For World Sleep Day 2021, I thought it would be timely to write about sleep, and how Homeopathy and natural therapies can help restore natural sleep.
It will come as no surprise that insomnia statistics are rocketing during the pandemic, and that people should have as many options for treatment as possible, because the research shows that one size does not fit all.
Let's look at some recent statistics for insomnia and Coronasomnia:
· In 2017, Mintel report that 1:4 adults experience insomnia with nearly 50% of those being women.1 That's because hormonal shifts experienced by women affect the delicately balanced endocrine system and stress from the juggling act of life creates the high levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the blood which disrupts sleep
· Researchers at Southampton University reported a sharp increase in anxiety-related sleeplessness in mothers, key workers and those with BAME heritage2
· Social restrictions have disrupted sleep which affects immunity.3
· Researchers report how sleep can improve outcomes for Covid-194
· Researchers link severity of Covid-19 to gut health5
The conventional approach to treating insomnia
Most people's first experience of sleep medicine is called sleep hygiene, a series of practical tips, guidance and advice which certainly set the scene for good sleep, but research confirms that sleep hygiene alone is not enough to help people sleep.6 Some people may be recommended a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ("CBT") but that will depend on your health authority's resources. CBT can help change behaviour around problematic habits but this approach doesn't work for everyone. Failing that, medication is often a last resort for persistent and chronic insomnia.
Homeopathy & Natural Therapies – the 'roots & branch' approach
I have worked as a Homeopath and Natural Health Consultant for over 20 years and have helped countless clients with all types of health problems and associated sleep conditions.
Sleep is a great indicator of health and wellbeing – a bridge between the mind and body – and is why it forms part of my standard case taking. I have a wealth of experience and expertise in treating sleep and, while reading an article on insomnia, the penny dropped: the research confirms the efficacy of Homeopathy and natural therapies for insomnia,7-10 and further research shows that there is the desire for natural alternatives for insomnia, and Sleepability was born!
What makes Homeopathy so effective is its simplicity. Each client and their prescription are individualised meaning no two people's insomnia is the same, because each person is unique as are the causes of insomnia. Your life and response to a stressor will be different from another person's experience of the same event. Equally, your medical and that of your family is unique.
To arrive at a bespoke remedy, expert case taking identifies that unusual and perhaps unique element in your case. For example, we work out what helps or hinder your insomnia; what worries or stresses you; perhaps you resort to drinking to help yourself wind down; or find yourself overeating and suffering with indigestion at night; perhaps you're in pain, or experiencing side effects from your medication; maybe you drive yourself to excel or perhaps the opposite – you've let if all go now you're working remotely; perhaps you're lonely, or are better without company; or maybe vivid or repetitive dreams are keeping you from sleep. This will give you an idea of how unique everyone's insomnia is and is why the 'one size fits all' will only ever have limited effectiveness. The key to the long term solution is you.
Nutrition & the Gut
You've probably heard it before but gut health but it is absolutely fundamental to your sleep, immunity and mental health. This is because the microbiome is by far the biggest producer of the sleep hormone, Melatonin.11 See my suggestions below and start from today to improve your gut health and sleep.
Sleep & Mental Health
Research has confirmed a direct and bidirectional link between sleep and mental health,12 so any steps you take to improve your sleep will improve your mental health, and vice versa. In terms of immunity, medical science is encouraged to promote sleep health for therapeutic control of chronic infectious, inflammatory and mental health disorders.13,14
Stress & Anxiety
Stress Management is another string to the Sleepability bow as I find people need practical tips to empower them to manage their sleeplessness. The stress may be personal or work-related but regardless of cause, the stress hormones produced will prevent you from sleeping.15-19 This is where a truly holistic approach to sleeplessness is effective. Homeopathy and Nutrition can help take your body off of 'red alert' and break the stress hormone cycle, to help restore your sleep naturally. In my experience, no amount of sleep hygiene tips will help a person who is stressed, anxious or suffering from trauma, bereavement or shock.
My Top 4 Tips
My 'roots & branch' combines the best of sleep hygiene with Homeopathy and natural remedies.
1. Healthy Gut = Healthy Sleep. From today, start taking one or more of the following:
· Kefir Yoghurt, Kombucha (non dairy option), Sauerkraut & Kimchi, Prebiotic and Probiotic supplements, Sea Buckthorn supplement
· Eat more fibre (fruit, veg, pulses, nuts and wholegrains to feed gut flora)
2. Homeopathy & Natural Therapies. Using my 'root & branch' approach, I identify the cause of your insomnia with expert case taking and restore sleep using bespoke homeopathic remedies, nutrition and stress management.
3. Go Outside! Sunlight activates Vitamin D, which helps promote Melatonin production (the sleep hormone). Get out for at least 20 minutes per day – both ends of the day if you can. For more from information on Vitamin D from a world authority, please see the work of Dr Holick
4. Ditch the Tech. One of the biggest sleep myths is tech to help you sleep! The bedroom is for rest and intimacy only – not your gadgets. Electromagnetic radiation interferes with your sleep brainwaves. De-SMART your home, switch off your tech 2 hours before bedtime - and that includes your router at the plug point!
For more information, see my Top 7 Tips – the journey to natural sleep.
Invest in your rest. Because sleep matters.
1 Mintel 2017: "The Wide Awake Club: half of Brits struggle to sleep' - research
2 Falkingham, J et al, 2020: 'Women with young children, key workers and BAME groups losing sleep during coronavirus pandemic' - article
3 de Sousa Martins E Silva, E et al, 2020: 'Sleep and immunity in times of Covid-19' - paper
4 Hamblin, J, 2020: 'The Mysterious link between Covid-19 and Sleep'; The Atlantic - article
6 Irish et al, 2014: "The role of sleep hygiene in promoting public health: A review of empirical evidence". paper
Homeopathy & Natural Therapies
7 Naude et al, 2010: "Chronic primary insomnia: efficacy of homeopathic simillimum" - paper
8 Michael et al, 2019: "Efficacy of individualised homeopathic treatment of insomnia: double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial" - paper
9 Wei, M, Harvard Health Publishing, 2015: "Yoga for Better Sleep" - paper
10 Lillehei, A & Halcon, L, 2014: "A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep" - paper
11 Li et al, 2018: - 'The role of the microbiome in insomnia, circadian disturbance and insomnia - paper
12 Abbot, J, 2016: 'What's the link between insomnia and mental illness?' – The Conversation - article
13 Irwin, 2015: 'Why sleep is important for health: a physchoneuroimmunology perspective' - paper
14 Irwin & Opp, 2017: 'Sleep Health: reciprocal regulation of sleep and innate immunity' - paper
15 Kalmbach et al, 2018: "The impact of stress on sleep: Pathogenic sleep reactivity as a vulnerability to insomnia and circadian disorders" - paper
16 Medrano-Martinez & Ramos-Platon, 2016: "Cognitive and emotional alterations in chronic insomnia" - paper
17 CIPD, 2020: "Quarter of employees believe bullying and harassment are overlooked" - article
18 Linton, S, 2004: "Does work stress predict insomnia? A prospective study" - paper
19 Utsugi, M et al, 2005: "Relationships of Occupational Stress to Insomnia and Short Sleep in Japanese Workers" - paper
Sleepability - The Natural Sleep Clinic