Sleeplessness & Insomnia Due To Stress
The following is a brief explanation of Sleeplessness and Insomnia from the Natural Point of
view. This problem is yet another modern day plague.
Before starting a discussion on
Sleeplessness and Insomnia it is important to state that the human body can
be trained by routine. A daily routine of going to bed and awakening at a
constant interval creates a cycle that the body will itself find necessary.
This is the best way of assuring a good nights sleep assuming of course that
the body is healthy and that there are no extenuating circumstances. Also,
as a general rule, every hour of sleep had before midnight is like two hours
itself is an enticing sleep inhibitor because it can become addicting. Many
will watch it transfixed into the early hours disrupting a would be natural
and normal sleep pattern. The same goes for computers. There is no remedy
for these two culprits in sleeplessness and insomnia other than turning them
off! This may not be as easy as it may sound for some. When addicted to
these habits and one tries to go back to a more normal sleep habit by trying
to go to bed earlier, one will find that they will not fall asleep. It can
take between 20-30 days of going to bed and awaking at a consistent time
before the body reestablishes this routine again.
Clearly these are not situations of
insomnia created by bodily imbalances. They need to be addressed through the
exercising of the will to bring ones life under control.
commercials can be taken as an indicator it would seem that insomnia and
sleeplessness have become an epidemic. Remedies are advertised relentlessly
for this very common problem. For the most part what is being offered as a
solution is various forms of nervous system suppressors. Many of these are
well known and have been prescribed for decades. Most of these have a common
side effect of dependency and eventual ineffectiveness.
It is estimated that over 40 million Americans
suffer from sleep disorders in general and most use an over the counter
pharmaceutical product to help themselves. But, it should be remembered that
being unconscious is not the same as being asleep. Many products when taken
will "knock you out" but the question is, does this equate to actually being
Many people who have been operated on have been
anesthetized which is a sort of numbing of the body that definitely appears
to have the properties of sleep. However, upon awakening these people feel
anything but rested. Many who take products for sleep feel the same way.
If someone is not sleeping it would seem that
their nervous system due to its not being rested becomes debilitated and
consequently weakened. It would seem that if the nervous system is already
weakened from fatigue that it may benefit from fortification to
reestablish its proper tension rather than being further suppressed through
nervous system suppressors.
Traditional Herbal Theory uses a very different
paradigm to approach this problem. From the Traditional Herbal perspective;
insomnia has two main forms; 1)not being
able to fall asleep and 2) awakening; once after having already fallen asleep and
then not being able to get back to sleep.
When someone is not sleeping there are only a
few reasons why this might occur. Apart from apparent daily worries, which
will be addressed later, the main organ that controls sleep is the liver.
Many will laugh at this notion saying, "what does the liver got to do with
sleep; it has no apparent connection to the nerves or brain or heart. No, no
there must be another more complex reason why so many cannot sleep. Perhaps
genetics, DNA, or some other mysterious yet undiscovered hormone."
The liver as it is well known is the main filter
of the body and controls the economy of blood in the body. In other words,
it cleans the blood of its solid wastes produced by the body and from eating.
It draws the bodies blood into itself for cleaning when the body is
inactive (as in sleep) and then releases it back to the body in larger
amounts when the body is more active. This latter activity is responsible
for why some people (even relatively young people and especially women) feel
hot and cold without apparent reason. But, it is during the night, when the body is the least active,
that the liver is at its
most active that it can produce sleeplessness. Why? Because if the liver is
unencumbered it will do its tasks effortlessly but if it is encumbered it
has to become over-active in order to do its work. This over activity
awakens people after they have already fallen asleep; usually between 12am
to 3am. This over activity is like trying to sleep in the midst of
commotion. Only the commotion is not outside of the body, it is within the
body - in the liver.
This being the case, rather than a natural
sleeping or nerve remedy, a good natural liver remedy
will usually be more helpful for some people. Having a clean liver usually prevents this type of sleeplessness
from happening. See Liver Cleanse
The second main cause of sleeplessness prevents
a person from initially falling asleep and is described as a situation where
the "brain will not shut itself off," or having a "restless mind." It
seems that the days events play themselves back over and over again. In spite
of being incredibly tired this hyper activity mental activity seems never ending.
This is apart from the effects of a possible stimulant like coffee.
This second reason also has very simple causes
that directly effect the nerves. Stress is a common part of everyday life in
today’s world. Normal activity does not produce stress. The heavy emotional
burdens that are part of today’s life produce the stress and the stress
affects the body and our finer being and it’s senses.
Stress is a state of mind that produces
"emotional overwork." While in this state a person consumes their energies
faster than they can replenish them, depleting their body. In simple terms
stress is a state of fear. Without fear there can be no stress.
The effect of this depletion is a loss of
energy, which the entire body and all of its organs need in order to
properly function. The organ’s ability to produce what the body needs to
sustain its finer parts diminish, depleting the nerves and the ability to keep the body’s
blood clean is also diminished to the extent that toxins remain in
circulation in the blood stream which is narcoticising. The body’s own
toxicity is also dehydrating (liver) so water and good quality (red grape) fruit juices are
helpful. The net result is that the nerves are underfed of their specific
food and as a result loose their proper tension. They become less capable of
carrying messages and become easily overloaded. Everything, even little
things becomes an "overwhelming" situation. At night the nerves are unable
to relax and sleep is hard to come by.
The main organ in charge of harvesting and
converting the energy for the body is the Stomach with its immediate
satellites, the spleen and pancreas. If this group of organs are in good
health falling asleep would be effortless for most people. If it is simply
been a trying day simple Valerian herb can work just fine. But if the spleen
has become overworked a more specific remedy may be indicated. The spleen is
of special interest as it is the starting point of blood production and the
harvesting of food for the nerves. Should the onset of sleeplessness be due
to stress and the subsequent depletion of the spleen, a good
might be helpful.
Related to the concept of general depletion is also
the function of the kidneys. If there is prolonged stress it is also
possible for the kidneys and/or the adrenals to be come depleted resulting
in insomnia. One of the best remedies is the tincture of wild oats.
This is a kidney remedy that can also be extremely effective for
sleeplessness. If it is going to work, it will generally work right away
with the very first dose.
It should be noted that in general natural nerve
and sleep remedies do not "knock you out." They generally relax without
producing inebriation. Often, they also produce an invigoration as they
relax; which may seem counterintuitive at first. But, if one accepts that
insomnia is due to a depletion rather than a direct over stimulation the
calming yet energizing effect makes sense and permits normal sleep.
Although it may seem obvious; indigestion is
another obvious reason why many people do not fall asleep at night. A heavy
meal before going to bed or eating too late in the evening is for many
people the cause of that night’s insomnia. Clearly a digestive aid would
serve their purpose better than a sleeping aid.
It should also be remembered that a regular and
habitual sleeping and awakening routine gets the body into a state that is
more receptive for sleep and awakening at a regular hour. A good routine is
generally good for the body.
Another habit that is promoted by spas is the
notion of early to bed, early to rise. Every hour of sleep that is had
before midnight is like having two hours after midnight. And, oversleeping
is worse for the body than what is considered to be under-sleeping. Sleeping
during the day should be discouraged if one wishes to sleep better at night.
Sleeping during the day is actually not very beneficial unless someone is in
need of convalescence.
Many people who live a very long and healthy
life often do not sleep more than 5 - 7 hours a night. The rationale being
that the circulation of blood through the body and its organs is impeded
when the body is laying horizontal due to the bodies own weight pressing on
to its organs. This is an old theory that is worthy of further
Also See the Health Topics listed below for applications of Digestorum
Note: It must be
noted that the Traditional/Natural way of looking at things is quite different
from the present day accepted view. This simpler form of reasoning suggests a
solution in simpler and more direct terms. Example: If you have a machine consisting of
about 400 parts, it can logically be concluded that there can only be 400
possible things that can go wrong with the machine and no more. The Human body
consists of a finite number of vital organs that support and maintain life. If
there is an ailment it stands to reason that if there is a problem there can
only be a finite set of problems the number of which cannot exceed the number of