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Sleep is an opportunity for the brain and
body to rest and be restored. In addition, many functions important
to good health take place during sleep at night. The amount of sleep
that people need can vary widely. Infants may need up to twenty
hours; many children need from ten to fourteen per night. The
average requirement for adults is estimated at six to eight hours,
but many people need much more than that—feeling chronically
stressed and compromised, both physically and mentally, because of
insufficient sleep. Homeopathic remedies are useful during episodes
of insomnia, and may also help individuals with longer-standing
sleep disorders. If problems are serious or very distressing,
consult a professional homeopath.
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of
this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional
Guidance” in What
Aconitum napellus: This remedy can
be helpful if a person panics with insomnia. Fear and agitation come
on suddenly when the person is drifting off to sleep, or may even
wake a sleeping person up.
Arsenicum album: People who need
this remedy are often anxious and compulsive about small details,
and have trouble sleeping if they feel that everything is not in
place. They are often deeply weary and exhausted, yet feel restless
physically and mentally. Sleep, when it arrives, can be anxious and
disturbed, with dreams full of fear and insecurity.
Calcarea phosphorica: This remedy
is often helpful to children with growing pains, and also to adults
who have aching in the joints and bones, or neck and shoulder
tension that make it hard to fall asleep. The person lies awake for
many hours, feeling upset and irritable—then has trouble waking in
the morning, feeling deeply tired and weak.
Cocculus: This remedy is often
helpful to those who feel “too tired to sleep” after long-term
sleep loss—from getting up with an infant, taking care of someone
who is ill, a disruptive work schedule, travel and jet lag, or
chronic worry and insomnia. The person may feel weak and dizzy, with
trouble thinking, and may be sleepy, irritable, or tearful.
Coffea cruda: Mental excitement and
nervous stimulation that keep a person from sleeping suggest a need
for remedy. Thoughts preventing sleep can be happy or distressing.
The person may be looking forward to something that will happen in
the morning, but feels stressed and exhausted as the night wears on.
If the person falls asleep, it is usually very light with vivid
dreams, and disturbed by any little noise or motion. (This remedy
can also help if overuse of caffeine is the cause of sleeplessness.)
Ignatia: If insomnia is caused by
emotional upset (grief or loss, a disappointment in love, a shock,
or even an argument) this remedy may be helpful. The person is
sensitive and nervous, and may often sigh and yawn in the daytime,
but find it hard to relax at night. As the person tries to fall
asleep, the arms and legs may twitch or itch. If sleep arrives, it
is usually light, with jerking of the legs and arms, or long and
Kali phosphoricum: A person with
insomnia from nervous exhaustion caused by overwork or mental
strain, or following a taxing illness, may respond to this remedy.
The person is very weak and sensitive to everything (noise, lights,
touch, and pain). Irritability, depression, and anxiety with an
empty feeling in the stomach are often seen.
Lycopodium: People who need this
remedy often have no memory of dreams and often doubt that they have
slept at all. Insomnia may set in primarily because of worry: lack
of confidence can make them doubt their own abilities, although they
are usually very capable. Insomnia caused by digestive trouble,
especially gas, can also indicate a need for this remedy. The person
feels drowsy after meals, but has trouble sleeping at bedtime.
Ravenous hunger in the night that wakes a person up is another
indication for Lycopodium.
Nux vomica: People who have
insomnia after over-indulgence in stimulants, food, and drink—or
after overexertion, either physically or mentally—may benefit from
this remedy. They may be able to drift off, but sleep is light, and
they often awaken in the early morning (typically three a.m.) and
lie awake for hours. On getting up, they are tense, impatient, and
irritable, with a feeling that they sorely need more sleep.
Silicea (also called Silica): This
is a useful remedy for nervous people with low stamina who get too
tired, then have insomnia. The person often goes to sleep at first,
but awakens suddenly with a hot or surging feeling in the head—and
finds it hard to fall asleep again. People who need this remedy
usually have anxious dreams, and some (especially children)
Sulphur: This remedy may be helpful
if insomnia comes from itching—or an increasing feeling of heat in
bed, especially in the feet. The person is irritable and anxious,
and often feels a need to throw the covers off. Lying awake between
two and five a.m. is typical. Insomnia that develops because of a
lack of exercise may also be helped with Sulphur.
Zincum metallicum: People who need
this remedy often have insomnia from mental activity. They can get
wound up from overwork—or be naturally inclined toward nervousness
and just have trouble relaxing. Their legs and arms often feel
extremely restless, and lying still in bed may be impossible. Even
during the daytime, a person who needs this remedy may feel a
constant need to move the muscles.
Select the remedy that
most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a
physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C)
should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one
dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue
to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags
significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be
taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and
the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times
an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a
day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be
If no response is seen
within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What
is Homeopathy? and Understanding
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Online is for informational purposes only. It is based on
scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical
experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article.
The results reported may not necessarily occur in all
individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment
with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also
available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented
healthcare practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health
problem and before using any supplements or before making
any changes in prescribed medications.
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