Prolonged insomnia negatively affects all areas of a person’s life. Lack of sleep affects the internal organs, nervous system, brain activity and performance. It will be useful for people of any age to know what helps with insomnia and what procedures, folk remedies and drugs can restore normal sleep.
What to do with insomnia? Elimination of causes
Pharmacology and traditional medicine offer many recipes for insomnia. But it is important to understand that you need to deal with the problem, and not with its consequences. One of the main tasks of a person is to find out the reason that interferes with normal sleep, and eliminate it. If you cannot do this on your own, you need to contact a therapist or neurologist.
Various factors can provoke insomnia, including:
- constant stress;
- disruption of the internal organs;
- mental illness;
- improper nutrition;
- bad habits;
- mental strain;
- inappropriate sleeping conditions and much more.
If insomnia is provoked by pathologies of the nervous system or diseases, an integrated approach is needed. To the means for improving sleep, drugs are added that eliminate neurosis or aimed at treating pathologies.
Difficulty falling asleep is often combined with superficial sleep, accompanied by nightmares and constant awakenings. This prevents the brain from resting and does not provide the necessary relief. In the morning, a person will feel overwhelmed, the desire to sleep persists throughout the day. At the same time, in the evening, history repeats itself, and, despite the fatigue, it is not possible to fall asleep for a long time.
How can you characterize the sleep disturbance that bothers you?
Difficulty falling asleep: I can toss and turn in bed for several hours.
- I constantly wake up in the middle of the night, and after that it can be difficult to fall asleep again.
- I wake up too early in the morning regardless of bedtime.
- Sleep does not bring the feeling of rest, regardless of the number of hours spent in bed. I want to sleep all the time!
How to prevent insomnia: prevention
Regular insomnia can be brought under control with simple rules:
- Don’t go to bed too early. According to experts, the most suitable time is 22-23 hours.
- For a good night’s sleep, daytime is completely excluded.
- You can’t go to bed in a state of irritation. Before going to bed, you need to properly relax: read, listen to music or take a warm shower.
- Intense physical activity in the evening is excluded, but a quiet run or a little warm-up is encouraged.
- The last meal should be at least three hours before bedtime.
- You cannot drink coffee or strong tea in the evening.
- A clear schedule is needed: it is advisable to keep within approximately the same time.
Some people are in the habit of drinking alcoholic beverages before bed, believing that they have a hypnotic effect. Mild alcoholic intoxication can really speed up the process of falling asleep, but this is an imaginary improvement: sleep becomes superficial and shallow, fragmented, accompanied by frequent waking up.
In addition, alcohol has a delayed effect: over the next day, a person is faced with a hangover syndrome – headaches, a feeling of weakness, reduced performance. All this aggravates insomnia.
The American portal Medical News Today published little-known facts about insomnia:
- Reflexes and reactions after one night without sleep slow down as much as during intoxication of the body.
- Insomnia is one of the leading causes of car accidents, plane and train crashes, and industrial accidents.
- The annual loss of the world economy associated with insomnia is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars.
- It turns out that the main cause of sleep problems in adults is inconvenient work schedules.
- Insomnia is the hardest for children, adolescents and adults up to 25-30 years of age.
We create conditions for falling asleep
To get “right” sleep, you need to take care of the right conditions for falling asleep. Each person has their own concepts of comfort, but there are general rules recommended for everyone. This primarily concerns the environment.
- In order for the brain to be able to rest normally, without being distracted by external stimuli, it is necessary to refuse to fall asleep in front of the TV. It is also not recommended to watch dynamic films before going to bed that cause vivid emotions – action films, thrillers, horrors and melodramas.
- The bedroom should be cool and fresh. In the warm season, it is advisable to leave the window ajar, in the cold season – to ventilate the room in advance. It is better not to use incense: any “unnatural” smells can irritate the brain, distracting it from sleep.
- The ideal mattress is orthopedic, it should not be too soft or hard. The pillow is advised to acquire a dense, small size. The best bedding for sleeping is hypoallergenic or made from natural materials.
If a person previously suffering from insomnia has already done aromatherapy and knows which herbs have a calming effect on his body, you can make an individual pillow with natural ingredients. Will help you fall asleep:
- pine needles;
- small hop cones;
These plants are rich in essential oils that have a calming and sedative effect. The main thing is to like the smells and evoke positive emotions.
For symptomatic treatment, drugs are used that speed up the process of falling asleep and reduce the likelihood of frequent awakenings. Can be assigned:
- other hypnotics and sedatives.
The preferred option is the Z-group medicines: they work quickly and efficiently, are not addictive, and there are almost no side effects. What can be taken for insomnia in a particular case, the doctor will decide. The drugs are dispensed primarily by prescription.
Benzodiazepines speed up falling asleep, but have a pronounced sedative effect. Throughout the day, a person feels drowsy and lethargic, coordination, attention and memory suffer. Suitable for post-stroke insomnia.
Barbiturates have a large number of side effects. They are prescribed only if other drugs do not bring the desired effect.
Tranquilizers calm the central nervous system, have an anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant effect. They are prescribed for insomnia caused by anxiety, depression, neurotic conditions, psychosis, fears. The most famous drug is Phenazepam. Funds from this group are assigned only to adults. Contraindicated during pregnancy, children and adolescents, drivers behind the wheel, persons whose work is associated with quick and accurate reactions.
Sleeping pills, such as “Donormil”, speed up falling asleep, increase the duration of sleep. They are prescribed for insomnia of various origins, including:
- in old age;
- with alcoholism;
- with neuroses;
- with ARVI.
Some sleep medications are relatively safe and have few side effects. You can take them without medical supervision. But for the maximum therapeutic effect, a specialist consultation is necessary.
Synthetic or herbal sedatives are available over the counter, which include:
- Motherwort. It has a sedative and hypnotic effect. Allowed for children from 12 years old.
- “Persen”. Means with extracts of mint, lemon balm, valerian. For the treatment of insomnia, the capsule form is used. Allowed for children from 3 years old.
- Melaxen. Contains an analogue of melatonin – a sleep hormone. It is allowed to take with diabetes mellitus. May cause daytime sleepiness. Treatment cannot be combined with driving.
- “Valokordin”. Phenobarbital sedative, often prescribed for insomnia in the elderly.
- Valemidin. The active ingredients are tinctures of valerian, motherwort, hawthorn, peppermint . Auxiliary – ethanol and diphenhydramine. Despite the natural composition, it is contraindicated for pregnant women in any trimester due to the content of ethyl alcohol.
- “Nervohel”. Homeopathic remedy, allowed for children from one year old.
- “Novo-passit”. Contains 7 herbal extracts, has a calming effect, has almost no contraindications.
- Valerian extract. A natural sedative related to homeopathy. Valerian tablets are allowed during pregnancy, lactation.
Important! They drink any drugs only according to the instructions, the duration of the treatment course is determined individually. Over time, the body gets used to the medication and the effectiveness decreases. Because of this, it is necessary to make intervals between courses, the average duration of which is 1-2 months.
Insomnia in oncology
Cancer and insomnia are frequent companions. The reasons for this are as follows:
- Sleep disturbances can be symptoms of the disease itself.
- A person cannot sleep normally due to increased anxiety and shock that developed after a terrible diagnosis.
- In the treatment of oncology, insomnia is pronounced during the course of chemotherapy.
You need to solve the problem with the help of specialists:
- an oncologist who will prescribe sparing drugs;
- a psychologist who will help restore mental balance;
- a chemotherapist who, if necessary, will correct the treatment regimen.
What to do with insomnia during menopause
The main causes of insomnia with menopause are:
- hot flashes;
- increased nervousness;
- frequent urge to use the toilet.
The recommendations given in this article will help to normalize sleep: prevention rules, creating conditions for falling asleep, using herbal decoctions, honey, baths.
With prolonged insomnia, hormone therapy with estrogen may be required, which eliminates the main manifestations of menopause. Additionally, the doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medications.
Insomnia and alcohol
If we are talking about sleep disorders after getting out of a binge with an alcoholic, it is necessary to be treated comprehensively under the supervision of a narcologist.
Even after a short binge in a periodically drinking person, self-administration of medications is strictly prohibited. The consequences are the most serious, up to and including death.
To eliminate withdrawal symptoms and normalize sleep, you need:
- reduce alcohol intoxication, gastric lavage;
- restore electrolyte balance. A traditional cucumber or cabbage pickle containing dissolved salts will help here;
- tidy up the nervous system. This is facilitated by a calm environment, a ventilated dark room, safe sedatives – herbal decoctions, which will be discussed below.
Broths for sound sleep
If you do not want to resort to the use of drugs, recipes for traditional medicine will help. Decoctions, tinctures and relaxing teas that are easy to make at home will improve the quality of sleep and give you the opportunity to sleep well. Ready-made fees can be purchased at the pharmacy.
The following recipes are suitable for fighting insomnia:
- Mix in a tablespoon each of cumin, mint, valerian, fennel and chamomile. To prepare a daily portion of the broth, you need a teaspoon of this mixture. Everything is poured with boiling water (200 ml) and infused until it cools completely. You need to drink half a glass in the morning before meals, the rest – half an hour before bedtime.
- A mixture of herbs with a calming effect is prepared in advance: two tablespoons of valerian root, peppermint, motherwort and hoppy cones. For a single serving, a teaspoon of plants is poured into 250 ml of hot water and boiled over low heat for about 15 minutes. The broth is cooled and filtered. Drink half a glass three times a day after meals.
- For a week before going to bed, you can drink an infusion of motherwort, calendula and thyme (all ingredients are mixed in equal proportions). For a glass of boiling water – a teaspoon of the prepared mixture, keep on low heat for 10-15 minutes. If the product tastes unpleasant, natural liquid honey is added.
- Valerian root, water shamrock, peppermint and hop cones are mixed in equal parts. A tablespoon of raw materials is poured into a teapot or thermos and filled with a glass (250 ml) of water. Take 50 ml three times a day, drink it for a week.
Important! When choosing a remedy for insomnia, the individual characteristics of the body are taken into account. Any component of the broth can be an allergen or cause rejection. If, after using the mixture, negative reactions appear, the reception is discontinued.
In the absence of allergies to bee products, a person suffering from insomnia can eat a little natural honey before going to bed. It is also used to prepare special soothing and beneficial mixtures.
You can prepare one of the following:
- Mix 0.2 kg of liquid honey and three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. You need to take the mixture half an hour before your scheduled sleep.
- Half a medium lemon is finely chopped, combined with a tablespoon of thick honey and mineral water. Everything is thoroughly mixed and infused overnight. Take a teaspoon of syrup in the morning.
- Add the juice of three lemons and 400-500 g of chopped walnuts to two tablespoons of honey. Drink a tablespoon half an hour before bedtime.
The easiest option is boiled water or warm milk with honey: a tablespoon for a glass of liquid. This remedy works especially well on small children.
Warm baths with essential oils, salt or decoctions should help you get rid of stress and tune in the right way.
- About 200 hop cones are poured with 0.2 liters of cold water, everything is put on low heat. After boiling, the broth is left on the stove for another 20 minutes. The liquid is filtered.
- 50 g of mint, calendula and spruce needles are poured into 3 liters of boiling water and infused for an hour.
- 50 g of valerian root is added to boiling water (3 l), leave for 4–5 hours.
You can also add a few drops of natural lemon balm or peppermint essential oil to your bath with water. A test is done beforehand: 4–5 drops are enough. If an allergic reaction does not follow, the number of droplets increases to 15–20.
It is recommended to take baths “with additives” every other day, the course consists of 10 procedures. Duration – no more than 15 minutes. At this time, the person relaxes as much as possible. After the end of bathing, it is advisable not to dry off, but simply to blot the skin with a soft towel.
Conclusions: the best strategy for insomnia
If insomnia torments regularly, you should not look for a “magic pill”, only an integrated approach will help, including:
- fight against the causes of sleep disturbances;
- preventive measures (regimen, physical activity, proper nutrition);
- creation of conditions favorable for recreation;
- taking safe sedatives , herbal decoctions and teas;
- relaxing treatments before bed.