Saturday, 9 January 2010

Insomnia & Sleeplessness Part I

It is hard to understand the consequences of insomnia in one's life. It affects everything - your thoughts, feelings and mood, ability to function, your work, your happiness. It wears you down making all problems  seem larger and more unmanageable than they actually  are. It affects your relationships as the 'negative' side of one's personality emerges because of this 'overwhelm'. Of course, sleep deprivation has always been considered a good method of torture - as the thought processes become disturbed and the unconscious blends with and bursts into conscious life, changing one's perspective on 'reality' and revealing deep vulnerability.

"I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark"

Mary Stewart 

Imagine if you can't do what Mary Stewart said?

What are the different types of insomnia?

Sleeplessness can be mild or severe. Mild sleep disturbance can involve frequent waking. The waking can be as a result of physical symptoms such as the need to go to the toilet, from body temperature- coldness or overheating,  thirst, hunger, or pain, or conditions such as arthritis for example. When a person wakes too often, the length of time experiencing quality sleep is reduced. Falling asleep after waking may be difficult. So a full night's rest becomes impossible. And of course all those mothers out there with small or older children often have interrupted nights when their children come in needing company, because they are frightened or simply because they are early wakers!
Sometimes people are able to fall asleep with no problems but wake later in the night as a result of anxiety, stress or an overactive mind and racing thoughts - making plans for the next day, going over conversations in their minds, pondering a life problem. Once wide awake, they do not sleep again.
Some people cannot get to sleep no matter how they try and  they lie for hours trying to relax but becoming more and more tense, imagining what it will be like to go through yet another day- unrested.
Insomnia can come in phases - it can last a week or three weeks. For some people, it is not a constant in their lives just a temporary guest. For others, it is more serious and chronic an always an issue.

What causes it?

There are as many different causes as there are sufferers! But to name a few: poor indigestion, kidney and bladder problems, pain, illness, stress (a broken down nervous sysem) , anxiety, grief, parenting, interrupted circadian rhythms from shift work, travel, over-tiredness and exhaustion, back problems, cold and heat, night sweats, nightmares, excessive dreaming or lack of REM sleep, poor mattress and bad quality bed, geopathic stress (e.g. poor bedroom layout , furnishings and too much electrical equipment), disharmony with sleeping partner, pregnancy and the list goes on..............

What help is there?

Conventionally - for severe insmonia, the help has consisted of sleeping tablets. Or for mild insomnia the advice  "get on with it - it's not that bad" seems to suffice (usually given by a person who has never had the experience)! I actually am not completely against sleeping tablets in emergencies but it is not a cure nor is it a long-term solution. Sleeping tablets are addictive. Also, you will never dream during sleeping-tablet-induced-sleep; it shuts off a particular part of your psyche. Many people report unrefreshing sleep (which means they do not feel as though they had slept properly)  and many other side -effects such as being generally slowed down the following day, unable to concentrate etc.

In the world of alternative medicine and natural health - there are so many potential solutions.These have no side-effects, are safe to use, and address the causes rather than the symptoms .That way, you know that it is a more permanent solution. Insomnia is the end-result, not the original problem.  Be aware of the uniqueness of your particular experience  and  choose what is right for you, and understand why you have insomnia. And do not lose hope.

Here are some  tips to start with, from my experience. Bear in mind, that I have divided this topic into several posts, as it is so comprehensive. Stay connected for the upcoming posts - follow me or subscribe to this blog.  If you have a question or wish to describe your particular form of insomnia, I may be able to give you more individualised advice! Feel free to comment.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

What to do when you have a fall?

The whole of  Ireland is experiencing a cold snap not seen for over 50 years. Snow and ice everywhere. And also many injuries from slipping and falling. The A&E departments are under pressure. Some people can take a fall (young people, fit people). Despite bruising and soreness. Others, however, who are elderly, or who have had broken bones before or who have some struggle with walking and balance - to these people it is traumatic. One can lose confidence, be very uncertain and have to pick out one's steps going forward. For the elderly it can be a disastrous happening. Say you have a hip replacement and then have a bad fall? What if you have brittle bones, more easily fractured? If you are overweight and fall badly then you will be more likely to be injured as well. For some people the fear of falling is a tangible and horrible fear.

So homeopathy provides a miracle remedy for just these scenarios. Don't ever go around without it!

ARNICA MONTANA. This remedy will help you with the effects of a bad fall, blow to the body, injury of any kind. It heals bruising, relieves pain, relieves shock. Sometimes the shock and upset from a previous fall can almost leave you predisposed to experiencing another one. Taking Arnica will prevent the susceptibility to the same event. have you ever thought is strange that sometimes people experience injury in exactly the same spot from a previous incident?  Have you ever seen someone fall really badly and then get up and claim they are fine, they don't need any help and they hardly feel the pain? That is the shock speaking. It is only later that they will feel the pain. Especially after a night's sleep. All their muscles, all of their body will protest. However a few doses  of Arnica prevents the bodily outcry! Take 30c or take 200c tablets. Arnica will help give complete pain relief even if a bone is broken. It speeds healing and recovery.

You can also use Arnica Cream to alleviate bruising - it works wonders!

For people who break a bone or several after falling. Take Arnica. Then wait until the bone is properly set by a medical expert. Beware though of a cast that extends over too large an area. Unnecessary coverage will add to muscle wastage and lengthen recovery of the whole part. Beware too of over-long periods of time spent with a cast on. Medics set one standard parameter for healing and everyone is expected to take the exact same period of time to recover despite individual differences in bodily health.

Once the bone has been set in place, you can take the following to speed the mending and repair:

Symphytum 30c. The common name for this remedy is Boneset - and that is because this will help the bone tissue to knit together very fast indeed. It can halve recovery time, in my experience. Take one or two doses a day for 10 days up until 3 weeks. Depending on the severity. with multiple fractures - you will need to take a good bit. However, remember only after the bone is set , otherwise the tissue will knit back in the wrong place.

Cell Salts: Calc-phos. This speeds healing of bones and strengthens them.

If the fracture has been at the site of a joint - take Cell Salts Calc-fluor every day.

If in the past, you have been slow to heal, whether it is from a small cut or a larger injury then you will need to support your body's healing capacities. Take Cell Salts Silica to achieve this.

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about how these simple remedies can help you in daily life- why not have a look at this book: Homeopathic Cell Salt Remedies: Healing with Nature's Twelve Mineral Compounds

If after a bad fall, you have alot of fear of the same thing happening again and are anxious and afraid, and you have lost your confidence; take Aconite 30c.

Sometimes, there are other complications after a bad fall that have long-lasting effects beyond the specific injury. A shock to the body can activate latent illness, ready to appear as a result of genetic predisposition and heredity. You develop a complaint that seems unrelated to the event and which you have never before experienced, but which seems here to stay - like an illness. It's a "Never well since..." scenario. For situations like this, consult a homeopath for individualised treatment.

So be careful as you go, and go lightly ...but remember there is help on hand to minimise the damage as a result of falling. A secure footing gives us alot in life.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Giving up Smoking

A popular New Year's resolution - this one! And for many people it is difficult to achieve. I have spoken to some smokers who said it was easy to give up once they had made a conscious decision and through a single act of will they stopped and never went back smoking. I have also spoken to people who have done this and who resumed smoking again even years later. Many ex-smokers cannnot bear the smell of smoke and are less tolerant to smoking than people who have never themselves smoked before. But many people have a serious nicotine addiction which is a physical craving. In my experience, smokers have several things in common.

  • A certain lack of confidence
  • Stress, but most especially a build up of suppressed anger
  • A potentially addictive personality. Smoking seems to allay the dangers of choosing other substances.

I usually recommend Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Most people find it good but not all.

What can you use to help yourself, if you have decided to give up?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Airport and Travel Stress during the Holidays

I just returned from my Christmas travels - generally they passed off very well but not without the usual bodily stress of many hours spent in the airport, on buses, trains and trams. Hours spent in air-conditioned, centrally heated atmospheres with no fresh air and nothing green. Time spent under the continual glare of fluorescent lighting, not to mention engine and equipment noise. Hours spent on one's feet, crowded amidst many strangers.

So, any tips for feeling better? How do you remain at ease while travelling ? Jet-lag, aching muscles, stress.....
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