Insomnia Meaning or Definition
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up.
Sleeping is the natural healing process of our body and mind. Proper sleep of 7 to 9 hours not only contributes to our health and well-being but also boosts our energy for a productive day ahead. Insomnia or sleep deprivation is one of the rising concerns of a hectic lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Keeping awake all night or being unable to fall asleep creates lethargy and can lead to serious health issues in the long term.
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Over the years, doctors have recommended various treatments for people experiencing insomnia. Proper diet, exercise, yoga, meditation are a few of the natural remedies for insomnia. Herbs and herbal products are widely popular in treating insomnia and encouraging quality sleep by soothing the nerves.
The reason behind insomnia
Studies show insomnia being a common occurrence nowadays in a large percentage of adults as well as children. Good sleep can be affected by an imbalanced lifestyle, sleeping disorders, chronic medical conditions, mental health, and a variety of other factors. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol contribute to insufficient sleep and unwanted energy at night. Although cortisol is crucial for our daily activities, it lowers down by the evening, and our body secretes melatonin which regulates our sleep cycle.
The benefit of herbs in curing insomnia:
Treatment of Insomnia:
Herbs contain oils and other compounds that possess sleep-enhancing properties. Certain herbs help digestion, pain alleviation, and soothe the mind from stress and anxiety. If you are an insomniac, you can easily rely on these herbs.
- Valerian: Valerian is one of the most popular herbs used for years. The valeric acid in the roots of this plant breaks down the neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) that prevents impulses between brain cells. It produces a calming sensation leading to better sleep and reduces nervous anxiousness. Valerian is available as a dietary supplement and also as a tea.
- Chamomile: The chamomile flower produces essential oils and the antioxidant apigenin that relaxes anxiety. It contains flavonoids that soothe the nerves. Chamomile tea eases digestion and helps in improving the quality of sleep.
- Nutmeg: It is a spice made from the seeds of Myristica fragrans. Both the Indonesian and the Western Herbal Medicine declare nutmeg beneficial in calming the mind and helping fall asleep. While excessive doses can be toxic, 1/8 to 1/4 tablespoons of nutmeg in warm milk can be a good solution for insomnia.
- Passionflower: It contains flavonoids that de-stresses the nerves and help in proper sleep. Researches often suggest that we can observe higher benefits of passionflower in combination with valerian.
- Aswagandha: Its tonic root reduces long-lasting stress and enhances the cognitive capabilities of our mind. It reduces nerve impulses by calming the neurotransmitter system. Hence, it reduces the cortisol level and improves sleep quality, protecting the brain cells from damage due to stress or anxiety. You can take around 300 mg twice a day to boost your sleeping.
- Hops: It is highly effective in treating insomnia as the flower contains methylbutenol that has sleep-inducing qualities. The flower produces a strong aroma but is usually bitter, so it is better to mix it with chamomile tea while brewing.
- Lavender: This herb is a popular remedy for anxiety and depression, helping to provide you a calm and relaxing sleep. It is rich in essential oils, and on average, you can consume around 20 to 80 mg per day.
- Mint: Mint tea reduces bloating problems that might keep you awake at night. The herb also acts in relaxing nerve muscles and helps you fall asleep after a long day.
- Wild Lettuce: It is beneficial in curing mild insomnia, especially in children. It is homeopathic medicine to reduce anxiety and contains lactucarium fluid having sedative properties.
- Holy Basil: It is effective in fighting sleeping disorders and eases stress. It contains adaptogens that deal with the anxious mind and encourage a healthy mental state.
- California Poppy: This herb is specific to the USA and Mexico. It has analgesic properties that help in alleviating pain and inducing sleep. You can get the benefits of using poppy-infused oil in massaging your body. The bright orange leaves also serve as a flavored tea.
Ways you can use the herbs:
Generally, there is no best time or best way to use these herbs. You can consume the herbs in whichever way is suitable for you. The most common form is herbal tea. It is safe to enjoy two to three cups of herbal teas daily. To get a night of proper sleep, add a few teaspoons to boiling water and enjoy the tea right before going to bed.
Massaging is another option. You can combine the herb-essential oils with olive or coconut oil and apply them to your forehead, neck, chest, and other areas. You can also inhale the fragrance of the herb oils through steam. It can be helpful for instant relaxation and preparing your mind to sleep. If you plan to use herbal extract supplements from the pharmacy stores, carefully read the dosage instructions.
What are the side effects? Are herbs more beneficial than using sleeping pills?
Herbs are natural remedies for treating insomnia. Plant-based products are usually safe with hardly any side effects. Using drugs, sleeping pills, and other medications can cure insomnia only in the short term. What is worse is that you can get overly dependent and addicted to these measures that might harm you in the future. Severe insomnia often requires higher doses of medications having numerous side effects such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, and other underlying issues. So it cannot be a sustainable solution.
Using herbs is undoubtedly the better option. Doctors nowadays are relying a great deal on herbal products for treatments. However, some herbs might produce mild side effects. Bali red vein kratom is an important herb to treat restlessness but is capable of damaging the liver. Other herbs might cause mild nausea, headaches, or allergic reactions, but nothing too concerning. If you have a particular condition, it is preferable to check with your doctor once before using any herb.
Insomnia destroys the physical and mental functioning of the body. Compared to natural sleepers, insomniacs are prone to more health risks and low quality of everyday life. If you struggle to fall asleep, look for a healthier way out and try using these herbs.
FAQ’s About Insomnia
How does insomnia affect your quality of life?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can sap your energy level and mood and your health, work performance, and quality of life.
What are the symptoms and treatment of insomnia?
Insomnia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and staying asleep.
How is insomnia defined in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s ICSD-3 manual, insomnia is defined as “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality.”. Insomnia has many potential contributing factors and symptoms, but its diagnosis hinges on two essential components: sleep difficulties.
What causes people to have sleep maintenance insomnia?
Sleep maintenance insomnia refers to difficulty staying asleep after initially nodding off. This type of insomnia is common in elderly sleepers and people who consume alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco before bed. Certain disorders like sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder can also cause sleep maintenance insomnia.