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Sleeplessness

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 Is Homeopathy?

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 troubling nightmares.

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) sleepwalk frequently.

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.

Single Remedies Remedy Kits
Combination  Remedies Topicals
Pet  Remedies Bach Flower Remedies

Homeopathy Dosage Directions

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.

Many homeopathic 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 sufficient.

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 Homeopathic Potencies.

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The information presented in Healthnotes 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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