Insomnia

Insomnia is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

Insomnia includes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and although not life-threatening, if chronic can affect quality of life, and increase risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, anxiety and depression. Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep nightly to function well during the day.

Insomnia has many possible causes, including lifestyle factor such as an irregular sleep schedule, changes in work or school scheduling or eating habits; caffeine, nicotine or alcohol use; stress, anxiety or depression; health conditions such as arthritis, heartburn, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease; or medication side effects (e.g., antidepressants, stimulants, decongestants).

Seek professional healthcare if your insomnia interferes with your ability to function at work or school.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Possible symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking at night
  • Waking too early
  • Not feeling well rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Tension headaches
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

Treatment of Insomnia Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of insomnia treatment are to eliminate insomnia symptoms and prevent recurrence of insomnia episodes.

Conventional treatment for insomnia may include psychotherapy, or sleep medications, which may have short- or long-term side effects.

For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your insomnia symptoms.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:

  • Identifying specific treatment goals
  • Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
  • Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating insomnia may be to:

  • Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., stress, demanding work schedule, irregular sleep schedule, non-restful home environment, sedentary lifestyle, eating habits, medication use) or general health (e.g., hyperthyroidism) that may be contributing to your insomnia symptoms
  • Improve ability to relax and calm thoughts using relaxation (meditation) training and botanical (herbal) medicines
  • Prevent recurrence of insomnia episodes by creating a lifestyle program integrating a healthy working, eating and sleeping routine, regular use of relaxation techniques and a maintenance prescription of botanical (herbal) medicines

Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.

References

Insomnia [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187.

Insomnia [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2015 Mar 24]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/basics/causes/con-20024293.

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