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Home :: Insomnia

Insomnia - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Habitual sleeplessness is classified as insomnia. It is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep
  • waking up too early in the morning
  • un-refreshing sleep

There are no hard and fast rules about how much sleep is enough, because every individual's requirements are different. Some people can function on as little as five hours of sleep a night, while others seem to perform better with nine, ten, or even more hours of sleep. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep nightly in order to feel refreshed and operate at peak efficiency during the day. Children, especially very young children and adolescents, generally require more sleep than adults to be at their best. It is not uncommon for people to sleep less as they get older, especially after the age of sixty.

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia can result from a wide variety of causes, including arthritis, asthma, breathing problems, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, indigestion, kidney or heart disease, muscle aches, Parkinson's disease, or physical pain. Caffeine consumption, jet lag, and the use of certain drugs, including many antidepressants, the antiseizure medication phenytoin (Dilantin), most appetite suppressants, beta-blockers (medications used for high blood pressure and heart ailments), the decongestant pseudoephedrine (found in many cold and allergy remedies), and thyroid hormone replacement drugs can also lead to insomnia.

Insomnia symptoms

Signs and symptoms of insomnia may include:

  • Inability to get enough sleep at night
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Waking up feeling tired, even after a full night's sleep
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Daytime irritability

Vitamins and nutrients for insomnia

Suggested dosage
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids 500 mg daily
Very important for reducing stress.
Zinc 15 mg daily Aids in the recovery of body tissues while sleeping
Vitamin B complex As directed on label Helps to promote a restful state

Herbs for insomnia treatment

  • California poppy, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, and valerian root, taken in capsule or extract form, are all good for helping to overcome insomnia. Valerian root has become the favorite among many experts. It is best not to rely on one herb on a regular basis, but to rotate among several. Take these herbs before bedtime.
  • Kava kava is a good relaxant. If stress or anxiety is the reason for your insomnia, this herb can help you develop better sleep patterns.
  • The combination of California poppy, passionflower, and valerian promote sound sleep and beneficial REM sleep. California poppy and chamomile will strengthen the nervous system to calm you before bedtime.
  • A combination herbal extract such as Slumber from Nature's Answer or Silent Night from Nature's Way can be helpful.
Considerations and prevention tips
  • Avoid alcohol. A small amount can help induce sleep initially, but it invariably disrupts deeper sleep cycles later.
  • Avoid heavy meals three hours before bedtime.
  • In the evening, eat bananas, dates, figs, milk, nut butter, tuna, turkey, and whole grain crackers, or yogurt. These foods are high in tryptophan, which promotes sleep. Eating a grapefruit half at bedtime also helps.
  • Exercise regularly in the late afternoon or early evening-but not right before bedtime. Physical exertion is an excellent way to make your body tired so that sleep comes about more easily.
  • A lack of sleep can encourage serious illness and cause premature aging. Experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Do not nap during the day if this isn't a normal thing for you to do.

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