Homeopathy for Insomnia

Everyone experiences insomnia at some point in his or her life. Sometimes it's because of a particularly exciting or depressing event. At other times, sleeplessness may be a side effect of a drug you're taking or caused by caffeine or some other type of stimulant. Caffeine lurks in certain sodas, aspirin compounds, decongestants, and pain relievers. Sometimes, however, insomnia's cause is inexplicable.

Problems with Pharmaceuticals
Conventional drugs for insomnia may help you fall asleep, but ultimately lead you to awaken unrefreshed. To make things worse, these drugs can be addictive and often make it more difficult to fall asleep without them. Worse still, some of the most popular pharmaceuticals for insomnia can even cause a person to eat or drive a car with no memory of these actions. Homeopathic medicines offer a safer alternative, though insomnia is usually best understood and treated as one symptom of an overall body/mind syndrome that requires "constitutional care."

Homeopathic Medicines to Consider
The most effective way to use homeopathic medicines is to find the one remedy that matches the syndrome of symptoms that the person is experiencing. While chronic or severe insomnia may require a professional homeopath, there are some simple homeopathic medicines to consider for at least short-term benefit.

One of the most common homeopathic medicines for insomnia is Coffea, which is a homeopathic dose of coffee. Coffea is indicated when a person feels mentally and physically overactive (these are the symptoms that nonhomeopathic ingestion of coffee is well known to cause). This remedy is also known to relieve insomnia in people who are anticipating something exciting that will be occurring in the near future and in people who have a constant flow of ideas that keep them awake. This homeopathic medicine is also useful for people who have taken a caffeinated product.

Other homeopathic medicines to consider include:

Ignatia (St. Ignatius bean): People with insomnia who have suffered from a recent grieving experience often benefit from this remedy. People who need this medicine tend to sigh or yawn frequently.

Nux vomica (poison nut): This remedy is indicated when insomnia results from consumption of alcohol, coffee, or drugs (therapeutic or recreational). Nux vomica is also useful for insomnia as a result of mental strain or excessive study. People who benefit from this medicine tend to be very irritable and wake up from the slightest noise. They may have difficulty falling asleep due to minor distractions.

Arsenicum album (arsenic): People with insomnia who suffer from various anxieties and fears often benefit from Arsenicum album. Typically, such people are very anxious and restless, usually needing to get out of bed to walk around. They feel too tired and anxious to go to sleep.

Gelsemium (yellow jessamine): People who feel anticipatory anxiety about an upcoming event tend to benefit from this remedy. These people tend to develop a dull and fatigued mind, making thinking an effort.

Passiflora (passion flower): This medicine has a long history of success in homeopathy and herbalism. If no other homeopathic remedy is obviously indicated, try this one. It's most effective in lower potencies, such as 3X.

DOSE: Use the 6, 12, or 30th potency every 30 minutes for up to three doses. Consider another remedy if sleep does not occur. If insomnia is a chronic problem, seek professional homeopathic care.

Essential Homeopathy by Dana Ullman, MPH ($10.95, New World Library, 2002) Homeopathy A-Z by Dana Ullman, MPH ($19.95, Hay House, 1999)

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