First off, I would like to say that I'm not a physician and no part of
my answer should be construed as medical advice.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep for the
Sometimes insomnia is due to temporary disruptions like jet lag, a
change in work shift, or a stressful or traumatic life situation.
Other reasons could be age (elderly), asthma (bronchocilators may
cause it), or excessive computer work.
There may be an underlying physical cause for insomnia like
gastroesophageal reflux or heart disease. Therefore it is a good
idea to consult a physician about it.
These are some of the classic signs of insomnia:
- not feeling refreshed after sleep
- inability to sleep even when tired
- daytime drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, or difficulty concentrating
- anxiety as bedtime approaches
Here are some recommendations for self-help behavioral regimens for insomnia:
- go to bed only when sleepy
- establish a consistent bed and wake-up time,
- get out of bed after lying awake for more than 15-20 minutes,
- avoid reading, watching TV, eating, worrying and other
sleep-incompatible behaviors in the bed and bedroom
- try not to nap, especially in the evening
- keep the bedroom cool, well ventilated, quiet, and dark
- don't drink fluids just before bedtime
- eat a carbohydrate snack like cereal or crackers just before bedtime
Some dietary supplements and herbs that may be effective in inducing
- L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
- valarian (Valeriana offininalis)
- kava kava (Piper methysticum)
Melatonin, a hormone once in the news as a sleep-aid miracle, has lost
some of its luster. A US government review of many melatonin studies
showed that it does not help for insomnia due to jet lag or shift
changes. There were not enough well-designed studies to show whether
melatonin helps in other types of insomnia. Therefore, the National
Institutes of Health has set up a careful study for the use melatonin
in the elderly.
Non-prescription sleep-inducing aids such as diphenhydramine
(Benadryl) may be used safely for up to four weeks according to the
University of Maryland's health site.
I hope it's not you who suffer from insomnia, but if it is, I do hope this helps.
All the best,
Search terms: insomnia site:.org
insomnia melatonin site:.gov