Sleep disorders are by far the most common disorder known to man .It is surprising that we know so little about sleep and that it is only in the last few years that special units (sleep disorder clinics )have been established to study in depth the variety of sleep disturbance . with the aid of video cameras and EEG’s we now have a far more accurate understanding of the nature of sleep , and it is possible to study with some precision what seems to go wrong . First sleep appears to be a necessary restorative state , both physically and mentally . There are at least six to eight cycles of sleep during one night when the brain appears to change patterns and alternates between deep sleep and light sleep . During light sleep , dreaming occurs although not every one will remember their dreams . Disturbed and altered sleep patterns are both a symptom of and a cause of physical illness . The different types of sleep disturbance include : difficulty getting off to sleep ; waking up during sleep ; waking up tired ; over sleeping ; disturbed dreams ; and night mares ;sleep talking and sleep walking ; snoring and sleep apnoea (a brief cessation of breathing )
- Illness pain, high temperature
- Change in climate , storms
- Change in environment ; new bed , noise from out side , unfamiliar surroundings
- Excess food and drink ; over eating , consumption of stimulants and liquids
- Difficult life situations , bereavement , anxiety , depression , going to bed tense , marital difficulties , sexual frustration , unresolved conflicts , over excitement . It is important to appreciate that sleeping patterns vary from person to person and from age to age , generally as we get older we need less sleep , some people can manage on only four hours sleep a night , while others need at least eight
The relationship between sleep disturbance , snoring and sleep apnoea has recently been established , and it is felt to be an important factor in the development of heart disease , sleep apnoea is the “ breath holding “ that occurs prior to the act of snoring , and is present when the body is in a state of muscle tension and its breathing pattern is disturbed as in hyperventilation .
Scientific research into sleep patterns as shown that brain activity passes through distinct cycle in the course of a night sleep .
|Age||Average total sleep time (hours)||Average time taken to get to sleep (minutes)||Average no.of wakenings per night|
|3-6 6-9 10-12 13-15 16-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79||9.89 9.68 9.33 8.08 7.53 7.08 7.06 6.79 6.84 6.77 6.55||14.3 12.24 17.39 15.78 17.75 17.73 7.80 8.91 11.06 12.38 23.0||Less than 1 More than 1 Less than 1 More than 2 More than 2 More than 2 More than 1 More than 3 More than 5 More than 5 More than 7|
These are usually self evident in that the individual is unable to sleep, has disturbed sleep or wakes up and refreshed and tired . Sleep aponea may be apparent only to the wife or husband , and hyper somnia (over sleeping )is often overlooked as a symptom of disturbed sleep
Prevention And Self Help :
Often a vicious circle is established sleep disturbance will produce anxiety which will in itself cause sleep disturbance . Things to do before going to sleep
- Listen to a favorite piece of music ‘
- Avoid stimulant drinks before sleep –coffee , tea , cocoa
- Avoid too many liquids especially if bladder capacity is low
- Practice a breathing and relaxation routine
- Practice a tension –releasing routine go for a brisk walk
- Avoid starting an argument or important discussion which will set your mind racing .
- Write down any immediate worries or anxieties on a piece of paper
- Read a book that is absorbing , but not over stimulating or frightening .
- Do not panic .
Things to do if you wake up :
- Get up and go to the toilet .
- Practice a diaphragmatic breathing routine
- Write down any thoughts or worries on a piece of paper .
- Choose a mental image –your last holiday , a favorite film , a pleasing scene –and focus your mind on the details .
- If this is frequent have a cassette tape recorder by you and play a relaxing piece of music or relaxation tape over a pair of earphones
- If you are very tense get up and expel sum of the energy through some form of physical activity
Things to do during the day time :
- Recognize you have a difficulty and decide to deal with during the day as well as at night
- Check your exercise routine
- Check your diet
- Examine the
reasons why you may not be sleeping –
- Un resolved psychological problem .
- Marital conflict
– Loss of a loved one .
- The honest with your self but also be kind
- Seek the help of a doctor , counselor , friend , psychologist .
Especially before sleeping a body massage will help to relax the body and restore a rhythmical sleeping pattern adding three drops of any of the oils of chamomile . Lavender or rose to a warm bath will have a sedative effect on the body .
Sleep Disturbances :
An inability to sleep well is a frequent trial of the menopause , commonly women find it difficult to fall asleep and then to remain asleep , this is a time when it is there fore very easy to get into the habit of taking conventional sleeping tablets . Unfortunately , this is not the best thing to do as dependence is quickly established and the dosage may need to be steadily increased to guarantee sleep .
Homoeopathic remedies , which are available from most homoeopathic pharmacies ,offer a safe , gentle non addictive alternative with no risk of a “hang over “feeling in the morning .
- People who
suffer from insomnia usually have difficulty only in falling asleep ,once
asleep most have no problem in remaining asleep . Difficulty in sleeping
frequently occurs during pregnancy . Especially in the final months in the
majority of women this is easily overcome with the use of a suitable
relaxation technique and the correct homoeopathic medicine which will be
safe to take in pregnancy and gives no risk of addiction or dependence ,
insomnia of a different kind may , however be present . With this kind
women wake in the early morning (around 4-5 am) and this is then followed
by short period of un refreshing sleep until it is time to get up .This
type of sleeplessness can sometimes indicate the development of a
depressive disorder and require medical advice . It should not , however ,
be confused with another type of sleep disorder in which a woman is a very
light sleeper , waking up with every slight noise , but then immediately falling
back to sleep again , there are also some self help method you can try to
help you to sleep .
- Relax before going to bed ; read a book , have a warm bath , make love .
- Avoid large meals late in the evening
- Take a bed time drink of warm milk or a herbal infusion , but avoid drinking tea , coffee or chocolate drinks , that contain caffeine
- Extra exercise earlier in the day will make you more tired physically .
- If you wake in the night do not toss and turn , get up and do some thing for half an hour
- Get up at the same time every day even if you have had a bad night
Symptoms and Homoeopathic Medicines :
If you are finding it difficult to sleep during the menopause , “coffea cruda “ is a non addictive homoeopathic medicine that can be help full
Inability to fall asleep because of over excitement during the evening . Sleeplessness occur because of fear ———— Aconitum
Insomnia caused by worry about an event the , next day such as an examination or interview —————————Argentum Nitricum
An inability to fall asleep ,or wakes up about 2 am . Feels very restless and has to get up and walk around the room – Arsenicum album
The problem of the day seems to go around and around in head . Exciting thoughts of recent event causes wakefulness . Great sensitivity to noise — Coffea cruda
Sleeplessness associated with an unhappy or distressing event —Ignatia
Wakes at about 4 am and can not get back to sleep due to an overactive mind –Lyco podium
Mental over activity with the mind going over the day’s work again and again anger at this inability to fall asleep —-Nux vomica
Light sleepers are easily disturbed by the slightest noise —-Sulphur
Body feels itchy and there may be jerking movements of the limbs when attempting to fall asleep , unpleasant dreams often occur —-Valeriana Relax the body especially over tired —–Arnica