arzneiprivat blog - sleep disorders: Causes, medicines & home remedies

A nation is tired:

More and more people in our country have problems falling asleep and staying asleep. Shift workers and senior citizens are particularly affected by this, but younger people are also complaining more and more often about sleeping difficulties and are resorting to over-the-counter self-medication. In times of Corona, this health problem is even more present and results in a growing number of people with severe sleep disorders (insomnia). As a result, the use of sleeping pills is also increasing exponentially, leading to a growing dependence on these sedatives. To counteract this risk and help you get a healthy, restful night's sleep, we have collected all the information you need about the causes and treatments of insomnia. We explain how you can get a grip on problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and how you can find a solution with simple home remedies or, in more severe cases, with medicines from the pharmacy.

 What are the causes of sleep problems?

The causes of sleep problems are incredibly varied and include psychological problems as well as physical components or environmental influences. Mental problems include not only mental illnesses such as depression, psychoses, dementia or schizophrenia, but also psychological complaints such as stress, worry or anxiety. But physical illnesses can of course also lead to "problems in the bedroom". The most common are chronic pain, nocturnal breathing disorders, serious illnesses or medication for these, which in turn cause sleep disorders. Other factors that lead to secondary sleep disorders are, for example, an irregular sleep rhythm (due to shift work, time zone changes, etc.), drug use (legal and illegal drugs, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine) or a negative sleep atmosphere (e.g. wrong room temperature, noise, light or uncomfortable mattress/pillows).

What are the different types of sleep disorders?

People who complain about sleep problems usually either have problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night. They either lie awake for hours after going to bed and toss and turn in the sheets, or they wake up again and again in the middle of the night, can't fall asleep for a long time and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. These causes in turn result in two different types of complaints: Either the night itself is experienced as a nightmare, through which one has to struggle and hardly finds any rest, or the following day becomes an ordeal, as one feels tired and exhausted, can hardly concentrate and is constantly sleepy. In the worst case, a synergy effect occurs and you are stressed and in need of sleep during the day and night. In the case of long-term sleep deprivation, this not only has temporary effects on the quality of life, but also long-term health consequences - for example, the risk of heart attacks , strokes, Alzheimer's and accidents increases drastically.
 

What home remedies are there for problems falling asleep and staying asleep?

Medications for insomnia are not the right choice for everyone, as they can lead to side effects, sometimes have an addictive potential or sometimes lead to even greater sleep problems after discontinuation. That's why many people look for natural alternatives or proven tips against insomnia. We have therefore summarised the best home remedies for problems falling asleep and staying asleep for you:

  • Improve the sleeping environment: ensure a pleasant sleeping environment by reducing possible sources of noise, darkening the room, buying a back-friendly mattress, regulating the room temperature and banning the TV from the bedroom. We also recommend using the bed only for sleeping, so that the body is conditioned to it, rather than relaxing or working in it all day.

 

  • Improve sleep patterns: Try to reduce your inner restlessness before going to bed and write down stressful thoughts instead of brooding over them for longer. Evening rituals can also help prepare the body for sleep, such as meditating, reading a book or drinking hot milk with honey. We also recommend a regular sleep schedule, eating only light meals in the evening and getting enough exercise during the day so that you are not only mentally but also physically exhausted in the evening.

 

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy: Relaxation techniques, such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation or breathing therapies, are increasingly used as a treatment concept for sleep disorders. Concentrate on calming thoughts, travel in your imagination to idyllic places and gradually relax your whole body, then sleep usually comes all by itself. Methods of cognitive behavioural therapy can be learned either independently or in guided courses.

 

  • Homeopathic remedies: If you don't trust western medicine but prefer to try homeopathic alternatives, you can try taking globules. Recommended remedies include Actonium for anxiety, Argentum nitricum for restlessness, Arnica for restlessness, Arsenicum album for severe night-time panic attacks, Coffea for an overly excited mind and Nux vomica for headaches or mental stress.

 

  • Herbal medicines & teas: Valerian, lavender and lemon balm are the classics when it comes to herbal sedatives. Either as a tea, in a herbal pillow or as a scented oil, they are very good for calming the mind and providing relaxation. Other medicinal plants that can help with sleep disorders are hops, lemon balm, passion flower, St. John's wort, chamomile and magnolia bark.


Also, don't put pressure on yourself to get enough sleep, but only go to bed when you are really tired. Avoid little naps during the day, don't look at the clock when you wake up at night and get up again when you are lying in bed and can't fall asleep. Instead of tossing and turning in bed for a long time, it is often more helpful to just get up again, leave the bedroom and move around a bit.

Which medicines help best against insomnia?

However, if the sleep disturbances are too serious, it is essential to see a doctor and a drug therapy is advisable. Especially if the insomnia lasts longer than a month, the disturbed night sleep is a massive burden and you also suffer from lack of sleep during the day, you should see a general practitioner or specialist. Both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills should only be taken for a short period of time and in consultation with your doctor, as otherwise psychological dependence or certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea, can develop. We therefore strongly advise you to always consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of risks and side effects.

However, over-the-counter sleeping pills are much safer than prescription drugs and are therefore being tested by more and more people with sleep problems. According to our experience, the most popular shallow sleep aids are the Hoggar Night tablets and the sleep tabs by Ratiopharm. Both are among Germany's best-selling sleep aids for a restful night's sleep and have already proven their worth for several years.

Our tip: If you have one-off problems falling asleep (for example, due to a time zone change) and don't have any sleeping tablets at hand, you can also try travel tablets. These are relatively mild and low-risk and have fatigue listed as the main side effect, which is perfect for you.

Whether you try cognitive training, herbal alternatives or shallow sleep aids first, we send you calming thoughts and wish you a good night!

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