Insomnia Sleep Disorder
Individuals who suffer from insomnia sleep disorder often complain of not being able to get a full night's rest. Some may have difficulty falling asleep, while others constantly awaken after seeming to doze for only a few minutes or hours. Deprivation causes irritability, daytime sleepiness, tiredness and fatigue, and an inability to focus or concentrate. In extreme cases, individuals may fall asleep while operating dangerous machinery or under the wheel of a motor vehicle; and both incidences can result in serious injury or death. In order to find the cause of insomnia, patients can enroll in studies or consult a physician.
Patients enrolled in investigative studies will be asked to wear monitoring devices while falling asleep in a controlled environment. An insomnia sleep disorder can be detected as patients go through several stages of unconsciousness. REM (rapid eye movement), respiratory function, pulse, and heart rate are monitored to detect the cause of sleeplessness or presence of apnea, a potentially dangerous respiratory condition that causes patients to cease breathing for longer than normal periods of time. Snoring also causes sleeplessness, as copious amounts of air dry mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and throat. People that snore are usually unaware that loud snoring can easily awaken them and contribute to wakeful nights.
For most people, falling asleep occurs gradually, from drowsiness, cat napping, and dreaming, also known as REM; to deep unconsciousness. During REM, the body experiences dreams, movement and an irregular heart rate. The body is not in a restful state, but movements indicate activity in dreams or rehearsals of the day's activities. Deep sleep is the most rewarding state of unconsciousness when the body experiences total and complete rest, similar to being comatose. For individuals suffering from insomnia sleep disorder, six, seven, or even eight hours of unbroken rest is optimal. Children may require eight; but small babies sleep in spurts and experience REM.
The causes of insomnia sleep disorder vary with the individual. Those who fall asleep only to awaken several times during the night may also suffer from other health conditions. Cardiac patients, especially those diagnosed with congestive heart disease, may awaken as a result of fluid build-up in the lungs and kidneys. Defective heart valves and deficient pumping cause the lungs to become awash in fluid, resulting in hacking coughs and a feeling of suffocation. Both symptoms can awaken an individual from a sound rest. And because congestive heart failure patients may also suffer from weak kidneys, they can easily be abruptly awakened by an overactive bladder and the urge to urinate frequently, as much as four to five times a night.
An insomnia sleep disorder can also be caused by psychological and emotional problems, such as stress, poor dietary habits, prescription drugs, substance abuse, or environmental factors. Stress in the workplace or at home can cause individuals to worry and become overly anxious. Some insomniacs complain about not being able to "shut off" their minds at bedtime. Worry and apprehension about the job, mounting unpaid bills, health issues, or an uncertain future can cause insomniacs to fill the mind with thoughts of gloom and doom, creating a hostile environment for rest. The stress of losing a loved one, relocating to a different city, or being up for a much needed promotion can all cause sleeplessness. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8).
Eating or drinking too close to bedtime can also cause adults and children to stay awake all night long and develop insomnia sleep disorder. Alcoholic beverages can over-stimulate the senses, while some prescription drugs have the same effect and should be taken earlier in the day, at least two to three hours before retiring. Illegal drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine, and even cigarettes are "uppers," which make users feel emotionally high. Once in the body, the effect of barbiturates and other mood-altering substances deprive individuals of the ability to rest normally and peacefully. Drinking water or alcohol over-works the bladder and can cause individuals to awaken repeatedly to urinate excessively.
While some people watch television to aid in falling asleep, certain programs cause sleeplessness. An insomnia sleep disorder may be a direct result of watching the eleven o'clock news. Individuals who become emotionally engaged in distressing reports about the economy or a nearby robbery or murder may unwittingly open the door to all kinds of stressors. It is difficult to turn off internal emotions associated with hearing and seeing bad news. Individuals may try to relax, but the mind is still processing facts and figures of a murder case, whether fact or fiction. "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet" (Proverbs 3:24). Doctors may recommend retiring with a good book, or studying the Bible in order to prepare the mind for a good night's rest. An old fashioned remedy for sleeplessness is drinking a warm glass of milk about thirty minutes before retiring. The warm milk contains tryptophan, a chemical which aids in relaxation.
Nearly every kind of insomnia sleep disorder can be cured through cognitive therapy, nutrition and exercise, or rehabilitative treatment. Retraining patients on how to think positively about negative situations or emotions helps them learn how to relax and let go. The goal of therapists is to help individuals establish consistent lifestyle patterns which aid in reaching a deep sleep. Going to bed at the same time each night, eating light evening meals to aid in digestion and elimination hours before retiring; prayer, meditation and listening to soothing music helps individuals relax. Listening to soft music or soothing inspirational songs with earphones helps the body relax, the soul to be rejuvenated and the spirit to be ministered to for a good night's rest.
Natural Remedies For InsomniaEffective natural remedies for insomnia run the gamut from herbal teas and warm milk to soft music and aromatherapy. When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, individuals who lie awake all night counting sheep will try just about anything. Home remedies, such as drinking warm milk are effective; however some insomniacs' bedtime battles require professional help. When a lack of nighttime rest becomes problematic, individuals may seek advice from doctors and therapists to determine the cause of sleeplessness. Emotional and physical illness, worry and anxiety about situations at work, in the home, or with family members or friends can trigger restlessness. Money problems can also contribute to an inability to relax and unwind. People who have trouble falling asleep can't seem to let go of the stress and situations of the day. They tend to rehearse and rehash present, past or future events, conversations, and scenarios so much so that the mind cannot release troubling, perplexing or engaging thoughts. And when individuals habitually lose sleep, physical and emotional problems ensue.
Insomnia can lead to irritability, a lack of concentration, an inability to prioritize and complete tasks; and physical ailments caused by anxiety, such as muscle spasms, pain, and teeth grinding. Doctors can rule out physical ailments which might contribute to sleeplessness by conducting studies to monitor the heart rate, rapid eye movement (REM), and sleep patterns. While patients are unconscious, therapists observe REM, snoring, or sleep apnea, a condition which causes individuals to take abnormally long pauses between breaths while dozing. Once physical conditions are ruled out as a source of sleeplessness, doctors may suggest a visit to a behavioral therapist. Psychologists can help individuals learn how to release worry and anxiety and focus on getting a good night's rest. Therapists may also suggest natural remedies for insomnia, which include modifying behavior to facilitate a more conducive atmosphere for prolonged rest.
Behavioral modifications may include relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, to help patients become calm and peaceful prior to retiring. Deep breathing, meditation, and prayer have a soothing effect, as insomniacs learn how to isolate muscle groups and gradually release tension throughout the body and let go of pent up emotions. Prayer and Bible reading take the mind off of the monetary, marital, and mentally challenging problems which can plague an insomniac and disrupt peace of mind. Setting aside a specific time each night to study the Bible or follow a scripture reading plan are natural remedies for insomnia individuals can adapt with ease. Listening to Christian tapes or music also soothes the savage beast of insomnia, softens the heart, and provides reassurance in times of emotional distress or economic woe. "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2).
Effective natural remedies for insomnia also include: avoiding caffeine, developing a ritual, consuming sleep-inducing foods and beverages, de-stressing, using aromatherapy, and setting the stage for a good night's rest. Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in chocolate, coffee and tea; but in order to catch some Zs, coffee and candy lovers should curtail consuming caffeine at least three hours prior to bedtime. During the day, insomniacs should also monitor the number of cups of coffee consumed. Habitually drinking several cups a day could lead to caffeine overload and contribute to chronic sleep deprivation. Individuals should also avoid drinking alcohol near or upon retiring. The dependency on alcoholic beverages or over-the-counter aids can lead to addiction, along with chronic health conditions, such as nervousness, irritability, nightmares, and an inability to naturally fall asleep.
Developing a ritual for nocturnal bliss should include unwinding from the day's activities by creating a distinct division between work and household chores and relaxation. Two to three hours before retiring, put away the papers, put the children to bed, and prepare for the next day. Lay out clothing, pack lunches, and put the car keys where they can be found. By completing tasks for the next morning in advance, individuals can mentally prepare to rest and bring closure to a busy evening. Insomniacs can prepare a perfect environment by de-cluttering the bedroom, rearranging furnishings, and adding new bedding or pillows. Low-cost, natural remedies for insomnia can be as simple as placing the bed on a wall furthest away from household noise, or buying new bedding with lots of plump pillows to burrow into for sweet dreams. Darkening a room also creates a cave-like environment conducive to dozing.
Consuming sleep-inducing foods and drinks, such as herbal teas, milk, or certain carbohydrates can also aid in alleviating sleeplessness. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a natural aid; and some herbal teas and supplements are formulated to induce drowsiness. Other natural remedies for insomnia include aromatherapy and listening to special CDs which lull the body into nighttime oblivion. Health food stores and boutiques sell essential oils and candles, which may be placed on a bedside table to permeate the room with relaxing fragrances. Online shops and department stores offer music or MP3 players with recorded sounds of gentle waterfalls, tropical rainforests, or ocean waves.
Natural remedies for insomnia include setting the stage for a luxuriant evening of nocturnal bliss. Developing a pattern of nighttime pampering could include indulging in a bath with fragrant salts or oils. Insomniacs can create a spa retreat right at home for an atmosphere just right for a restful evening. Place aromatic candles along the bathtub filled with fragrant oils. Dim the lights, lock the door, and listen to soft music while unwinding. Former insomniacs will emerge rested and ready to sleep all night long without interruption. While everyone may have a different preference for falling asleep, the key is to not carry cares and worries of one day over into the next. Individuals should employ natural remedies for insomnia and discover how to release pressures, anxieties, and the frustrations of a twenty-four hour period, one moment at a time. Insomniacs should strive to restore balance, find closure, and learn how to conclude the work of the day to enjoy a peaceful and restful night.