What Is a Normal Sleep Pattern?
Good sleep is when one falls asleep easily, sleep is not interrupted frequently (one does not wake up frequently in between), do not wake up too early, and feel refreshed in the morning. Having difficulty falling asleep or difficulty in having continuous sound sleep through the night is not normal for a healthy person of any age. However, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. The quality of sleep is different in different phases of life. Good quality sleep is important to maintain a good physical and mental health of a person.
Normal adults need about 6-9 hours of sound sleep to function well. Some people can function well even with 4-5 hours of sleep. Infants require much more sleep than adults, and they can sleep for up to 16-20 hours a day. 3-6 months old babies need about 15 hours of sleep. Children older than this need about 10-13 hours of sleep daily. Pre-teens and teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep. After 50 years of age, the sleep duration is about 5-6 hours at night.
Normal sleep consists of:
Slow-wave (non-REM) sleep
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
Let’s have a look at them in detail.
Slow-wave (non-REM) sleep:
Non-REM sleep lasts about 70-90 minutes. Non-REM sleep is useful for the repair of the body. It has four stages as follows:
- Transitional stage (lasting about 1-7 minutes)
- Light sleep
- Moderately deep sleep (20 min after falling asleep)
- Deep sleep
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep:
REM sleep occurs within 50-90 minutes of falling asleep. Initially, it lasts 5-10 minutes. Gradually, the length or duration of this phase increases until the final REM period, which may last for 50 minutes. Mostly, you get dreams in this phase of sleep. As the name suggests, during this phase the eyeballs of a sleeping person move rapidly side-to-side under the lids. The muscles of the body become relaxed during this phase. This phase is particularly useful for the growth and repair of the brain itself.
Normal Sleep Pattern:
During the normal sleep pattern, REM sleep and non-REM sleep alternate with each other. This sleep pattern repeats about 4-5 times during the entire night. Each cycle lasts for about 90 minutes. REM sleep constitutes about 50% of an infant’s sleep and 20% of an adult’s sleep.
What Is Sleeplessness?
In the sleeping disorder called insomnia or sleeplessness, one may face difficulty in falling asleep or difficulty in staying asleep (poor sleep) which may affect a person’s ability to perform routine functions smoothly.
A few patients may find difficulty in falling asleep: In spite of trying hard to sleep, one cannot fall asleep. One may try counting numbers, chanting, reading a book, listening to music, or tossing in a bed but nothing seems to help.
Some patients get difficulty in staying asleep: One may experience frequently interrupted sleep at night and then they face difficulty in sleeping again. Some patients wake up too early in the morning and then they are unable to get back to sleep. Some patients feel unrefreshed on waking up from the sleep in the morning as if they have not slept the whole night.
Types Of Sleeplessness (Insomnia):
Transient Insomnia: It is a mild form of insomnia. This type of insomnia lasts for 1 night to a few nights. Here, the person's ability to function normally during the daytime is not much affected. Transient insomnia passes off in a few days and then the person can function normally.
Short-term Insomnia: In this type, one may suffer from insomnia for a few nights to a month. This may affect the daytime functions of a person. Along with the sleeplessness, the patient may suffer from irritability and tiredness.
Chronic Insomnia: Chronic insomnia may last for more than a month to many months. Sometimes, it may last even longer. This chronic form of insomnia affects a patient severely. It affects the mental capacities, focus, concentration, mood, memory, or the task handling efficiency of the patient.
Homeopathic Treatment For Sleeplessness:
The individuals suffering from insomnia or sleeplessness find amazing positive results by using homeopathic treatment. It is free from any adverse effects. Homeopathic medicine is not a sleeping pill; it helps to induce sleep naturally.
Homeopathic treatment for sleeplessness treats the disease at the root level as the underlying cause of sleeplessness is taken into consideration while selecting the medicine. During the case study or case taking at Life Force, we try to evaluate the presentation of the symptoms, history of the present complaints, the lifestyle of the person, emotional make-up of the person, current mental state, the stress which person is going through, the past medical history, family history, etc. In such a way, the cause of sleeplessness (such as anxiety, stress, depression, faulty lifestyle, hormonal imbalance, or any other medical condition, etc.) is identified during the case taking and the treatment is aimed towards treating that cause to treat the disease at a deeper level.
If there are any environmental causes or sleeplessness is resulting due to a faulty lifestyle then it needs to be corrected by the patient by following certain measures so that insomnia can be treated.
How does homeopathy help in treating sleeplessness?
- Homeopathy improves the ability of the mind and body to handle the stress effectively.
- Homeopathic treatment treats the underlying cause of sleeplessness.
- Homeopathy improves the quality of sleep.
- Over a period, homeopathic treatment calms and relaxes the mind.
- With regular use of homeopathic medicines, the need for sleeping pills may reduce.
- Homeopathy is absolutely safe and free from any side-effects
- Homeopathic medicines do not cause dependency and they are non-habit-forming.
What are the chances of recovery from sleeplessness with homeopathy?
- Excellent result: In mild, moderate, and early cases of insomnia, one may find an excellent result by using homeopathy.
- Good result: Moderate to severe cases of sleeplessness with associated depression, anxiety find a good result with homeopathy.
- Not so good results: Very severe, very old (> 15 years) cases of sleeplessness and the cases with the dependency on sleeping pills may not respond so well to homeopathy.
Commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines for sleeplessness:
Some of the commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines for sleeplessness are Coffea Cruda, Nux Vomica, Passiflora Incarnata, Kali Phosphoricum, Phosphorus, Silica, Sulphur, Ignatia, Staphisagria, etc.
Self-medication is not advisable to the patients suffering from sleeplessness, as every case needs a detailed evaluation before prescribing medicines.
Prevalence Of Sleeplessness:
Around 20%–30% population worldwide is suffering from some form of insomnia. Insomnia is more common in elderly adults, females, and people suffering from some other medical psychological diseases.
Causes Of Sleeplessness:
Short-term insomnia or transient insomnia may be caused due to some ongoing stress, a traumatic event in life, or changes in sleeping habits.
Chronic sleeplessness may cause due to multiple causes. They are listed below.
- Psychological illness: Patients suffering from depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, euphoria, schizophrenia, or other psychological disorders may have sleeplessness as one of the symptoms or may present as sleeplessness.
- Chronic stress: Prolonged stress at work, family, or social life in the form of worry, anxiety, frustration, etc. may cause sleeplessness.
- Inappropriate sleeping environment: Factors like the quite high or low temperature in the room, poor ventilation, too hard or too soft bed, too much noise at the sleeping place, change in the sleeping place, the presence of mosquitoes in the room, etc. may lead to sleep disturbances and further cause chronic sleeplessness.
- Faulty lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle, taking a nap during the daytime, odd sleeping hours, staying awake until late night for work, watching TV, using mobile, etc. can make you experience sleeplessness.
- Too much intake of coffee, nicotine (smoking or tobacco chewing), or alcohol disturbs the sleep cycle and leads to sleeplessness. Alcohol withdrawal may also lead to insomnia.
- Physical illness: Conditions like GERD (heartburn), heart diseases, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, chronic cough, itching (skin diseases), and sleep apnea can cause sleeplessness.
- Medications: Medicines for blood pressure, heart diseases, thyroid hormone supplements, bronchodilators, medicines for depression, corticosteroids, anticonvulsant medicines, and hormonal supplements may cause insomnia.
- Jet lag and changing shift-work schedules may disturb the body clock leading to sleeplessness. Eventually, many people adjust to their new schedule.
- Hormonal changes: Menopause and pregnancy may cause sleeplessness in some females due to the hormonal changes.
Symptoms Of Sleeplessness:
Commonly presenting symptoms of insomnia are listed below.
In sleeplessness or insomnia, patients face difficulty in falling asleep or experience poor sleep quality which affects the person’s ability to perform daily functions smoothly and may lead to the following symptoms. Symptoms may change from patient to patient depending on the cause of sleeplessness.
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up frequently during the sleep at night
- Waking up too early and difficulty in getting back to sleep
- Feeling unrefreshed in the morning
- Fatigue or tiredness during the daytime
- Feeling sleepy during the daytime
- Impaired concentration or ability to perform daily tasks
- Difficulty in paying attention and focusing on any task
- Impaired memory for daily minor tasks
- Inability to handle stressful situations
- Increased rate of errors or accidents
- Decreased quality of life
- Irritability in trivial matters
- Mood swings
- Frequent headache
Chronic insomnia or sleeplessness may trigger gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, frequent heartburn, frequent indigestion, etc. It also increases the risk of heart diseases, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
Diagnosis Of Sleeplessness:
While diagnosing the sleeplessness, it is very important to identify the cause. It can be done with the help of:
- Clinical evaluation: Physical examination and thorough case history are often helpful in diagnosing and in figuring out the cause of sleeplessness. Clinical evaluation is also necessary to identify other medical conditions.
- Blood tests: Blood tests help to identify the underlying conditions, such as thyroid disorder, diabetes, or other conditions associated with poor sleep.
- Sleep pattern study: It helps to rule out other sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. In this study, the doctor records various body activities, such as brain waves, breathing, heart rate, eye movements, and body movements, while you are sleeping.
Supportive Treatment (Diet, Lifestyle, & Exercises) For Sleeplessness:
Changes in your lifestyle, following a diet and relaxation techniques along with medicines will help you to manage your sleeplessness. Here are a few tips to follow during the treatment of sleeplessness:
- Follow sleep pattern:
- Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. Follow the schedule strictly.
Avoid sleeping during the day:
- If you are very tired during the daytime, take a nap to feel refreshed. Avoid long sleep.
Maintain a favorable environment for sleep:
- Make sure that the environment in the bedroom is comfortable.
- The environment in the bedroom should be dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold.
- You can use the sleeping mask if enough darkness cannot be maintained.
- You can use earplugs to avoid noise.
- Avoid the use of mobile phones or reading devices like e-book before going to bed as the light can interfere with your sleep.
- Avoid thinking about not getting sleep before going to bed.
- Avoid stress before going to bed. If you are worried about the next day, prepare a to-do list.
- Daily exercise during the daytime helps to get a good night's sleep.
- Avoid too much of exercise after the evening. It may keep you fresh and interfere with your sleep.
Try relaxation techniques:
- Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or listening to soft, soothing music, may help you to get sound sleep.
- Take a warm bath before going to bed.
- If you wake up from the sleep in between, avoid worrying about not falling back to sleep. You can try meditation or some form of prayers.
- If you find difficult to fall asleep, get up, do something for a while, and then try to sleep again.
Drink hot milk:
- Drink hot milk before going to bed. Hot milk can act as a natural sedative.
- Nicotine can cause sleeplessness, so avoid smoking or tobacco chewing.
- Avoid alcohol if you have chronic insomnia.
- Drinking alcohol a few hours before bedtime may disturb your sleep pattern.
Avoid a heavy meal:
- Eating a heavy meal or drinking coffee or other beverages in the evening or night may cause sleeplessness.
- Take a small meal before bedtime.
Conventional Treatment For Sleeplessness:
Conventional treatment for sleeplessness includes medicines, such as Benzodiazepines, Nonbenzodiazepines hypnotics, Selective gamma-aminobutyric acid medication, Quinazolinones, Barbiturates, Melatonin, etc.
Depending on the cause, antidepressant and antianxiety medicines are prescribed in some cases. Prescribing sleeping pills can have their side-effects, such as drowsiness during the daytime and an increased risk of falling. These medicines are often habit-forming and the patient may need the medicine in increasing dose over a period.
Our Experience In Treating Sleeplessness At Life Force:
Dr. Rajesh Shah has been treating patients of insomnia from the last more than 30 years from over 180 countries. Research-based treatment for sleeplessness is made available online to numerous patients worldwide. At Life Force, a scientifically designed treatment protocol for insomnia is highly effective and in treating all kinds and different presentations of insomnia in numerous patients. If homeopathy is augmented with certain lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, relaxation techniques, and counseling then it definitely improves the quality of life of the patient by providing significant relief in the discomforting symptoms of sleeplessness. In the homeopathic mode of treatment, the cause of sleeplessness is identified, and the root cause of this condition is treated accordingly. Hence, the results with homeopathic treatment are long-lasting. Homeopathic medicines for sleeplessness are non-habit-forming and safe, even when they are taken for a long duration.
- Sleep Apnoea
- Mood disorder