What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. If you have it, you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, you may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. You may not feel refreshed when you wake up.What are the types of insomnia?
Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Acute insomnia is common. Common causes include stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. It usually lasts for days or weeks.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary. This means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem, such as certain medical conditions, medicines, and other sleep disorders. Substances such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can also be a cause.
Sometimes chronic insomnia is the primary problem. This means that it is not caused by something else. Its cause is not well understood, but long-lasting stress, emotional upset, travel and shift work can be factors. Primary insomnia usually lasts more than one month.Who is at risk for insomnia?
Insomnia is common. It affects women more often than men. You can get it at any age, but older adults are more likely to have it. You are also at higher risk of insomnia if you
- Have a lot of stress
- Are depressed or have other emotional distress, such as divorce or death of a spouse
- Have a lower income
- Work at night or have frequent major shifts in your work hours
- Travel long distances with time changes
- Have an inactive lifestyle
- Are African American; research shows that African Americans take longer to fall asleep, don't sleep as well, and have more sleep-related breathing problems than whites.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Lying awake for a long time before you fall asleep
- Sleeping for only short periods
- Being awake for much of the night
- Feeling as if you haven't slept at all
- Waking up too early
Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy. It also can make you feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. You may have trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering. Insomnia also can cause other serious problems. For example, it could make you may feel drowsy while driving. This could cause you get into a car accident.How is insomnia diagnosed?
To diagnose insomnia, your health care provider
- Takes your medical history
- Asks for your sleep history. Your provider will ask you for details about your sleep habits.
- Does a physical exam, to rule out other medical problems that might cause insomnia
- May recommend a sleep study. A sleep study measures how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems.
Treatments include lifestyle changes, counseling, and medicines:
- Lifestyle changes, including good sleep habits, often help relieve acute (short-term) insomnia. These changes might make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- A type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help relieve the anxiety linked to chronic (ongoing) insomnia
- Several medicines also can help relieve your insomnia and allow you to re-establish a regular sleep schedule
If your insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, it's important to treat that problem (if possible).
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Insomnia FDA Approved Drugs
- Treatment of insomnia.
- Method for treating insomnia while reducing the risk of an adverse drug interaction.
- Method of treating insomnia characterized by difficulty with sleep onset.
- Method for treating insomnia.
- Method of treating middle-of-the-night insomnia.
- Method of treating insomnia characterized by difficulty with sleep onset.
- Treatment of insomnia.
- Treatment of transient insomnia.
Home Remedies for Insomnia
Eat a small bowl of tart cherries (not the sweet variety) or before bedtime. Or, drink a glass of tart cherry juice. Warm baths can also relax your body.
Consume 2 Kiwi fruit one hour before you want to sleep.
Mechanism - boost levels of serotonin
Felter's Materia Medica on Insomnia
The rhizome and rootlets of Actaea alba, Bigelow (Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceae). A perennial of the United States east of the Mississippi, abounding in... / ...ications.Atony dependent upon nervous derangements from reproductive disturbances, with headache, insomnia, melancholia, and convulsive tendencies; extreme sensitiveness of the ovarian region; pin... / ...arising from derangement of the reproductive organs. Like cimicifuga it is useful in atonic indigestion of the nervous dyspepsia type. 1
...cturition; painful micturition, with tenesmus; scalding urine; ardor urinae; wakefulness in fevers; insomnia, with brief periods of sleep, disturbed by unpleasant dreams; spasmodic and painful conditi...... occur. The keynote indication for cannabis is marked depression of the nervous system usually with insomnia. Secondly, it allays irritation of the urino-genital tract and relieves pain. For the first...1
... finally succumbs. An occasional dose of 10 to 15 drops of the fluidextract will sometimes overcome insomnia caused by gloom and worry, and very rarely it helps one over an attack of asthma. It may be......orative of strength after exhaustive acute diseases or operations, in-sudden nervous exhaustion and insomnia, in painful indigestion, headache from exhaustion, and in migraine. In all of these it shou...1
The rhizome and rootlets of Cypripedium pubescens, Swartz; and of Cypripedium parviflorum, Salisbury. (Nat. Ord. Orchidaceae.) Rich woods of the... / ...ic salts. Preparation.Specific Medicine Cypripedium. Dose, 5 to 60 drops. Specific Indications.Insomnia, nervous irritability, neuralgia and delirium, all from atony; restlessness and muscular tw... / ...Simple Syrup, enough to make 3 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: Dose, 5 to 20 drops. If nausea occurs lessen the amount of, or omit the lobelia.1
The alkaloid obtained from the leaves of Duboisia myoporoides, Robert Brown (Nat. Ord. Myoporaceae), the Corkwood elm or Ngmoo of Australia and... / ...es of mental excitement. The morphine habit, paralysis agitans, and especially the excitability and insomnia of the insane have been treated with it. Administered in the smaller doses twice a day it i... / ...with care and judgment.1
The dried rhizome and roots of Gelsemium sempervirens (Linné,) Aiton (Nat. Ord. Loganiaceae). Dose, 1/10 to 1 grain. Common Names: Yellow... / ...s.Hyperemia; bright eyes, contracted pupils, great heat, and nervous unrest; mental irritability; insomnia, with nervous excitation; pain over the whole head; tremulousness, with great nervous excit... / ...great restlessness and excitation are the classic indications for it as first formulated by Scudder, and these stand among the truest of speci1
The strobiles of Humulus Lupulus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Urticaceae). Europe and Asia; common in cultivation. Common Names: Hops, Hop. Principal... / ...se headache, with nausea and vomiting. Probably the psychic effect has much to do with its value in insomnia. A hot "hop bag" applied to the face is a favorite domestic cure for neuralgic face ache, a... / ...useful in fermentative dyspepsia with acid eructations. For other uses see Lupulinum, which has superseded hops largely as an internal medicine.1
...oscyamine Bromide). Dose, 1/200 grain. Specific Indications.Nervous irritability, with unrest and insomnia; dilated pupils and flushed face, accompanied by debility; fright and restlessness in sleep......alkativeness, amusing hallucinations and illusions, particularly in fevers; choking sensations; the insomnia of debility, exhaustion, or insanity; the excitability of the insane; urethral irritation i...1
...ops. Specific Indications.Nervousness, irritability, disposition to brood over trouble, delirium, insomnia, cerebral hyperemia; genital and mental irritability associated with spermatorrhea; ferment...... chordee. When delirium tremens is accompanied by cerebral hyperemia it is of considerable service. Insomnia due to nervous debility or to worry, or headache associated with active cerebral circulatio...1
The whole herb Lycopus virginicus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Labiatae). Common in shady, moist and boggy places throughout the United States. Dose, 1 to... / ...o relieve the rapid heart action of excessive smokers. Lycopus is a remedy for morbid vigilance and insomnia attendant upon either acute or chronic diseases; and is especially serviceable when sleep i... / ...in simple diarrhea (lientery), dysenteric diarrhea, and especially in the diarrhea of phthisis, and the gastric disturbances of the drunkard.1
The root and stem-base of Passiflora incarnata, Linné (Nat. Ord. Passifloraceae). Southern United States. Dose, 5 to 120 grains. Common Names:... / ...a. Dose, 1 to 120 drops. Specific Indications.Irritation of brain and nervous system, with atony; insomnia from worry or overwork, or from febrile excitement; sleeplessness in the young and the aged...1
....Fluidextractum Piscidiae, Fluidextract of Piscidia. Dose, 10 to 60 drops. Specific Indications.Insomnia and nervous unrest; spasm, pain, and nervous irritability; migraine, neuralgia. Action and ......in, overcome spasm, allay nervous excitability, and produce sleep. It may be cautiously used in the insomnia of the aged and in those of an excessively nervous temperament. By many it is advised where...1
The recent herb of Anemone Pulsatilla, Linné, and of Anemone pratensis, Linné, collected soon after flowering (Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceae).... / ...or death; morbid mental excitation associated with physical debility; marked depression of spirits; insomnia, with nervous exhaustion; pain, with debility; headache, with nervousness, not dependent on...1
The fresh green herb of Scutellaria lateriflora, Linné (Nat. Ord. Labiatae). Common in damp situations throughout the United States. Dose, 5 to... / ...ervous character, with intermittent pulse whether accompanied or not by hysterical excitement. When insomnia is due to worry, or nervous irritability or even exhaustion, relief may be expected from it...1
The dried leaves of Datura Stramonium, Linné, or of Datura Tatula, Linné (Nat. Ord. Solanaceae). A common weed everywhere in the United States,... / ...the fact that the stramonium alleviates the pain, or allays the nervous irritability upon which the insomnia depends. It is quite remarkable that a plant so closely allied to belladonna chemically sho... / ...when associated with nervous erethism and unsteadiness. Like hyoscyamus, stramonium meets two classes of nervous and mental disordersthe ment1
Physician's Materia Medica on Insomnia
Analgesic, antipyretic, antiseptic; a powerful depressant to the spinal nerve centers. Used especially in neuralgic and rheumatic affections to control pain. in migraine, in febrile conditions accom panied with pain. in delirium tremens, in insomnia and as a remedy for obstinate vomiting. Externally it is useful as a surgical dress ing, resembling iodoform in its action. Incompatible with bromides and iodides and with spirit of nitrous ether. It is advantageously combined with Caffeine which dim2
The flowering tops of the pistillate plant of CANNABIs sa'r1vA, Lin., grown in the East Indies. Antispasmodic, analgesic, deliriant. aphrodisiac. Locally applied it is anti-pruritic. Prescribed in teta nus, in neuralgia, in insomnia and other conditions depending on anemia of the brain, in combating the morphine habit, etc. Dose, 0.2 to 0.6 Grm. (3 to 10 grs.) or more.2
Hypnotic, saiative, anesthetic, antiseptic, antiemetic; resembles chloral in its action, but is less depressing to heart and respiration; useful for relief of neuralgic pain and gastralgia; in insomnia, and as a local application to burns, scalds, carious teeth, painful ulcers, etc. Dose, 0.4 to 1.3 Grm. (6 to 20 grs.).2
The rhizome and roots of VALERIANA OFFICINALIS Lin. Antispasmodic, nervine. Much used to quiet nervous restlessness and insomnia, especially in typhoid conditions, in hysteria and, generally combined with morphine, in delirium tremens; to relieve nervous headaches, for infantile colic, etc. See also Acid Valerianic.2
Physician's Therapeutics Memoranda on Insomnia
Use drugsto induce sleep only when absolutely necessary. If bromides fail use hypnotics, chloral (combined with morphine if severe pain is present), sulphonal, chloralamide, chloretone, etc.2
2) Nelson, Baker & Co., 1904, Physician's Handy Book of Materia Medica and Therapeustics, Detroit, Michigan.