To help you get a good night’s sleep, we have compiled a list of helpful tips and outlined the common symptoms of some homeopathic remedies that treat insomnia. The remedy you need may be among them. Always consult with a Registered Homeopath before beginning homeopathic treatment.
Exercise regularly. Exercising for at least thirty minutes each day will help you fall asleep at night. Just make sure you don’t do it too close to bedtime or the reverse will be true.
Lose weight. Being overweight increases the risk of snoring and sleep apnoea, neither of which result in a good night’s sleep.
Have a health check. Many diseases interfere with sleep. For example, thirst through the night may indicate diabetes, burning feet can point to small blood vessel or nerve disease, and frequent visits to the bathroom could signal a prostate, kidney, or heart problem.
Balance menopausal hormones. Hormonal changes at menopause can cause hot flushes, joint pain, and palpitations that interfere with sleep. Bring you body back into balance with the help of your local homeopath or natural therapist.
Check your Diet for any sleep zapping culprits!
Avoid caffeine. Drinking coffee, or even tea, will stop some people falling asleep. Be aware that caffeine is also in some processed foods, drinks, and even medications such as diet pills.
Avoid foods which irritate. Dairy and wheat products are high on the list of foods that cause sleep-disturbing problems such as gastrointestinal upsets, congestion, gas, and apnoea in sensitive people.
Eat a protein snack a few hours before bed. L-tryptophan from protein foods will help your body produce the sleep-promoting neuro-transmitters of melatonin and serotonin. Carbohydrates such as a small piece of wholemeal bread may also help tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier.
Avoid fluids two hours before bed. This will reduce the likelihood of waking to go to the bathroom. Empty your bladder before going to bed.
Avoid snacks, especially sugars and processed grains, before bed. These foods cause rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar levels that disturb sleep.
Avoid alcohol. The drowsiness produced by alcohol is short-lived and stops you entering the deeper and more restful stages of sleep. As its effect wears off some hours later, you are also more likely to wake and then be unable to go back to sleep.
Sip chamomile tea before going to bed. Chamomile tea has a mild homeopathic effect of relieving anxiety and inducing relaxation – just the thing for a good night’s sleep.
Consider Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathy has a marvellous history of treating insomnia, symptoms usually do not exist in isolation, though. If insomnia is just one of your problems, or if it is not fully relieved by the remedy that seems to match your sleeplessness, make an appointment to see a professional homeopath who will take a detailed case-history to find a constitutional remedy to treat not only your insomnia, but the other health problems that bother you as well. Be sure to inquire about your Homeopath’s qualifications and ensure they have studied at a recognized homeopathic college.
Arsenicum Album (Ars)
Key Symptoms: Those who need Arsenicum are nearly always be anxious and restless. Anxiety, fear, or worry prevents sleep. Frequent starting or jumping which wakens from sleep. Sleeplessness from physical exertion. Worse for: after midnight. Better for: warmth; warm drinks.
Supporting Symptoms: Disturbed, anxious and restless sleep. Lying awake with restlessness, tossing and turning. Cannot lie still in bed – has to get up and wander around from restlessness. Going from bed to bed to try and sleep. Can only sleep with head raised. Hard to fall asleep after waking.
Coffea Cruda (Coff)
Key Symptoms: Coffee is well known for producing sleeplessness but because of homeopathy’s ‘like treats like’ effect, it will relieve insomnia when given in crude, or especially homeopathic form. The type of symptoms it relieves are those produced by coffee. They are: sleeplessness from rapid thoughts or an active mind; constant flow of ideas; physical restlessness; nervous energy; excitement. Can also be used to counteract the effects of a caffeinated product that has been taken too close to bed-time. Worse for: suprises; strong emotions; narcotics.
Supporting Symptoms: Unable to sleep from the excitement of a surprise, or good or bad news. Palpitation with sleeplessness. Waking with every sound. Waking from frequent starting. Sleeplessness from an itching anus. Minor pains seems intolerable.
Gelsemium Sempervirens (Gels)
Key Symptoms: Sleeplessness from anticipatory anxiety. Dull, drowsy mind – hard to think yet difficult to go to sleep. Insomnia from exhaustion. Hard to get fully asleep. Worse for: bad news; thinking about problems.
Supporting Symptoms: Yawning with tiredness. Sleeplessness with teething. Sleeplessness from itching on head, face, neck, and shoulders. Sleeplessness during delirium tremens (withdrawal from alcohol).
Ignatia Amara (Ign)
Key Symptoms: Intense, repeated yawning or frequent sighing. Sleeplessness from a recent disappointment or grief.
Supporting Symptoms: Waking easily from sleep. Waking from the jerking of a limb. Itching of arms with yawning. Yawning produces tears in the eyes or threatens to dislocate jaw. Child wakes from sleep with screaming and trembling after being reprimanded before bedtime. Worse for: Coffee.
Lycopodium clavatum (Lyc)
Key Symptoms: Waking from hunger – must get up and eat. Restless sleep and anxious dreams with frequent waking. Feeling unrefreshed in morning.
Supporting Symptoms: Unable to get comfortable in any position. Falling asleep late and waking early. Sleepy all day and sleepless at night from an active mind. Children who sleep all day and cry all night. Child wakes terrified with screaming – seems not to recognise anyone (sleep terrors).
Nux Vomica (Nux-v)
Key Symptoms: Frequent yawning. Irritability from loss of sleep. Falling asleep before normal bedtime and then waking at 3–4am. Waking at 3-4am with alert and active mind and then falling asleep as daylight approaches only to then wake with difficulty, feeling tired, weak, and not wanting to get up. Worse for: stimulants and narcotics
Supporting Symptoms: Sleeplessness from the excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, or drugs (therapeutic or recreational). Tendency to lie on back with arms under head. Sleeplessness from mental strain and stress or excessive study. Drowsy after meals an in early evening. Grogginess on waking in morning. Weeping and talking in sleep.
Passiflora Incarnata (Pass)
Key Symptoms: Restlessness, exhaustion, and sleeplessness.
Supporting Symptoms: Restless sleeplessness from excessive work. Sleeplessness with exhaustion. Insomnia of infants and the aged. Convulsions with sleeplessness.
Other Comments: Has a long history of use in herbal medicine where its homeopathic effect in the treatment of insomnia has also been exploited. It is effective in either herbal doses or homeopathic potencies.
A trained Homeopath who has received homeopathic training is qualified to take an indepth case and will customize a homeopathic remedy to treat your mental, emotion and physical state. For a listing of all Registered Homeopaths in Ontario please visit www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca