Articles on insomnia


Dr. Sanjay Tambe, Homeopath
Insomnia literally means sleeplessness, a state in which an individual is unable toenjoy a sound and restful sleep. It is a condition with which majority ofparticularly the educated mass is suffering from in recent time.Sleep is one of the most essentialfactors necessary to maintain a harmonious functioning of the constitution,which is composed of mind and body. Sound sleep offers an opportunity to thebody and mind to get refreshed by releasing the tension, accumulated the dayprior and enabling the individual to once again get ready to face theenvironmental onslaughts, keeping physiological functioning within normallimits, It is for this reason adequate sound sleep of about six hours, is asmuch necessary as food, water and air to maintain a good health. Nowadays, during the time of so calledmodernization, the living of an individual is becoming more and more mechanicaland competitive right form the day he is born till the day of his death.  Day in and day out, he or she is exposed tovarious forms of painful as well as pleasureful experiences, both of themhaving their corresponding effects on the mind and body. In, this competitiveworld every individual feels that he or she posses all the, rights, capabilityand privileges to achieve the maximum. It is a pity that very few understandtheir own limitation. A healthy competition byitself is a good phenomenon butwhen it becomes unhealthy which is the usual case, it leads to undeservingdemands and wants, one tries his or her level best to achieve these fabricatedand hypothecated goals. Many a time s each and every want, is difficult andsometimes beyond reach, to achieve, thus leading to States of f restoration,disappointment, mental agony and a feeling of defeat. All these states thoughtfactual are difficult to accept, gradually thy get buried in our subconsciousmind in the form of unresolved conflicts. After a Cretan period when they crossa threshold, they are expressed, initially through mind in various form ofvarious forms of illusions, delusions, or disturbed mental function and lateronthrough body in the form of a number of stress symptoms. All of these disturbedmental and physical state ultimately resulting disturbed sleep. Mental worrieswither factual or temperamental, brooding tendencies as in introverts, fears,anxieties etc. also considered to be wish fulfilling penomenonal experiences byan individual. But when a particular wish or demand is not fulfilled inreality, thy are seen in modified forms as dreams. Hence, dreams also becomeone of prominent reason for reducing the depth of sleep.In addition to these, there are number ofphysical expressions like itching, pain, burning etc. Which are usually morefelt at night, disturb sleep. Thus, we have seen that Insomnia or sleeplessnessis not a disease by itself, rather it is an expression of disturbedConstitutionmay be at mental or physical level.EFFECTSOF SLEEPLESSNESDisturbed sleep or lack of sleep as, isof no much value, It is the repercussions of these, whether on mind or on thebody which makes it worth considering whenever an individual is devoid itnormal quota of sleep it expresses itself in the disturbance of variousphysiological functioning of the constitution. The most common beingirritability, hypersensitivity, undue worries, fears, nervousness, headache,gastric disturbances like acidity, constipation, bodyach, urinary complaintetc. Majority of these symptoms are temporary and short lasting but ifsleeplessness continues for a prolong period then they develop in tofull-fledged chronic disease involving different target organs.MANAGEMENT  To begin with a detailed life history of thepatient is taken so as to assess the factors which disturb sleep.I.  GENERAL MANAGEMENT:  (a)    Appropriate psychotherapy , diet along withregularization of modes of living are advised .Attempts are made to either reduce or avoid  factor’s (mentalas well as physical)Whichdisturb natural sleep to come.(b)    Exercise light freehand exercises, Early morning walk,yogasana, or Tub bath must be encouraged. At the time of going to sleepthoroughly relaxing the muscles of the body is to practice with shavasan..(c)     Drinking aglass of hot milk just before going to bed is advised which may a help toinitiate a good sleep.(d)   In some cases reading material of interest issuggested before going to bed so as to divert the trains of thought inhibitingsleep to venture(e)     Never getAnxious about sleep before going to bedMEDICINAL TREATMENTMedicines must be resorted to only incases when the above measures/step fail to yield desired results. Inhomoeopathy there is no specific remedy like Tranquilizers to induce sleep,Ofcourse there are a number of drugs which do help in bringing about normalsleep provided they are selected on the basis of total number of characteristicsymptoms form which the patient suffer. They are administered on the principleslaid down by the master. Nevertheless. The commonly indicated remedies forsleep disorders may be enlisted as under –Pulsatilla,, kali phos, Ignation, Coffeatosta,  Ammo valer ,Aquilegia, Daph ind .Mother tinctures like passiflora, piscidiaand Bach flower remedies like Scleranthus White chestnut.Finally, it will be not be out of place tocaution that sleep must never be induced with the help of any medicine withouttackling the fundamental cause. The resion being it is one of the expressions,which indicate the physician in regard to the dept of the diseased contitution.If such a mistake is done and sleeps is brought about with the help oftraqulisor or even with the so-called homoeopathic specifics then the case willbecome more complicated and difficult to cure.Dr. Sanjay TambeMD - Homeopathy , FNAHI , PGNAHIHomeopathic Doctor31 Years Experience

Beat Insomnia - Get Your Peace Back

Dr Vikas Khanna, Hypnotherapist
He is looking at the clock repeatedly, feeling more and more frustrated as the time passes as how it is getting late and her effort to sleep is going in vain.Effort? can anyone put an effort for something which is a self programmed function of the body -mind complex?Does one put an effort to breathe, make the heart beat or digest food?Try doing this at home. Try putting a conscious effort to digest your food, be aware of it entering the food pipe and the stomach and then liver metabolizing it. You will end up with indigestion!Effort is interfering instead with something which is automatic!So your struggle to sleep is the biggest reason why you are unable to sleep!Do not try to sleepOne should have courage to wait for the body to tune itself back during a temporary phase of insomnia due to some stressful/emotionally challenging situation.One's continued stressful approach in life or excessive seeking for stimulation all the time may have finally resulted in the overworked nervous system being so stressed that it now has difficulty in tuning itself off.There are people who have not slept at all in their entire lives, but there daily activities are not hampered at all, soGet rid of these conditioning that shortage of sleep will have an ill effect on the body, though difficult, if you let go of this you will be happily surprised to know that this conditioning or belief was creating most of the bodily symptoms!Chronic insomnia which has developed after a traumatic emotional experience may need a help from a professional like counselor or a hypnotherapist.Sedatives decrease the brain activity by depressing the C. N. S, making one lethargic/drowsy with reduced mental efficiency and host of other side effects.The induced sleep is more of non REM type (REM is supposed to be a deeper and more refreshing phase and is characterized by rapid eye movement)Drug resistance develops soon and the dose gradually increases and so does the dependance and its withdrawal symptoms. And finally one must realize that they are not the cureSo it is better to take them as as a one-off thing, at times of acute distress or urgent need to sleep.Some other tips which are of secondary help.1. Do not keep a clock/watch with you in your bed room.2. Avoid heavy dinner or supper, keep your digestion in check.3. Do not immediately go to sleep after dinner.4. Avoid caffeine based drinks esp coffee or if you must have it, take it before evening.5. Try putting off gadgets like mobiles, T. V, games, magazines etc.Lastly in a nutshell, do not get overworked if there is reduced or delayed sleep, that will act as a stressor which will prevents sleep, have the courage so as to not to sleep at all. Do not anticipate tomorrows after-effects. Surrender to the intelligence of your body, it will take care of it.

Insomnia & Sleep Hygiene

Dr. Suhasini Das, Psychiatrist
Sleep is an important component of our daily activities. It not only provides rest to our conscious mind, it is also the 'repair-time' for the body. Adequate sleep is essential for optimal functioning of the mind and body, especially those tasks that involve our cognitive resources like attention and concentration, learning and memory. Newborn infants can spend 16 to 18 hours per day in sleeping in early months of growth which decrease to 6 to 8 hours per day over years. However, with increasing studies, work pressure and responsibilities, we somewhere end up compromising on our sleep which then can have long term effects. Insomnia or difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep is a common sleep disorder that is encountered very frequently. It can lead to daytime drowsiness, irregular sleep patterns, difficulty in attention and concentration, irritability, use of alcohol to fall asleep, night-time eating behaviours and overall decrease performance and productivity.Insomnia can be the primary disorder or it can be the manifestation of underlying psychiatric illness like depression (most common), anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, schizophrenia or due to substance use like alcohol, cannabis, cocaine etc. At times, insomnia can be due to certain medical conditions too.What is sleep hygiene?Sleep hygiene basically means doing activities that will help in maintaining sound sleep and full daytime alertness. Before starting any medication for insomnia, it is important that we have a good sleep hygiene. Some of the tips are mentioned below:DOs:Maintain regular sleep timingsMaintain regular exercise schedule Give yourself an hour to wind up before going to bedIf you are preoccupied with something, write it down on a paper and deal with in the morningKeep the bedroom quiet, dark and comfortable.DON'Ts:Avoid afternoon napsExercise just before sleep to wear yourself outEat heavy meal just before sleepDrink coffee or tea at nightSmoke cigarettesWatch television or laptop if you cannot get sleepUse alcohol to fall asleepEat in bedTalk on the phoneWatch the clock If all the above points are followed meticulously, you will notice a significant improvement in your insomnia. If however, your insomnia is chronic or lasting more than 1 month, it is advised that you seek professional help rather than self-medicating. It is also advised not take any sleeping pills without recommendation of doctor as side-effects like drowsiness, dependency, rebound irritability can develop on long-term use without proper guidance. 

Insomnia - the Easiest Cure Forever!

Dr. Sachin Deshmukh, Psychologist
Reason of Insomnia is unnecessary alertness in bed. The body obeys the commands coming from the mind!Naturally, when it is your sleeping time, the brain secrets hormones for enhancing sleep. You must have observed many people falling asleep even without their own noticing. The body obeys the commands coming from the mind. It relaxes, eyes start shutting and the person passes in the sleeping state. Sensing Insecurity Makes You Alert!Insecurity like disturbing sound from kitchen, will make you become alert. The sleep will run away. You will find out the reason for the insecurity. once satisfied that the insecurity is taken care of, you will fall asleep.Flight Or Fight Response!Let us understand what happened when insecurity was noticed by your brain and mind. Orders were passed to the body to become ready to fight or flight. This process involved stimulation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system. Your body got tense from head to toe to combat the insecurity. Once the insecurity was turned into security, the alarming messages to the sympathetic nervous system were stopped. The peaceful parasympathetic nervous system started working again. It brought peace on your body from head to toe. Then the time bound sleep just occurred effortlessly.Memories Of Anxious Moments!Every person has memories of some bad and anxious moments. Thoughts arise from memories. Obviously the thoughts are regarding how to avoid such situations in future. They bring sense of insecurity to mind and body. Automatically, as a response to insecurity alertness is produced in mind and body. This process makes sleep run away. These insecurities are arising from memories of the past getting projected in future. There is nothing to be done actively in present tense. Only number of plannings can be done. As the insecurity is not in the present tense, nothing can be done to undo it at this moment. Everything can be done only in the coming future. Unnecessary Plannings!These plannings are unnecessary. You have experienced the escape plan from such situations already. The escape plan is registered in your memory just like driving memories. You will drive the car automatically when you sit in driving seat. Similarly you will use the escape plan in a still better way automatically if the situations repeat.Thoughts Don't Need Attention Or Manipulations! Still the thoughts will keep on coming. But now you know that they don't need attention or manipulations. Now you won't stop and scrutinize them. So they will just flow. The thoughts are never to be taken seriously. They are just messenger letters from mind. You can't change the matter in the letters. It has no meaning. You need to address mind, and not the thoughts. Ignore thoughts, concentrate on mind. Divert and involve it in the present tense objects near you. The Trick To Fall asleep!The trick to fall asleep is to bring your attention from the imaginary thoughts to the factual present. You have your body, a pillow, bed sheet, bed, cot, book, television, wife, husband, etc to experience in detail. Feel them in detail. You will not even notice when you fell asleep. Your partner will tell you in the morning about your heavy snoring.Anxiety, Panic Attacks And Depression Has Cure By Creating New Mind!Smile my dear friends. Mind has been demystified. We know the definition, creation and manipulation of mystic mind now. It works on the science of creation, manipulation and retrieval of memories. Mind can be changed and recreated with scientific planning for bringing peace from anxiety, panic and depression. See you soon with other psychosomatic issues and their easy remedies.

How to Make Sure You Get Adequate Sleep by Following "Sleep Hygiene"

Dr. Anjendra R Targe, Psychiatrist
We all know the importance of sleep. Increasing amount of research shows how lack of sleep impacts physical & mental health. Sleep deprived persons are more likely to commit mistakes at work, be irritable, prone to accidents. Sleep deprivation can lead to adverse cognitive effects, with poor academic performance, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, and subsequently can lead to chronic problems like Depression, Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, and so on. Chronic sleep deprivation also leads to decreased immunity resulting in frequent episodes of sickness (e.g., flu, digestive problems)To make sure you keep this modern day scourge of Insomnia away, practice what is called as "Sleep Hygiene" by practicing the following simple steps.Your bed should be used only for sleeping, and not for eating, watching television, surfing on the internet, and the likes.The room should be sufficiently dark to augment the process of natural production of melatonin in your body (which happens at night, and light disrupts it, and hence the circadian rhythm).Sleep in soft, comfortable clothing.Avoid daytime napping, if you have problems with sleep at night.Avoid stimulants such as  caffeine, nicotine after 5pm.Alcohol, which is a CNS depressant may lead you to mistakenly believe that it aids sleep. The fact is that although alcohol may lead you into a sleepy state, it actually disturbs the sleep architecture, thus resulting in poor quality of sleep.Exercise promotes sleep. But avoid heavy workouts in late evenings.Avoid slipping into the bed right after your dinner. Allow yourselves at least a 2 window between dinner and the time you hit the sack.Your dinner should be something moderately light, with minimum sugars, but not too light to wake you up with hunger at midnight.Avoid watching/reading anything that is stimulating to the brain, such as, horror shows, melancholic reads, graphic novels.Light soothing music and books can be helpful.Sexual activity also aids sleep.Try and keep your sleeping and waking hours fixed.If you're not able to sleep, don't keep lying in the bed and try and force yourself to sleep. That never helps. Instead, get up, and read something light, write in your diary, or some such activity, before you back for another attempt at sleep.If you have problems with sleep, do not go to sleep with thoughts like, 'will i get some sleep tonight', or 'If I don't get enough sleep tonight, my day tomorrow will be ruined'. These thoughts end up negatively reinforcing insomnia.Lastly do not ever take OTC sleeping pills. Also if you're on any sleep inducing meds, kindly be sure to consult with your prescribing Sleep specialist/Psychiatrist on a regular basis.

6 Simple Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Dr. Era S. Dutta, Psychiatrist
Insomnia is a leading cause of stress amongst most working-class population. It affects mood, work quality, and your overall well-being. If lately you find yourself not sleeping well and are experiencing all of the above mentioned things then here are a few simple tips that you should try- 1. Identify the causeThis is the first and foremost step for solving any problem. Try to ask yourself some basic questions like- Is there something on your mind which is bothering you now more than earlier? e.g. Stress can often make you feel anxious and make it difficult for you to fall sleep.2. Tire yourself out physicallyIt is good to regularly practice some form of physical activity during the day e.g. exercise, yoga, etc. It helps you to fall asleep more easily. It also helps you to get better quality of sleep.3. Do not go to bed on an empty stomach It is essential to keep your nutrition up to the mark and never go to bed on an empty stomach. 4. Do not worry about not being able to sleepIt has been scientifically shown that worrying about not being able to sleep actually worsens a person's ability to sleep. People tend to make themselves more nervous about not being able to sleep for adequate hours. By doing so they are more likely to stay awake. It is a vicious circle.5. NO MOBILE PHONES IN BED!You can read a magazine or a book, but the light from the smartphones affects your ability to sleep properly.6. No clock-watchingDo not keep checking the time every few minutes.If despite following these basic steps of sleep hygiene you are unable to get sound sleep, it is best to consult with a psychiatrist who will guide you and help you with curing your insomnia.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Sleep is a an essential physiological function of the human body. Sleep plays a very important function in restoring the wear and tear of daily life and providing the desired rest and restitution to the body and mind. As we grow older, the quality of our sleep may change. When we are younger as in childhood we tend to have more hours of sound sleep but as we  grow older the number of hours we sleep and the quality of sound sleep can deteriorate significantly. Moreover, the demands of work, professional deadlines, travel stress, physical ill health, excessive gadgets usage before bedtime, mental stress, all of these can contribute towards poor sleep! Some of the common sleep problems are difficulty in falling asleep. difficulty in maintaining sleep, sleep disturbances such as bad dreams excessively, night mares, etc, sleeping too less or too much and not feeling fresh after getting up from sleep. In today's life style of travelling across the globe and night shifts can lead to disturbance in our body's natural circadian rhythm which can lead to jet lag, shift work sleep disorder, etc. Poor sleep quality can also be associated with cardiac events and accidents. Poor sleep can make us inattentive , irritable, distracted, restless, sleepy and groggy at our workplace and study place. A person having chronic untreated sleep problems can also have problems with efficiency and work performance.  Insomnia, Hypersomnia, Parasomnia are types of sleep disorders. Certain medical conditions, medications and substances such as alcohol, cannabis, nicotine can also interfere with sleep. Sleep disturbance is also a part of psychiatric disorders such as adjustment disorder, acute stress reaction, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, mania,psychosis, addictions, etc. Children can have bed wetting and night terrors during sleep. I have written some dos and donts which is not a fully comprehensive list, yet can be helpful for getting good sleep.Dos:It is preferable to stop late night use of gadgets, apps, internet, TV viewing if you are having problems in falling asleep. Learn to switch off from all of these everyday at least an hour before you go to sleep. Practice relaxation daily before going to sleep. Deep breathing exercises while lying on your bed with a focus on breathing slowly and being aware of each breath and slowing down your system with use of some positive images in your mind can help in falling asleep.Late Evening prayers can helpful for sleep based on your own belief systems.Eat light meals at bedtime and drinking a cup of warm milk can help in getting sleep.You may add almonds, cashew nuts, saffron, etc based on your preference. Taking a relaxing shower prior to bedtime can help sleep well. Do cut down on daily intake of excessive consumption of sugar, salt, oil,spices in your diet if you are experiencing severe gastrointestinal discomfort while falling asleep and also waking up at night feeling uneasy, bloated, acidity, pain in abdomen, etc.Monitor  daily intake of tea and coffee and cut down intake if you have problems with sleep.Be positive at bedtime. Live for each day to its fullest ! Tell your mind positive self statements at bed time that " Yes, I am doing good! I am doing fine! Things are great! Life has been good to me! I shall conquer all my problems! No need to worry! Things are in control! Situation will get better! I can work something out! Life is beautiful! I am doing well for myself! Things will change for the best! "' These kind of positive statements said to yourself can help you gain  control over negative defeating thoughts which maybe coming in your mind at bedtime while you stare at the ceiling trying to fall asleep at night especially when you are facing difficult stressful times. Try to cut down on smoking and chewing tobacco. Seek professional help for de-addiction from nicotine and tobacco.Try to cut down on alcohol if you are facing problems in sleep  related to alcohol. Seek professional help in quitting alcohol.  Drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, etc have harmful consequences on sleep and mental health. Seek professional help to quit from them.Try to have a fixed schedule of sleeping at the same time and waking up at the same time everyday. Pay attention to your bed room, clean the bed room regularly, keep changing sheets regularly and keep replacing old bed sheets, pillows, pillow covers regularly. Pay attention to the right temperature settings and dress in comfortable night clothes as per your preference.Donts:Do not drink excessive caffeine, tea, stimulant drinks before going to sleep or  late evening if you are having problems falling asleep.Tobacco  can interfere with sleep and avoid smoking or chewing tobacco just before going to bed. Alcohol can interfere with sleep and avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed.Do not indulge in drugs such as cannabis , cocaine, heroin,etc as they interfere with sleep.Do not eat heavy meals or drink too much water just before going to bed.Avoid excessive TV viewing or internet viewing just before going to sleep. Avoid excessive texting and playing online games just before going to sleep.Do not do excessive rigorous exercise  very late evening if u are having a persistent problem in falling asleep  as it can switch on certain neurotransmitters and can interfere in falling asleep for some individuals.Do not use your bed for eating, drinking, studying, watching TV, working/surfing on your lap top. Do not sleep with lights and gadgets on as it can cause sleep interference.Do not think and worry excessively about how was your day, who upset you, why u did this or that and why you shouldn't have done this or that. All these ruminations, worries, anxiety just before going to sleep will certainly affect your sleep. Do not cry or pick up quarrels with others before going to sleep as it will affect your sleep quality.Do not keep getting up and checking the phone, alarm clock or the watch to see what is the time again and again.Do not have a varied sleeping schedule which is very erratic where in one day you sleep at eleven pm the second day at one am and third day at three am. Do not take long hours of nap in the afternoon or evening as it then interferes in falling asleep at night. If despite your best efforts, you are not able to get good sleep, kindly consult a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will screen you for a psychiatric disorder where sleep disturbance may be a predominant symptom such as anxiety disorder, stress related disorder, depression, mania, psychosis, etc. They will assess you and provide you treatment for your sleep problems based on whether you have Insomnia, Hypersomnia or Parasomnia related conditions. After clinically evaluating you, they may suggest some tests, teach you relaxation training, sleep hygiene therapy and psychological therapy targeting the cause of your sleep problems. They may also prescribe you medications for the sleep condition you suffer from.  He/She may also refer you to a Neurologist or  a Sleep Physician as per clinical expertise for conditions such as Sleep Apneas, Nocturnal Epilepsy, Narcolepsy, Restless Leg Syndrome, etc which may need a a comprehensive  evaluation with Sleep Lab based assessments and multidisciplinary interventions.