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When sleeping is a N I G H T M A R E

By Genie Rowson

The term “insomnia” basically means having trouble sleeping. People with insomnia either have difficulty in falling asleep, sleeping for long enough, or sleeping deeply enough. Disordered sleep can include descriptions such as wakefulness, sleeplessness, poor quality of sleep, frequent waking, interrupted sleep, waking up too soon, sleeping too lightly, difficulty switching off and falling asleep, or difficulty remaining asleep all night.
During every consultation in my practice, I always ask the simple question, “How well do you sleep”. Very often the answer will be: “I sleep terribly. I just can’t switch off and fall asleep”. My second question is, “How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?”
 
If you do not feel refreshed on waking, then you haven’t slept well (or enough). Sleep needs vary greatly from individual to individual. Some people function fabulously on four hours’ sleep a night, while others need more than ten to feel at their best.

Insomnia is a common disorder affecting millions of people. It is caused by any number of conditions, diseases or circumstances.

I remember as a child struggling to sleep at boarding school in the UK. I was ten thousand kilometres from home and, being used to my wonderful warm country in Africa, I always felt cold at night. I was often homesick and cried myself to sleep; the other kids kept me awake with their torches, noise and chattering; the stodgy English meals made me feel bloated and gave me a sore tummy; and I often felt anxious and couldn’t fall asleep when I knew I had a French lesson with the frightening Mrs Drabble the next day (which might as well have been gibberish to me!)

Sleep is essential for mental and physical restoration, and I always felt tired and irritable. When my parents got divorced and moved to separate homes, I felt very ungrounded and insecure. That made sleep at school an ongoing nightmare for me. My mother, a nurse, used to send me back to school with some powerful little half-tablets that made me feel completely zonked-out the next day, unable to cope – emotionally, mentally or physically – with a normal school day. Needless to say, I was never much of an achiever at school and when I look back, it all seems a bit of a blur! No wonder.

My insomnia improved a hundredfold after leaving school. I learnt to avoid certain foods and stimulants, maintain a routine at bedtime, keep a peaceful and quiet environment, and not to think about any “issues” before retiring. All went well on the sleep front until I got married and our five little bundles of joy arrived, in quick succession, over a period seven years! I became so exhausted that I could easily nod off almost in an standing position! Something I would never have believed possible previously, when I was extremely fastidious about my sleep! Motherhood taught me to forget about myself and be grateful for any snatched moments of shut-eye – no matter how little or interrupted. As our children grew up, I learnt that there were so many reasons behind sleeping troubles –  an overactive mind or excitability, anxiety, discomfort, sickness, pain, noise and light, teething, hunger/thirst, excessive heat/cold, mosquitoes(!), someone else’s snoring(!), breathing difficulties, a blocked nose, bedwetting, fear/nervousness, night terrors, and emotional upsets.

After practising natural medicine for so many years, my list of reasons why people cannot sleep has grown extensively to include urinary disorders and frequent visits to the loo, shift work, jet lag, excessive stimulants during the day such as caffeine drinks, tea and coffee, nicotine and alcohol, depression, heartburn/reflux, diet/digestion-related disorders, lack of exercise, excessive mental stress or study; hormonal imbalances, hot flushes and night sweats, restless legs, grief, shock, trauma and so many more! Most common is insomnia brought on as a side effects of conventional medicines such as anti-histamines, anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants, cough suppressants, anti-biotics, anti-inflammatories and many types of painkillers, to mention just a few.

Treatment

Besides making the obvious practical changes in one’s daily life and circumstances, there are a number of other options to treat insomnia and help improve your quality of sleep:

Conventional or allopathic medicine is excellent for suppression of symptoms and is therefore best for short-term use only (less than a month) in cases of emergency or crisis. The commonly used Benzodiazepine, barbiturate drugs and what are called the Zzzz’s such a Zolpidem, wiill assuredly “knock you out”, but you are unlikely to feel refreshed on waking and are likely to experience many of the nasty side effects which may keep the sufferer on a never-ending treadmill of emotional, mental and physical disorders. The longer you take such a sleeping drug, the more addictive it becomes and the more difficult it is to come off. It is important to understand that conventional medicine treats sleep (and most other) disorders by suppression; in other words, by hiding the problem. 
 
Vibrational Medicine, on the other hand, aims to correct the real dis-order or dis-ease that is causing the sleeping problem. Because it is such a gentle (but powerful) system of medicine with no harmful side-effects, it is ideal for self-help when treating common everyday ailments. It can also be used to good effect in conjunction with allopathic medicine. While allopathic medicine generally works by suppression of one’s symptoms, Vibrational Medicine boosts the body’s innate healing ability and encourages our healing mechanisms, bringing about true healing. Over the years I have used many different remedies to successfully correct many different causes of sleep disorders for my patients as well as my family. Click here for our top remedies for sleeping