Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms, And Ayurvedic Treatment


By NS Desk 15-Jan-2021


Insomnia is called a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go. Acute insomnia lasts from 1 night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. Here you'll get to know all the things about insomnia and you'll get the solution from here.

Types of Insomnia

There are two types of Insomnia:
Primary Insomnia: This form of lack of sleep arises due to excessive traveling, physical or emotional stress, or demanding work schedules and is a distinct illness of its own.

Secondary Insomnia: The main factors triggering this variant of insomnia include side effects stemming from other underlying neurological or mental ailments, as well as from long-term medications. Insomnia prompts signs of lethargy, persistent yawning, weakness, irritability, and lack of concentration, thereby negatively influencing personal relationships, professional commitments, and hampering a person’s productivity.

Causes of Insomnia

Causes of primary insomnia include:

  • Things around you like noise, light, or temperature
  • Stress-related to big life events, like a job loss or change, the death of a loved one, divorce, or moving
  • Changes to your sleep schedule like jet lag, a new shift at work, or bad habits you picked up when you had other sleep problems.

Causes of secondary insomnia include:

  • Caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol use
  • Pain or discomfort at night
  • Medications for colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma
  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome
  • Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine problems

Insomnia Symptoms

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Grumpiness
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness during the day

Insomnia Risk Factors

Insomnia affects women more than men and older people more than younger ones. Young and middle-aged African Americans also have a higher risk.

  • Other risk factors include:
  • Mental health issues
  • Long-term illness
  • Working night shifts or shifts that rotate

Insomnia Diagnosis

Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your medical history and sleep history. They might tell you to keep a sleep diary for a week or two, keeping track of your sleep patterns and how you feel during the day. They may talk to your bed partner about how much and how well you’re sleeping. You might also have special tests at a sleep center.

Insomnia Complications

Our bodies and brains need sleep so they can repair themselves. It’s also crucial for learning and keeping memories. If insomnia is keeping you awake, you could have:

  • A higher risk of health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, and depression
  • Grumpiness
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble focusing
  • A higher risk of falling, if you’re an older woman
  • Slow reaction time that can lead to a car crash

Insomnia Prevention

Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you beat insomnia. Here are some tips:

  • Go to sleep at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning. Try not to take naps during the day, because they may make you less sleepy at night.
  • Don’t use phones or e-books before bed. Their light can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. 
  • Alcohol can make you wake up in the middle of the night and hurt your sleep quality.
  • Get regular exercise. Try not to work out close to bedtime, because it may make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest exercising at least 3 to 4 hours before bed.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable: dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If the light is a problem, use a sleeping mask. To cover up sounds, try earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. But a light snack before bedtime may help you sleep.
  • Follow a routine to relax before bed. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.
  • If you tend to lie awake and worry about things, make a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you put your concerns aside for the night.
  • If you can't fall asleep and aren’t drowsy, get up and do something calming, like reading until you feel sleepy.
  • Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep and sex.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Insomnia

Changing your sleep habits and addressing any issues that may be associated with insomnia, such as stress, medical conditions, or medications, can restore restful sleep for many people. If these measures don't work, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, or both, to help improve relaxation and sleep.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can help you control or eliminate negative thoughts and actions that keep you awake and is generally recommended as the first line of treatment for people with insomnia. Typically, CBT-I is equally or more effective than sleep medications.

The cognitive part of CBT-I teaches you to recognize and change beliefs that affect your ability to sleep. It can help you control or eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake. It may also involve eliminating the cycle that can develop where you worry so much about getting to sleep that you can't fall asleep.

The behavioral part of CBT-I helps you develop good sleep habits and avoid behaviors that keep you from sleeping well. Strategies include, for example:

Stimulus control therapy- This method helps remove factors that condition your mind to resist sleep. For example, you might be coached to set a consistent bedtime and wake time and avoid naps, use the bed only for sleep and sex, and leave the bedroom if you can't go to sleep within 20 minutes, only returning when you're sleepy.

Sleep restriction- This therapy decreases the time you spend in bed and avoids daytime naps, causing partial sleep deprivation, which makes you more tired the next night. Once your sleep has improved, your time in bed is gradually increased.

Relaxation techniques- Progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, and breathing exercises are ways to reduce anxiety at bedtime. Practicing these techniques can help you control your breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, and mood so that you can relax.

Remaining passively awake- Also called paradoxical intention, this therapy for learned insomnia is aimed at reducing the worry and anxiety about being able to get to sleep by getting in bed and trying to stay awake rather than expecting to fall asleep.

Light therapy- If you fall asleep too early and then awaken too early, you can use light to push back your internal clock. You can go outside during times of the year when it's light outside in the evenings, or you can use a lightbox. Talk to your doctor about recommendations.

Your doctor may recommend other strategies related to your lifestyle and sleep environment to help you develop habits that promote sound sleep and daytime alertness.

Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.