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08
Jan

Homeopathy for Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprived?  Whether you are sleepless because of all the night feedings for your new baby, or sleepless from chronic insomnia, a recent study on Homeopathic medicine for sleep deprivation offers hope for those frazzled nerves. Calling it ‘nanoparticle therapy’ a recent study published in the Journal Neuroscience found positive results for homeopathic medicine on symptoms of sleep deprivation (compared to placebo and control groups). Homeopathic treatment has helped many of my patients overcome sleep problems from various causes.

 

Signs of sleep deprivation include being oversensitive, weepy, hungry, forgetful, having difficulty concentrating, being awkward or clumsy and generally drowsy.  It can cause hormonal changes, elevated cortisol and lack of sex drive. The hormone ghrelin which triggers hunger has been shown to rise significantly with lack of sleep, causing appetite increases that can lead to weight gain.

Sleep deprivation significantly increases the risk of automobile accidents; and although many drivers would not get in the car after a drink or two we underestimate the impairment that comes from lack of sleep.

Every new mother I know talks about ‘Mommy Brain’, that forgetfulness and difficulty thinking, even weepiness, that comes over us like a fog in the postpartum days. Much of this can be attributed to loss of sleep, a necessary sacrifice when taking care of our new wee ones.  It’s a good idea to try to catch up on sleep here and there, napping when baby naps whenever possible, and having someone else take a shift of getting up in the night, perhaps by using a breast pump. Many Moms can rebound from this once baby starts sleeping more, but for some it becomes a long term challenge.

The long term effects of sleep deprivation are scary; research has shown that up to 700 genes are triggered after 7 days of sleep deprivation, and although it is not known exactly what that means, it’s linked to long term risks of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental health problems.

Insomnia

Chronic sleeplessness can be caused by many things, including stress and lifestyle factors such as diet, caffeine, overwork, exercising too close to bedtime, lack of routine, and alcohol consumption. (It’s true, Grandma’s ‘nip of brandy’ will actually disrupt your sleep!).

In some cases your emotional world may be causing sleeplessness; overwork, stress, anxiety, and a history of trauma can all impact your ability to drift off to dreamland. Individualized homeopathic treatment can help balance your emotions and treat anxiety and depression that may be underlying causes of insomnia.

It is important to talk to your family physician about insomnia because almost 50% of cases are related to medical conditions, including sleep apnea but also headaches, asthma, menopause, acid reflux and fibromyalgia.

Treatments for insomnia include a range of options from sleep hygiene to Melatonin, to prescription medications. Classical homeopathy is another option to consider, one that is non toxic, non hormonal, has no side effects and does not create long term dependency.

Homeopathy for Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation

In my practice I use many different homeopathic medicines to treat both insomnia and sleep deprivation. The individualized treatment looks at all the factors that may be affecting your overall health and ability to sleep.

Here are a few examples of some Homeopathic medicines that have long established clinical records of effectiveness, which recent studies are also confirming in placebo controlled research.

Cocculus indica: For sleep deprivation that causes a state of oversensitive nerves, dizziness and weakness. Often needed by those tending the sick or up all night with sleepless babies.

Coffea cruda:  For insomnia due to overexcitement, overstudy, or sudden emotions. This remedy is most appropriate for individuals who generally have difficulty falling asleep and tend to be light sleepers. It can be used to counteract the effects of caffeine.

Pulsatilla: For women who are feeling weepy and sleep deprived postpartum, and for children with earaches waking them at night. Also used when sleeping in a warm room tends to worsen insomnia or when the individual may cry due to the inability to fall asleep.

Nux vomica: For insomnia caused by overwork, stress, irritability, and or over use of caffeine, alcohol, or drugs. It may also be used to treat insomnia that occurs as a side effect of medications.

(Note: these examples are for illustration only and do not contain enough information to base a prescription on).

 

Research

Conventional medicine tends to dismiss Homeopathy as ‘unproven’ or new and untested, despite hundreds of published research studies and 200 years of documented clinical observations all over the world.  Homeopathy is often misunderstood or considered a blanket term for any product out there calling itself a ‘natural cure’. Classical homeopathy is a complex system of medicine that requires 3-4 years of training and years of clinical experience to master. It was developed by German physicians and spread throughout Europe following its success in treating cholera epidemics in the 1800’s. To learn more about how it works see about homeopathy.

Research into homeopathy for sleep problems is included in References below, including  research showing that insomnia associated with other issues such as fibromyalgia and menopause can also improve after homeopathic treatment.

References

Naudé DF, Couchman IMS, Maharaj A. Chronic primary insomnia: Efficacy of homeopathic simillimum. Homeopathy 2010; 99: 63-68
Bell IR, Howerter A, Jackson N, et al. Effects of homeopathic medicines on polysomnographic sleep of young adults with histories of coffee-related insomnia.  Sleep Med, 2010; Jul 27
Ruiz-Vega G, Perez-Ordaz L, Proa-Flores P, Aguilar-Diaz Y. An evaluation of Coffea cruda effect on rats. Br Homoeopathic J , 2000; 89:122–6
Ruiz-Vega G, Perez-Ordaz L, Leon-Hueramo O, Cruz-Vazquez E, Sanchez-Diaz N. Comparative effect of Coffea cruda potencies on rats. Homeopathy, 2002; 91:80–4
Ruiz-Vega G, Perez-Ordaz L, Cortes-Galvan L, Juarez-G FM. A kinetic approachto caffeine–Coffea cruda interaction. Homeopathy, 2003; 92: 19–29
Sukul A, Sinhabau SP, Sukul NC. Reduction of alcohol induced sleep time in albino mice by potentized Nux vomica prepared with 90% ethanol. Br Homoeopathic J, 1999; 88:58–61
Sukul NC, Ghosh S, Sinhababu SP, Sukul A. Strychnos nux-vomica extract and its ultra-high dilution reduce voluntary ethanol intake in rats. J Altern Complement Med, 2001; 7:187–93
Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC et al. Effect of homoeopathic treatment on fibrositis (primary fibromyalgia). British Medical Journal, 1989, 299: 365–366
Bordet MF, Colas A, Marijnen P, Masson JL, Trichard M. Treating hot flushes in menopausal women with homeopathic treatment – Results of an observational study. Homeopathy, 2008, 97: 10-15

Pellow J. Homoeopathic simillimum treatment of secondary insomnia in peri- and postmenopausal women. Johannesburg: Technikon Witwatersrand, 2002

About Gaela Nelson