Nowadays, a lot of us have trouble falling asleep – no matter how tired we are! As a consequence, we stay up till late and then the next day at work we keep feeling drowsy and sleepy! The next night it is the same routine again. And this routine goes on and on till our health starts getting affected! So is this a condition normal?
Is there a name for this condition?
Yes, this is called Insomnia
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a condition that results from irregular or disturbed sleep patterns. It might last for a short time or get prolonged over a long period – from one night to a few months! People who suffer from this disorder are called Insomniacs! As fashionable and cool as the name sounds – the condition is just as ghastly! There are many causes and complications to and from Insomnia, but the crux of the matter is – it affects us physically and mentally- very deeply. The quality of life hits a new low for people with insomnia; because they don’t have the energy or vigor for doing or seeing the positivity in anything.
Insomnia might sound like a very simple problem! But its complications are rooted much more deeply. It might result in the following:
- Low level of performance in the work area.
- Loss of alertness during driving a vehicle on the road.
- Lesser awareness of the surroundings.
- Suffering from depression or anxiety.
- Affinity for substance abuse.
Lowered immunity leading to long-term diseases or a condition like high blood pressure.
Types of Insomnia
As discussed. Insomnia can range from a short span to a much longer duration. Hence it is of two types:
Primary insomnia: In this kind of Insomnia, the irregularities of sleep do not originate from a pre-existing health problem. It is usually momentary and short span.
Secondary insomnia: In this kind of Insomnia, the sleep disorder is a direct consequence e of health conditions like
- Chronic arthritis or back pain.
- Psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression.
- Substance use.
- Sleep apnea.
Chronic insomnia might result from certain medical conditions and their medications and last for almost 3 months. However it can be cured easily.
What are the causes of Insomnia?
Causes of primary insomnia include:
- Stress-related to big life events, like losing a job or change of job, the death of a loved one, divorce, or moving to a new place, Travel or work schedule.
- Concerns about, health, finances, or family keeps the mind active at night. This makes sleeping difficult at night.
Disturbances in the surroundings like excessive noise, light, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating, or watching TV, playing video games, on Computers, smartphones, or other screens just before bed Disrupts the normal sleep cycle.
- Disruption in the body’s circadian rhythms (internal clock) due to jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
- Eating a lot and eating very late in the evening cause to feel physically uncomfortable with heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which disrupts sleep.
Causes of secondary insomnia include:
- Mental health disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression which wakes up too early in the morning.
- Medications: Prescribed medicines like antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure, allergies, common cold, and flu may have stimulants that might disrupt sleep. Weight-loss products contain caffeine and other stimulants which might cause insomnia.
- Medical conditions. Conditions like chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease disturb the regular sleep pattern.
- Sleep-related disorders. Sleep apnea interferes with the regular periodic breathing.
- Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs which prevents good sleep.
- Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants, which interfere with regular sleep patterns.
- Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Although initially, Alcohol might help to fall asleep but in the long run it keeps awake in the middle of the night.
- Pain or discomfort at night.
- Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine problems, which cause a hormonal imbalance that interferes with regular sleep.
Insomnia Risk Factors
- Chronic illness.
- Mental health problems.
- Sleepiness during the day.
- Problems with concentration or memory.
- Insomnia, at any age, affects women more than men.
- Complications of insomnia.
Insufficient sleep has a negative effect on health:
Insomnia and anxiety
Insomnia is a major cause of anxiety. Anxiety results from very trivial issues like worrying frequently about issues related to work or your relationships. Although the treatment might be long-term, it can be diagnosed easily through a proper daily routine, healthy lifestyles, and positive conversations.
Insomnia and depression
Insomnia and depression are the cause and effect of each other! They form a vicious circle! One develops insomnia if stressed, and this lack of sleep leads to depression and vice versa.
Insomnia and aging
Insomnia has been seen to affect more with age, as with age, there are:
- Changes in sleep patterns. Sleep often gets compromised with age, by taking a toll on the internal clock and causing more fatigue. This leads to sleeping late than usual and waking up earlier than usual.
- In women, hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle and in menopause may play a major role. Whether night sweats and hot flashes during menopause or pregnancy – sleep is disrupted.
- Changes inactivity. A lack of physical and social activity or an overindulgence in the same, results in less sleep.
- Changes in health. Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems, prostate or bladder problems as well as depression or anxiety might also take away sleep.
- Older people are more prone to medication as compared to younger people; hence their possibility of getting insomnia also increases.
Insomnia in children and teens
Sleep problems are a major concern for children and teens as well, due to a disturbing internal clock, obesity, or pressure in school. They go late to bed and are late to rise!
Ayurvedic Causes of Insomnia:
In Ayurveda, insomnia or”Anidra” or “Nidranasha” is caused due to an imbalance in the three doshas:
It is a Kapha dosha whose job is to nourish the cells of the brain, resulting in a good quality sleep at night. When this dosha is in imbalance, the brain cells stay unnourished causing insomnia.
This is a Vata dosha which is responsible for the sensitivity of the nervous system, and this, together with an aggravated Prana Vayu, causes insomnia, which is also linked to depression, anxiety, and worry.
It refers to a critical imbalance in the Pitta dosha found in the heart. It controls all emotions, spirituality, decisiveness, and desires. Any imbalance creates unrestlessness in the body, leading to insomnia.
The age-old ayurvedic scriptures stress the significance of “Nidra” which is an approximate 7 hours of continuous good sleep – a phase when the minds, sense organs are and body are completely relaxed.
Insomnia might sound scary, but it is treatable with:
- Ayurvedic healing
- Lifestyle changes:
- Developing better sleep habits
- Exercising in the daytime
- Eating a balanced diet
The medications might include prescribed sleeping pills for a while; however, consuming them might interfere with normal functioning and have delirious side effects. Hence, it is recommended to not become dependent on them. Rather focus on the alternative treatment with lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, and Ayurvedic healing.
Ayurveda for Insomnia:
5 Rejuninating and Effective Ayurvedic Remedies to Ensure A good sleeping pattern:
1. Abhyanga (Oil Massage)
Applying stimulating herbal oils like Bhringaraj, Til Taila on the Shira (head) with head massages, boosts blood circulation to the central nervous system and helps overcome sleeplessness. It helps to relieve mental pressure and stress thereby inducing sleep.
2. Draksha (Grapes)
Grapes contain beneficial nutrients, like resveratrol, carotenoid, quercetin antioxidants, and melatonin, which help to get rid of free radicals and cure insomnia.
3. Samvahana (Body Massage)
A full body massage with aromatherapy oils such as almond, rose, jasmine, lavender, and sandalwood and soft materials like silk and fluffy brushes, act with soporific and aphrodisiac characteristics which help to improve the quality of sleep.
4. Ikshu (Sugarcane)
Having foods like Sugarcane or Ikshu which are Madhura(sweet) in taste and a rich source of tryptophan, that forms serotonin – a key neurotransmitter that lowers cortisol levels, stress as well as induces a good mood, good memory, and good quality sleep.
5. Medhya Rasayana (Nootropic Herbs)
Medhya Rasayana is a mixture of assorted herbs like Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Yashtimadhu, Brahmi, Mandukaparni – which rejuvenate the brain and intellect. When consumed before bedtime, its neuroprotective properties get activated which helps to restore normal sleep.
How to identify Insomnia?
Symptoms of Insomnia:
- Waking up very early in the morning
- Disturbed sleep
These symptoms might lead to developing other symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Loss of concentration
- Lesser alertness
- Lower performance at school or work
- Lower libido
- Poor memory
Insomnia is an inconvenient sleeping disorder, which is curable. Since the normal medication might have side effects, hence, Ayurveda is a much safer and better resolution for the same. Good sleep holds a lot of significance in Ayurveda. It leads to Sukha (happiness), Pushti (nourishment), Bala (strength), Vista, Gyaan (knowledge), Jeevita (life). Less sleep on the other hand invites Dukha (unhappiness), Karshyata (emaciation), Abala (weakness), Agyana (impaired wisdom).
The bottom line is, our brain and body require sleep to get recharged and remain active every day, to absorb everything in the surroundings with full consciousness.
It is because Aveda Ayur realizes the importance of good sleep, that it brings Life Aveda range of products – Premium Ashwagandha Capsules and Premium De-Stress, which are a 100% safe unique blend of natural herbs like Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Chamomile! These herbs help to relieve stress and induce good sleep by relaxing the mind and body
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