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Insomnia can be classified into 2 categories; Sleep-onset insomnia is characterized by having difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night. Some factors that contribute to sleep-onset insomnia includes anxiety, tension, environmental change, emotional arousal, fear, pain or discomfort. Sleep-maintenance insomnia, on the other hand, is the difficulty of staying asleep. This condition could be caused by depression, sleep apnoea, drugs or alcohol. These people with maintenance insomnia often wake up during the night and have difficulty returning to sleep.

While most people experience brief periods of insomnia throughout their lives, there are some who are burdened with the fact that they are unable to fall asleep even if they want to. People with insomnia face this problem at least 3 nights a week, with some experiencing this torment almost every night for months or years on end.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia can be attributed from either mental, physical or even a combination of both causes. Anxiety and depression are common causes of insomnia, while feelings of guilt, anger, worry and grief may also contribute to cases of insomnia. Insomnia can also be triggered by certain lifestyles and sleep habits. For example, if you work in the evenings, your brain automatically detects activity and becomes more alert, making it hard to fall asleep in the night time. Afternoon naps, shift work and delayed bedtime also leads to insomnia. Although such reasons only causes acute insomnia, it may turn into a long-term problem is this lifestyle is prolonged.

Some other common causes of insomnia are:

  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases
  • Caffeine intake
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic pain
  • Neurological conditions
  • Asthma

Symptoms of Insomnia

Anxiety affects the body both psychologically but also physically. One who is anxious can be seen as irritable, impatient and unable to concentrate. Being easily startled and having episodes of panic is also a common occurrence. Some physical symptoms include muscle tension, trembling, twitching and restlessness. Anxiety also causes dry mouth, palpitations, sweating, cold clamming hands, flushes, chills, difficulty swallowing, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and dizziness.

What Can I Do When Feeling Anxious?

The symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Trouble getting back to sleep
  • Feeling unrefreshed after sleep
  • Having to rely on sleeping pills or medication
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Daytime drowsiness and fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day

Treating Insomnia with Essential Oils

The calming, soothing, balancing and anxiety reducing benefits of essential oils is very effective for treating insomnia.

Oils that contain sedative properties are:

If insomnia is persistent and does not go away after a few weeks, you might be having chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue. In such cases, it is important to accurately pinpoint and treat the source rather than simply relying on essential oils for sleep. Psychological causes include stress, anxiety, depression during pregnancy, sickness and pain are some of the physical causes of chronic insomnia.

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Other Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Avoid spending long period of time using electronic devices before bed as it stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Take a warm bath before bed. Ensure that your sleep environment is comfortable. Dim the lights and make sure that the room temperature is ideal for sleep. Use earplugs and eyemask if necessary. Do relaxation exercises before bed, such as mindful breathing to help relieve pent up energy.