All About INSOMNIA

When speaking  about  health   today,  changing  lifestyle  and the  ever increasing  amount of  stress  is  the  main concern becoming  the  root cause  of  all health issues. The frantic  pace  of  life has  an enormous  impact  on us. Fortunately, the  human  body  is  very  adaptive and  many  of  the unwanted  stimuli/events  can  be  filtered  away…. But  stress gets  to all ultimately  and  disrupts  the normal adaptive mechanism and prevents normal  function. The  first  indicative parameter  of  a normally functioning  body  is  Sleep. “Sleep is as vital as sunshine or food or the air we breathe. some of the most important processes like repair, rejuvenation, detoxification, growth and balance  occur  during  deeper stages  of  sleep. Lack  of  sound  sleep indicates ill health”- Luke Countinho (wellness &  lifestyle  coach)

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Insomnia  is  defined  as:  Subjective  perception of difficulty  with  sleep  initiation, duration, consolidation  or  quality  that  occurs  despite  adequate  opportunity  for  sleep  and  that  results  in some  form  of  daytime  impairment.

Insomnia  is  a  fairly  common sleep complaint  characterized  by  presence  of  the  following:

  1. A hard  time  initiating  sleep
  2. Struggling  to  maintain  sleep-  frequent  waking  during the  night
  3. Waking  up too early  and  inability  to go  back  to  sleep.
  4. Non  restorative  or  poor  quality  sleep.

The  vitally  important  function  of  sleep  is  based  upon  the  inner  biological  requirement  to   insert  periods  of  pause  into  our  psycho-physical  life cycle. Sleep  and  wakefulness are  governed  by  two  parallel  systems:  the  arousal  system and  the  sleep  system. For  sleep  to  occur,  the  arousal  system  should  subside. Chronic  Insomniacs  tend  to  have  an   overcharged/ overactive  arousal  system-  resulting  in  increased  periods  of  wakefulness  with  broken,   fragmented  and  unsatisfying  sleep.

COMMON CAUSES AND  SYMPTOMATOLOGY

Insomnia  is  caused  due  to  a  myriad  of  biological,  psychological  and  social  factors.

Anxiety, pain, habit  consumption  of  stimulants  like  alcohol/tea/coffee,  over  exposure  to  electronic  gadgets,  uncomfortably  bedding, noisy  surroundings, excitement, hunger….. to be  frank  any  and  every  stimulus  has  possibility  of  making  the  individual  loose  sleep  and  hence  the  subjective  understanding  of  each  patient  is  essential  in  making  the  diagnosis.

The  ICSD-2  classifies  insomnia  into  8 subtypes. What  is  important  is  to  understand  the  causes  and  effects  of  this  disorder rather  than  the  nosology.

Insomnia  is  considered  a  disorder  only  when  it  causes  significant  amount  of  distress  or  anxiety  or  when  it  results  in  daytime  impairment.

A  higher  rate  is  now  seen  in  young  and  middle  ages  along  with  elderly.  Insomnia  is  quite  commonly  related  to  psychiatric  illnesses  more  commonly  Anxiety  disorders  and  mood  disorders.  Also  individuals  with  a  long  standing  medical  condition  show  insomnia prevalence  either  due  to  the  condition  itself  or  due  to  the  medication.

Common  effects (these  usually  are  the  presenting  symptoms  of  consultation): fatigue,  moodiness,  irritability/ anger, lack  of  concentration,  poor  memory,  poor  quality  of  performance, lack  of  energy/ enthusiasm, anxiety  about  sleep,  frequent  headaches/stomach  upsets/  such  other  recurring  physical  symptoms.

Insomnia  is  a  disorder  that  is  Psycho- Somatic (i.e affecting  mind  and  body)  at  level  of  causes  as  well  as  effects.

VARIOUS TREATMENT METHODS

Insomnia  is  a  public  health  problem.

This  disorder  is  primarily  diagnosed  by  clinical  evaluation  through  a  detailed  sleep  history,  detailed  medical  and  psychiatric  history. People  with  insomnia  often  misjudge  the  amount  of  sleep  they  get  each  night.  A  ‘sleep  diary’  is  an  effective way  of  estimation  of  the  sleeping  hours  and  pattern. While  assessing  a  probable  insomniac,  both  the  duration  and  quality  of  sleep needs  to  be  considered.

The  goals  of  treatment:

#1  a. improve  sleep  quality  and  quantity

  1. improve insomnia  related  daytime  impairments/ issues

#2  a. forming  a  positive  and  clear  link between  sleeping  and  sleeping  environment (eg. Bed)

  1. improve sleep  related  psychological  distress.

Psychological  and  behavioural  interventions  are  very  effective  in  treatment  of  chronic insomnia. Initial  approaches  of  treatment  usually  include  behavioural  intervention  therapies  or  cognitive  therapies. The  combined  approach  is  highly  favoured  due  to  its  success:  Cognitive  Behaviour  therapy for insomnia

CBT-I

Cognitive  therapy→ changing  attitudes  and  beliefs  that  hinder  sleep

Relaxation  training

Sleep  hygiene  training→ correcting  bad  habits  that  contribute  to  poor  sleep

Behaviour  intervention  techniques.

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Pharmacological  treatments  in  conventional  medicine  are  also  available,  but  popping  the  sleeping  pill  is  not  always  a  very  effective  solution  as  it  fails  to solve  the  underlying  problem.

 

HOMOEOPATHY  AND  INSOMNIA

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Homoeopathy  is  the  healing art  that  gives  a  lot  of  importance  to  the  underlying  cause   of  any  problem.  Prescription  of  the  homoeopathic  remedy  largely  depends  on  the  identification  of  cause  of  problem based  on its  presenting  symptoms. Homoeopathy, thus,  reflects  on  both  sides  of  the  Cause=Effect  equation  and  is  a  successful  modality  in  treatment  of  the widespread  new  age  psychosomatic disorders  such  as  insomnia.

Just  to  consider  the  symptom  ‘Sleeplessness  or  insomnia’  we  have  about  300 homoeopathic  remedies  that  can  be  considered. The  brilliance  of  homoeopathy is  that  each  minute  detail  the patient  provides  further  classifies  and  clarifies  the  search  for  the  exact remedy  that  is  needed  for  the  patient… this provides  a  subjectivity  to  the  treatment – what  we can  call  tailored  to perfection. (this  is the  exact  reason why  homoeopaths  ask  so  many  questions. Every  minute  detail  amplifies  the  individual  aspect  of  the  complaints)

The  beauty  of  homoeopathy  is  that  we  have  a medicine  for  every  kind  of  sleeplessness  and  for  every  kind  of  impairment  arising  due  to  that  sleeplessness;  and  hence  it  is  necessary  to  consult  an  expert  homoeopath  who  would  analyse  the  issue  and  provide  with  a most  feasible  solution (rather  than  relying on  heresay  over the  counter  medication -which  act  only in a limited  manner)

 

LIFESTYLE CHANGE  TIPS

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With  shifting  focusses  on  career  and  changing  mindsets  regarding  self  growth,  the  most important  treatment  modality  in  any  psycho somatic  disturbance  is  necessary  changes  in  lifestyle. When  considering  insomnia,  modification  of  sleep  habits  is  the most essential  change  one  needs  to  make. Maintaining  a  healthy  sleeping  schedule, avoidance  of  use  of  electronics  and  gadgets  around  scheduled  sleep time,  reducing (or  completely  discontinuing) consumption  of  stimulants, managing good  meal  timings,  etc  become  basic  necessities to  initiate  good  sleeping  hygiene.

Utilizing  breathing  techniques  and  meditation  for  purpose  of  mind  body  relaxation is  a very  valuable  way  of  regulating  effects  of  stress. A lot of self help books and videos are readily available to us for the purpose of initiating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One should not feel any embarrassment or shyness to ask for expert help.

The  key  to  wellness  is  balanced  nutrition, exercise, adequate  sleep and  emotional stability. Integration  of  these  into  our  lifestyle  needs  some  Vitamin-E(effort) from  our  side.

“Lets  build  wellness  rather  than  treating  diseases.”

-Dr. Apoorva Deshpande

M.D.(Homoeopathy), M.S( counselling & psychotherapy), MA( clinical psychology)

Consulting  homoeopath, psychologist  and  counsellor

@  Nachiket Clinic- Homoeopathy & Counselling

Contact: 9970949513

Email: drapoorvadeshpande@gmail.com

 

 

 

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