Through the course of life, we have all been victim to a sleepless night or two, the familiar feeling of waking up in an exhausted haze. These instances, while inconvenient, are rare occasions for most, caused by a few days of extra work or long travels. But a few are afflicted with waking up to this feeling for weeks or even months to no end.
This is the condition called insomnia. Knowing how awful just a single night of bad sleep can make you feel, it's only justifiable how much of a physical and mental toll the chronic condition can take.
By definition, even a few nights of restless sleep qualify as an episode of insomnia. Having insomnia doesn't mean getting no sleep at all. It refers to extended periods of having trouble falling asleep or being unable to stay asleep. While a few nights of poor sleep aren't that detrimental, the continuous occurrence can, easily, turn into a persistent problem. Repetitive phases of incomplete sleep can severely drain the body and mind, putting the integrity of your health in jeopardy.
The Cumulative Effect
While insomnia doesn't have a single factor behind it, the reason is often several underlying causes, many of which are hiding in plain sight. A poor diet, excessive use of gadgets before bedtime, chronic pain from arthritis or other neurological conditions, all contribute to an impaired sleep cycle. It can also be aggravated by psychiatric disorders such as depression, ADHD, anxiety, schizophrenia and the medication prescribed for these conditions.
Just like the causes, the symptoms of insomnia present themselves in day-to-day life. This reduced quality of life is caused by internal organs feeling devoid of rest and replenishment. Consistent fatigue, day sleeping, reduced focus, poor physical and mental performance at work or school, shifting moods and much more. Apart from being detrimental to overall body health, these can increase the risk of accidents and mishaps putting you and others around at risk.
The ABC's of Remedies
While treating insomnia, one needs to know that there isn't one single definitive cure that can take the condition away. As the condition itself is formed due to a gradual accumulation of the various factors, its treatment also consists of a complete all-around approach.
To deal with Insomnia, many people often reach out to allopathic treatments and supplements. One of the most common forms is melatonin, a compound commonly found in the body, that is responsible for balancing our natural sleep cycle. While these are often the most sought-after modes of treatments, a better way to deal with insomnia is with natural remedies. Simple lifestyle and home remedies used for generations are extremely helpful.
Routine is key
The first and foremost way of treating insomnia is by working towards fixing the severely muddled sleep schedule. Getting your sleep schedule back on track is the foundation of recovering from insomnia. While this isn't an easy feat, constant efforts will have a massive effect on improving your sleep health. Create a scheduled bedtime and wake time and stick to it. It is also advised to limit nap time. Post afternoon naps can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. By turning this into a habit, you will be able to push your body to sleep and wake up at more appropriate hours, helping you turn to a healthier sleep cycle.
Set the mood
A mellow and relaxed atmosphere is extremely helpful in promoting the feeling of sleep. Make your bed to provide the most level of comfort. Avoid any big, bright bulbs. A little bit of relaxing music and aromas can help elevate the mood further. Lavender and chamomile have been known to encourage sleep. A hot bath or a few drops of essential oil can provide the right atmosphere. Another important factor is to restrict the use of the bedroom for sleep and relaxation purposes only to help condition the mind to associate it with sleep.
Regular physical activity also contributes to better sleep. Exercising a few hours before bedtime can help the body wind down. Apart from rigorous physical activity, meditation or yoga can reduce stress hormones while helping calm the mind. This compound system of breathing and relaxing improves the mind-body connection, relieving symptoms of insomnia. You can even add a few relaxing and breathing exercises right before bedtime.
Meals for better sleep
Like most essential functions of the body, our diet, plays a huge part in setting the pace for the quality of sleep we receive. It is advised to never go to bed on an empty stomach. As a rule of thumb, large, heavy meals need to be avoided right before bedtime. A light fruit-based snack that does not contain any caffeine or alcohol can serve well if you are feeling especially hungry before bed.
Certain nutrients like magnesium are known to induce sleep. Lack of magnesium in your diet can drastically affect sleep, but an excess of it can be detrimental to your health. Leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almond, hemp hearts are all rich in magnesium. A combination of carbs and proteins such as peanut butter and whole wheat crackers about 30 mins before bed are great ways to avoid mid-sleep hunger pangs.
Consider the underlying factors
A major cause behind insomnia is often chronic pain. Intense pain-inducing conditions can hamper the body's ability to complete a proper sleep cycle. Do not put up with the pain for extended periods as this will not only hamper your body but further aggravate insomnia. Considering treatment for the underlying pain can help eliminate its influence of the condition on your sleep.
Simultaneously, having a regular course of medication can also contribute to insomnia. Medications containing caffeine and other mood and mind stimulants can make it harder for the body to fall asleep.
The Ancient Miracle to the rescue
A centrepiece of many ancient remedies and medicines is the age-old plant, Cannabis. Used as an analgesic in several texts of Ayurveda and other medicinal scripts, this versatile plant can help with insomnia and its symptoms. Whether it is a chronic sleep disorder or being unable to sleep after a long day, Cannabis can provide relief and a good night's sleep.
What makes Cannabis so effective as a sleep remedy is a combination of two compounds that are abundantly present in Cannabis, CBD or cannabidiol and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
It is common knowledge that our body has its own endocannabinoid system that helps in the optimal functioning of many integral processes including sleep. An imbalance in the endocannabinoid levels often triggers symptoms of conditions such as insomnia. These compounds act as boosters that help recover from a deficiency or lack of endocannabinoids.
The Benefits of Cannabinoids
REM sleep is a phase of the sleep cycle which is integral for healthy brain and immune functions. However, it also increases the chances of dreams and even nightmares for those afflicted with conditions such as PTSD. THC present in Cannabis can help balance the ratio of REM sleep. This results in a longer duration of deep sleep where the body carries out most of its restoration and healing.
When it comes to picking the right type of Cannabis-based supplement, the choices are endless. Three main categories of CBD exist, namely Isolated, Broad-spectrum and Full spectrum. Isolated CBD, features only purified CBD, which, while beneficial, doesn't give you all the full benefits. Broad-spectrum features a few different cannabinoids but is devoid of THC. Cannabis leaf extract contains Full spectrum CBD including the entire range of Cannabinoids along with THC.
It is the third one that proves to be the most beneficial when it comes to insomnia. Hence, for a more synergistic effect, the full spectrum variant is the most sought after when it comes to this condition.
A Harmony of other benefits
Cannabis is known to contain numerous compounds including CBD, that help in therapeutic healing. Full-spectrum cannabis leaf extract can also help with alleviating pain, especially chronic pain. A soothing formula, it is used topically and sublingually (orally) to deal with long term pain. This is beneficial for those whose insomnia is induced by chronic pain. In smaller quantities, full-spectrum cannabis extract has the potential to promote wakefulness. This is very helpful as one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is grogginess, which often leads to lethargy and day sleeping.
In its full potential, Cannabis leaf extract is helpful in a variety of concerns. Nausea, anxiety, low appetite, mood swings, many of which are precursors to insomnia. Being a plant-based alternative, it is safer and effective than many other over-the-counter sleep aids. With its ability to alleviate the condition and a number of its symptoms without hampering the body, it's the perfect relief solution. A complete all-rounder, Cannabis leaf extract makes the journey of reviving your sleep schedule a full healing experience.
Sleep is an integral process of the body, one where it heals, rests and replenishes itself. Even the slightest hindrance can throw all other processes off-balance. As a chronic condition, insomnia can often hold you back from enjoying life and participating in everyday activities.
While lifestyle changes seem simple, they can together have a positive impact, helping to improve the condition of our body. Gentle yet potent, they are an avenue to heal the body without harming its integrity. Through time and exploration, with holistic solutions like the ones made of Cannabis, plant-based healing can combat even the toughest conditions of the body.
Written by Shamooda Amrelia, Doorbeen Creatives