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Complementary medicine.

Byline: Dr Yvonne Casey

THERE'S nothing like getting into a nice, comfy bed and falling asleep after a busy day.

Except that it's not always as easy as that. What if you lie there for hours and can't get to sleep?

Insomnia is a horrible, strength-sapping problem that can really get you down. Ironically, it's often the people who work the hardest and feel most tired who just can't seem to nod off.

It's not so bad if it's a one-off, but for a great number of unfortunate individuals, this can become a nightly occurrence.

No matter how hard you try to relax, if there is something preying on your mind it tends to creep into your head at night and won't go away.

People are kept awake for a variety of reasons. However, there is little doubt that the most common cause is anxiety. This often reflects the stresses and strains of everyday life.

The stresses of modern living touches children, too - more than ever with the exposure to TV and action-packed computer games. Their systems are so alert that it takes some time to wind down and settle.

A few sensible steps need to be followed in such cases.

Remember, eating too late at night will not help the problem - your main meal of the day should be at least four hours before bedtime.

Going for a walk can help to induce sleep. It has the beneficial effects of tiring the body, while relaxing the mind.

So many people resort to taking tranquillisers and often unwillingly.

Herbal and homoeopathic remedies have sedative and relaxing properties to help with the problem, without the addictive and hangover effects often associated with commonly-prescribed drugs.

Valeriana-Hops Complex is a herbal remedy that combines Valerian and Hops to

help with sleep disorders.

Valerian improves the ability to fall asleep, as well as the quality of your slumbers.

And hops is excellent in dealing with restlessness, anxiety and tension, resulting in sleep problems.

Take 20-30 drops in a little water about half an hour before bedtime. The gentle action of these herbs also makes it suitable for children, who should take half the adult dose.

Insomnia may be due to a specific cause. The following remedies can be invaluable in individual cases:

Aconite - For sleeplessness after shock or panic.

Arsen Album - If you wake around 12-2am, feel restless internally, worried and apprehensive.

Chamomilla - For sleepless, crying children, associated with teething, colic and wanting to be carried around.

Cocculus - Feeling too tired to sleep. Often associated with nursing someone with a chronic illness.

Coffea - Sleeplessness with physical restlessness and a feeling you cannot switch your mind off.

Ignatia - Sleeplessness after bereavement or emotional upset.

Lycopodium - If your mind tends to go over the events of the day, you're dreaming and sleep talking a lot.

Nux Vom - For insomnia after over-indulgence or overwork.

Pulsatilla - Good if you are unable to sleep after rich food, feel too warm in bed, throw the covers off and then feel cold.

Rhus Tox - If you are irritable and restless, with pain and discomfort.
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Title Annotation:Health
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 23, 2002
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