Sleep is a periodic state of rest accompanied by varying degrees of unconsciousness and relative inactivity. The value of sleep is obvious, yet the explanation of why it is so effective in providing a daily renewal of a feeling of health and wellbeing is lacking. The sleep wake cycle varies with growing age. Sleep Vs Age 1. Newborn – 20 hours/day 2. Child–08 to 14 hours/day 3. Adult – 07 to 08 hours/day Nearly one third of our life is spent in sleep. Every day we voluntarily go to bed and transit into an easily reversible state of relative unresponsiveness and tranquility. This state occurs almost regularly and repetitively each day. Any condition that interferes with sleep is known as Sleep disorders. These include environmental noise, excess cold or heat or movement as on a train, bus or ship.
Insomnia is includes under one of the most common sleep disorders now a days. Insomnia means disorder of initiating or maintaining sleep. Inability to sleep at a time when the person expected sleep to occur. The difficulty may be either falling a sleep or remaining a sleep of both. The disorder may primary or secondary to other illness, condition or circumstances.
Primary insomnia exist when there are no signs or symptoms of a mental or a physical condition to account for a sleep disturbance.
Secondary insomnia is usually readily explained by the existence of a condition that cause anxiety, stress or pain or by the use of a drug that interferences sleep.
Insomnia is also known as DIMS (Disorders of initiation and /or maintenance of sleep). Insomnia includes:
• Difficulty in initiating sleep or going off to sleep.
• Difficulties in maintaining sleep (frequent awakening during the night and early morning awakening).
• Non restorative sleep or poor quality of sleep.
Insomnia is extremely common with almost 15-28 % of general population complaining of a insomnia episode requiring treatment.
(A) Medical illness
• Any painful or uncomfortable ailment
• Heart diseases
• Respiratory diseases
• Rheumatic and other Musculo-skeletal diseases
• Old age induced
(B) Alcohol and drug use
• Drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome
• CNS stimulants like amphetamines
• Chronic alcoholism
(C) Psychiatric disorders
• Major depression (difficulty in maintenance of sleep is more prominent, although difficulty in initiating sleep is also present).
• Anxiety disorder (difficulty in initiating sleep is common)
• Stressful life condition (may cause temporary insomnia)
• Mania (may not complain of decrease in sleep, as there is often a decreased need for sleep).
Sleep hygiene consists of general guidelines for promoting good sleep. In itself, it is not a treatment for insomnia. Important components of sleep hygiene are:
• Regular, daily physical exercises mainly in evening.
• Avoid fluid intake and heavy meals just before bed time.
• Avoid caffeine intake e.g. tea, coffee, cola drinks before sleeping hours at least two hours.
• Avoid regular use of alcohol especially for promoting sleep.
• Sleep in a comfortable environment.
The diagnostic criterion includes sleep disturbance occurring at least three times a week for at least one month and that it causes either marked distress or interferes with social and occupational functioning.
Insomnia should be differentiated from short sleeper, who needs less than six hours of sleep per night and has no symptoms or dysfunctions. A short sleeper does not require any medical assistance.
A lot of varieties of drugs are available for insomnia. Their use on a short term basis should be advisable. But all may have undesirable side effects such as overdose, habituation, tolerance, addiction, day time drowsiness, lethargy or amnesia.
The use of drugs should be limited to short periods for primary insomnia. In secondary insomnia, the treatment consists of determine the condition causing the insomnia and then treating the disorders.
7 Simple Remedies for Insomnia
1. Relaxation techniques before sleep time.
2. Treatment of underlying physical and / or psychiatric disorders, if Present.
3. Withdrawal of current medications, if any.
4. Use of Almond oil 5 drops in each nostril at morning with empty stomach and at evening in sleep time.
5. Massage of Rogan Badam oil in head that gives instant relief to patient.
6. Some useful herbal drugs for insomnia are named as Sarpagandha, Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Jatamansi, Shankhapusphi,
7. Sirodhara an Ayurvedic Panchkarma therapy with some herbal drugs mixed in butter milk or Medicated oil.
1. Lecturer (Rog&VikritiVigyan)
2. Lecturer (PTS RogaVigyan)
MSM Institute of Ayurveda, BPS Mahila Vishwavidyalaya Khanpur Kalan,
Distt. Sonepat (Haryana)