Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. By definition, insomnia is "difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both" or the perception of poor quality sleep. Insomnia may therefore be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. Insomnia is not defined by a specific number of hours of sleep that one gets, since individuals vary widely in their sleep needs and practices.
Although most of us know what insomnia is and how we feel and perform after one or more sleepless nights, few seek medical advice. Many people remain unaware of the behavioral and medical options available to treat insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
Psychological problems that can cause insomnia: depression, anxiety, chronic stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medications that can cause insomnia: antidepressants; cold and flu medications that contain alcohol; pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin); diuretics, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications.
Medical problems that can cause insomnia: asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, cancer, or chronic pain.
Sleep disorders that can cause insomnia: sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome.
Insomnia treatment can be initiated as soon as the disorder is detected in the individual. Insomnia diagnosis includes a physical examination and evaluation of medical history. Tracking the sleeping patterns and sleep history of the individual can determine weather the person is suffering from sleeplessness. In case of acute insomnia, the patient may not require treatment at all.
If sleepless night are making it difficult for the person to work on the next day, the doctor may prescribe some sleeping pills to cure the same. Use of over-the-counter sleeping pills to treat insomnia should be best avoided, as they are known to have adverse effects on the individual's body. In case of chronic insomnia, the treatment is targeted at the treatment of the underlying conditions. In such a scenario, one commonly used measure is cognitive behavioral therapy.
More importantly, various relaxation techniques, such as meditation, are also known to provide relief from stress, which is an important factor causing insomnia. Other than this, the person may also have to practice sleep restriction therapy. Herbal remedies for insomnia include the use of herbs like chamomile and Valerian root to treat sleep deprivation. Insomnia in toddlers should only be treated by medications prescribed by the doctor. Over-the-counter medications should never be used on children.
Home Remedies for Insomnia
Drink chamomile tea, lobelia tea or peppermint tea before going to bed as it is good home remedy for insomnia. You can also drink chamomile tea with 1.5 tbsp. honey and a bit of milk. It works, even for kids.
Orange flower can be put in warm water with little sugar as it is the best home remedy for insomnia. Tea made with orange leaf or juice of orange mixed with honey is considered effective to get helpful situation.
Mix 2 tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Drink the mixture at night before going to bed. It is helpful to get a sound sleep. This remedy is also helpful for children as they can be given half a spoon of honey with a glass of water.
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