When you can't even dream of sleep
If you keep turning around restlessly in your bed at night and there is no chance of sleeping. Or you wake up from the smallest disturbances and you are completely exhausted in the morning and you lack of energy for your daily work. If you know these problems you probably suffer from insomnia. Insomnia can be a temporary problem which appears in times of personal changes and disappears after a couple of time. However, some people suffer from chronically from insomnia and the sleeplessness suddenly dominates their entire life.
Sleep is as important as breathing, food and water: If you are unable to find sleep over a long time you will not only be in a bad mood but have a higher risk to develop diabetes, adipositas or cardiovascular diseases. Mind, body and soul regenerate during sleep. Our immune system is at full blast during the deep sleep phases and our brain produces growth hormones in order to build new cells.
In the REM sleep, our eyes rapidly move under the closed eyelids while we are having wild dreams and process the experiences of the past day. There is no valid general recommendation for the optimum length of sleep but most people need in between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to stay healthy and balanced.
Enough sleep strengthens the immune system and the organs; sufficient sleep is also important for a well working metabolism and a balanced soul. Insomnia can have various causes which should be tracked down.
Insomnia could increase the risk of heart insufficiency
If you have problems to fall asleep or you experience your sleep as not regenerating you will face a higher risk for heart insufficiency, report Lars Laugsand and colleagues of the University of Trondheim in the “European Heart Journal”. The scientists have observed more than 54.000 Norwegians between the age of 20-89 throughout 11 years.
Insomnia is pure stress for the affected persons. The vicious circle starts because without relaxation you won’t fall asleep. The Norwegian scientists discovered that sleep problems are not only a burden for the psyche but the body especially the heart. In the biggest study covering that issue, Laugsand and colleagues explored if insomnia and heart insufficiency are correlated.
The connection between insomnia and heart insufficiency results presumably from the permanently increased level of stress hormones of the affected people. The excess of stress hormones has negative influences on the heart condition. The danger of heart related diseases is much higher if there are further risk factors e. g. obesity, unbalanced nutrition and less physical activities.
Insomnia is one of the most common psychosomatic diseases in the U.S
Besides headaches, insomnia is the number one of the most common psychosomatic diseases in the U.S. Every third American suffers from insomnia. According to a study of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine * in 2012, 30% to 35% of Americans suffer from brief symptoms of insomnia. 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months and affects them physically and psychically.
Possible reasons for the increasing number of people affected by insomnia could be stress at work, permanent availability and shift work.
International Classification of Diseases distinguishes between following degrees of severity: Acute insomnia last four weeks maximum. If insomnia last longer than four weeks and less than six months, it will be called a subacute insomnia. Chronic insomnia lasts longer than six months.
Numerous causes of insomnia
You need to find the causes of insomnia to treat it the right way. If there are no obvious triggers for acute insomnia e. g massive life changes, stress periods or infections, you should be alert. Besides shift work, inappropriate sleeping environment, bad habits (smoking, high consumption of alcohol and caffeine), medication, chronic pain, tinnitus or mental stress, also depression or cancer could be the trigger for insomnia. Sensitive people often suffer from insomnia because their lively minds are hard to shut down and their thoughts go round in circles.
Persistent insomnia can have dangerous consequences for the body and soul and should be taken seriously.
What can be done in order to sleep well?
The good news: You can do a lot for good sleep; American scientists discovered that a stable circle of friends and social engagement are a soft pillow. A healthy diet, fresh air, regular physical activities and an active lifestyle also have positive effects on sleep. It is also important that you go to bed only when you feel tired. Keep in mind that you need less sleep with increasing age, so you have to adapt your habits. Relaxing rituals like a having a warm bath, a cup of tea or meditation can have positive effects on sleeping. A dark bedroom is particularly important: Running TV, moving lights e. g cars or flickering billboards are really harmful when suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is often triggered by stress, that’s why autogenic training and relaxation techniques are very helpful for many sufferers.
Insomnia from the perspective of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Fungal Medicine
Sleeping problems are often treated with the holistic methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine, amongst others the mycotherapy – healing with mushrooms. According to TCM, life energy Qi is strengthened during sleep in order to keep the harmony between body and soul. Insomnia makes the body produce stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. The people affected tend to get nervous and aggressive. An increased cortisol level due to chronic stress can increase the blood pressure and weakens the immune system permanently.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine and Mycotherapy treat not only the symptoms of insomnia but the causes of the energetic imbalance in the body. Insomnia is seen as an imbalance of the liver and heart functions. The free flow of the life energy Qi is blocked by stress, hectic, anger, tension and unhealthy nutrition. The blocked Qi flow results in internal unrest and an overactive mind.
A lack of Yin has similar consequences, but is more connected to heat sensations. This is a deficiency of corporal substances and bodily fluids. Those Yin-strengths are too weak to control and to calm the nightly activities of body and soul. The consequences are anxiety, worries, hot flushes, cold sweat and restless legs.
For those reasons, it is particularly important for the treatment of insomnia to choose the right diet and the time we consume our meals. Therefore, the right diet can influence the day/night cycle positively. Activating foods should be consumed in the morning and calming foods for dinner e. g warm vegetables or mushrooms. A good way to get rid of insomnia is to drink one liter of hot kidney tea between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. because the kidneys are most active in that time. Particular medicinal mushroom can be used as a support because they have calming effects on the mind.
Sleep deeply and soundly with the natural powers of medicinal mushrooms
Some medicinal mushrooms have calming and relaxing properties. They can serve as a 100% natural helper to bring back restful sleep.
Studies have shown that Reishi - which is called “ the heavenly mushroom of immortality” by the Chinese – has balancing effects on our vegetative nervous system and hormonal system. Not only that Reishi soothes nervousness and unrest, it also improves sleep through its pain relieving and blood pressure regulating effects. From the TCM point of view, Reishi is applied when unrest and sleeplessness are caused by a liver strain. It supports the liver and helps to remove toxins from the body.
Besides Reishi, medicinal mushrooms Cordyceps and Hericium are successfully applied in the treatment of sleeplessness. Cordyceps also regulates the hormonal and nervous system. It has strengthening effects on the lungs and liver and thus helps the body to absorb and keep more life energy. It has balancing effects on the psyche and calm and soothes symptoms of stress. According to studies, medicinal mushroom Hericium has a remarkable influence on the psyche. It soothes unrest, anxiety and inner tension and has balancing and calming. It is regarded as nerve strengthening and stimulates the nerve growth factor (NGF) and builds up the myolin sheaths.