Naps, commonly discouraged with insomnia, can be extremely beneficial if they are regularly scheduled events, restricted to a single, brief “power nap” during midday.
The nap period should not exceed 20 minutes, even if actual sleep is not achieved during this time. Naps should be a scheduled part of the daily routine, best taken after lunch or sometime in the early afternoon.
Nap breaks can be extremely refreshing, improving alertness, enhancing job performance, and increasing energy without resetting the circadian rhythm or disrupting the nighttime sleep pattern.
The napping process also provides the nervous system with practice in the art of relaxing. This exercise helps in calming the mind whether or not sleep is actually achieved. Naps can help the body relearn the art of sleeping.
Classical Homeopathic Medicine. Once the hygienic factors are addressed, classical homeopathic medicine (CHM) can be extremely helpful in permanently resolving insomnia. Since CHM does not involve the use of drugs, chemicals, or herbs, it usually doesn’t interfere with or worsen sleep disturbances or lead to rebound or withdrawal symptoms when it is stopped.CHM does not cause physical dependence or addiction, nor does it cause side effects as long as classical methods of prescribing are adhered to. It works via non-chemical, non-physical means, assisting the body in achieving and re-establishing healthful sleep patterns. The mechanism of this action is unknown.
CHM has a track record of improving overall health and reducing the dependence on conventional medications by helping the body balance and resolve underlying conditions.
Numerous studies attest to the fact that homeopathy helps the body recover more quickly from illness, thereby significantly reducing the risk of exposure to potentially harmful medications and their side effects. This choice of holistic treatment makes more sense as a first-line option before pharmacologic interventions are attempted for insomnia.
Following a detailed, in-depth analysis is more likely to reveal these determining factors and to assure that a proper and accurate selection of medicine will take place.
Failure to implement CHM prescribing methods (even if so-called homeopathic medicines are used) is more likely to result in treatment failure since adherence to the law of similars is the determining factor of whether a homeopathic medicine is likely to work.
In other words, if homeopathy is not applied homeopathically, namely on the basis of homeopathic laws and principles, it will be no more likely to succeed than placebo. Homeopathy, like any other system of medicine, must be utilized according to the dynamics upon which it is based, or it may not produce the desired results.
Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine. It is not an integrative, adjunct medical modality that can simply be substituted into treatment plans in place of conventional medications. CHM is not an allopathic medical system, and it cannot be applied allopathically with any realistic expectation of success.
Certain homeopathic medicines are particularly well-suited to the treatment of sleep disorders. These medicines, cited in the next part of this article, should not be construed as anything more than examples out of a large group of medicines. These may be useful in a pinch, but should not be substituted for a thorough, in-depth CHM analysis.
Argenticum Nitricum. Individuals needing this medicine frequently suffer from anxious insomnia. They are extremely distraught and kept awake by numerous fears and worries.
Arsenicum Album. Individuals benefiting from this medicine also tend to be anxious, but they also demonstrate a physical restlessness. They frequently don’t sleep because they can’t get physically comfortable and must continually change places and positions at night.
Coffea Cruda. Individuals benefiting from this medicine often experience a heightened sense of awareness and mental activity at night. Their minds are active, racing through many thoughts even though their bodies may be exhausted.
Nux Vomica. Individuals who benefit from this medicine are typically accustomed to relying on a pattern of various medicines to sleep and others to wake up in the morning. There is frequently a history heavy coffee and alcohol use.
A thorough CHM analysis is part of comprehensive care. Each homeopathic medicine is capable of affecting many different organ systems, ailments, and conditions. The common denominator in this method of prescribing is the individualized application of data gleaned from the scientific laws of observation in each case.
This is the ninth of a 10-part series.
Dr. Whitmont is a classical homeopathic physician and internist who practices in New York. He is a clinical assistant professor of family and community medicine at New York Medical College. His website is HomeopathicMD.com