What are Sleeping Disorders?
Sleeping Disorders are broadly classified in three ways, that is, lack of sleep, excessive sleep and disturbed sleep. Out of these, lack of sleep or Insomnia is the most common Sleeping Disorder which is actually more of a symptom of an underlying condition than a problem in itself. Women and older individuals are more likely to suffer from this ailment.
Various studies have revealed that sleep consists of five stages. The first four stages are called Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and the last stage is known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM). The first two stages are characterized by light sleep and the next two are characterized by deep sleep.
The fifth stage, that is, REM is characterized by dreaming. It consists of rapid eye movements without the movement of any other muscles, as if watching a movie intently. Sleeping Disorders causing abnormal behaviors like sleep walking or night terrors usually take place during the third and fourth stages of NREM.
Sleeping Disorders could be temporary or chronic in nature. Inadequate sleep, whether in terms of quantity or quality is detrimental to the overall health of the affected individual.
Some common Sleeping Disorders apart from Insomnia include Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, Restless Legs Syndrome, Parasomnia, Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders etc. Mainly, a hormone known as melatonin affects sleep, wakefulness and the different states and stages of sleep.
There are various medications that help in dealing with Sleeping Disorders. Still, the sufferer should first try to develop regular sleeping habits to control the problem. In addition, lifestyle changes and a number of natural home remedies for Sleeping Disorders can prove to be highly beneficial in healing this ailment. Reducing stress and anxiety helps a great deal in curing Sleeping Disorders caused by psychological factors.
Causes of Sleeping Disorders
Insomnia is a common Sleeping Disorder that causes difficulty in falling asleep or difficulty in waking up. It can be chronic or short term depending on the cause. Short term insomnia is usually caused by mental tension or nervousness. On the other hand, chronic insomnia is generally caused by underlying psychological disorders or medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, ulcers, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, epilepsy and so on.
Psychological problems like depression, stress, anxiety, or other serious psychological disorders tend to affect the normal sleeping patterns of the affected individuals. Therefore, in such cases, mind relaxation techniques are considered as highly beneficial natural home remedies for Sleeping Disorders.
Narcolepsy with cataplexy is a chronic neurological Sleeping Disorder caused by lack of brain chemicals called hypocretins. These chemicals help to regulate the sleep/wake pattern. Hereditary factors or head injuries tend to cause this ailment. Medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Amyloidosis, Lyme disease, varicose veins and other related diseases have been attributed to cause Restless Leg Syndrome.
Temporary causes like jet lag tend to disrupt the normal body clock thereby causing short term sleep problems. Apart from this, females tend to exhibit temporary changes in the sleeping patterns because of hormonal changes occurring during menstruation and pregnancy.
Besides, consumption of spicy food and caffeine products like tea, coffee, chocolate etc are known to disrupt the normal sleeping patterns. Similarly, certain drugs, especially antidepressants, beta blockers and anticonvulsants affect the normal sleeping pattern adversely resulting in Sleeping Disorders.
Symptoms of Sleeping Disorders
Individual sleeping requirements vary from one individual to another. For instance, infants generally require around 16 hours of sleep whereas adults require 7 to 8 hours sleep on a daily basis. Teenagers, on the other hand, require 9-10 hours of quality sleep. Adequate sleep is beneficial for maintaining good immunity and fighting diseases naturally. Any deviation from the normal sleeping pattern falls under the category of Sleeping Disorder.
Some common symptoms of most of the Sleeping Disorders are difficulty falling asleep, difficulty waking up, excessive sleepiness even during daytime, snoring, unusual behaviors like sleep walking, talking, bedwetting, nightmares, night terrors, not to mention difficulty in concentrating, memory lapses, daytime fatigue and tiredness due to lack of good sleep.
Sleep Apnea disrupts the normal sleeping pattern due to obstruction in breathing thereby causing loud snoring and choking. Restless Leg Syndrome is characterized by a tingling sensation in the legs causing an irresistible urge to move them. Narcolepsy is often associated with cataplexy that causes a sudden loss of muscle tone due to strong emotions, temporary sleep paralysis, Hypnagogic or Hypnopompic Hallucinations.
Hypnagogic hallucinations refer to hallucinations on the onset of sleep whereas Hypnopompic refer to hallucinations occurring during wakefulness. Narcolepsy patients tend to sleep excessively during daytime even after sleeping sufficiently during night. Such sleep attacks often occur all of a sudden without any prior warning.
Natural Home Remedies for Sleeping Disorders
• Drinking a glass of warm milked mixed with honey is one of the oldest yet effective natural home remedies for Sleeping Disorders as it induces sleep. Nutmeg powder also promotes god sleep.
• A combination of buttermilk, cinnamon and honey is useful home remedy used to get rid of sleeping ailments.
• Elimination of cow’s milk from the diet for some time and then reintroducing it helps to cure Sleeping Disorders like Insomnia in small children.
• Having approximately 30 ml of milk extracted from poppy seeds mixed with sugar is beneficial in reducing Insomnia related sleeping ailments. Take this natural remedy at night before going to bed.
• Lettuce juice is a valuable home remedy for sleeping troubles as it induces healthy sleep. A little bit of lemon juice can also be added in this juice to improve its taste.
• Herbal teas and decoctions prepared from herbs like passionflower, chamomile, St John’s Wart, horsetail, lemon balm, fennel seeds, peppermint and other such herbs are useful in the treatment of Sleeping Disorders naturally at home. These herbal remdies act as natural sedatives. They can also be used for herbal baths.
• Having hot baths two hours prior to bedtime help to soothe the mind and body and regulate sleeping patterns.
• Try to avoid sleeping on the back. Instead sleep laterally in a comfortable posture to get rid of sleeping problems.
• Interestingly, combing the hair before bedtime serves as a massage and helps in falling asleep.
• Alternative therapies like meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, music therapy etc are excellent natural home remedies for Sleeping Disorders.
Diet for Sleeping Disorders
While dealing with Sleeping Disorders, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet. Green leafy vegetables, whether raw or steamed should be positively included in the diet to reduce Seeping Disorders. Whole grains and fruits like lemons and mulberries help relax the mind thereby facilitating good sleep.
Figs, dates, bananas, grapefruits are also beneficial in this regard. Stay away from foods like cheese, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, spinach etc during night time. These foods are healthy no doubt, but they act as natural brain stimulants thereby reducing sleep.
It is important to note that foods rich in proteins promote alertness whereas the ones rich in carbohydrates promote sleepiness. As nutritional deficiencies have also been associated with Sleeping Disorders, it is necessary to have a balanced diet with judicious mix of various vitamins and minerals.
Besides, certain lifestyle changes like regular exercise and meditation should also be adopted. Avoidance of physical or mental stimulation before bedtime serves as one of the simplest yet most important home remedies for Sleeping Disorders by relaxing the body as well as the mind and facilitating normal sleeping.