he sleep disorder, insomnia or sleeplessness, makes it difficult for people to fall as well as stay asleep. This has detrimental after effects like feeling lethargic and unwell throughout the day, sleepiness during the daytime, irritability, anxiety and mood swings. Insomnia may also increase the risk of collision of motor vehicles as well increase chances of developing chronic diseases. Women and people above the age of 65 are more affected by insomnia. It could be of short duration i.e. continuing for few days to few weeks or of long duration i.e. continuing beyond a month.
Causes of Insomnia
The common causes of insomnia include:
1. Disturbed circadian rhythm
Jet lag or working in different shifts can disturb your sleep pattern and cause insomnia.
2. Psychological problems or mental disorders
Stress, anxiety, mental tension, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, ADHD etc.
3. Medical conditions
Rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, constipation, periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal breathing disorders, heart disease, thoracic surgery is done earlier and neurological disorders like a history of traumatic brain injury and lesions in the brain.
4. Hormonal issues
Seen during menopause and before menstrual periods.
Overuse of sedative or depressants, withdrawal from or use of opioids for pain relieving, stimulants or psychoactive drugs like amphetamines, aripiprazole, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, methylphenidate, and modafinil.
6. Exercise-induced insomnia
7. Poor sleep trait
8. Overexposure to Blue Light From Computer or Phones.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Following given are some main symptoms of insomnia 
- A problem in falling asleep at night
- Waking up at night or much earlier than needed in the morning
- Not feeling fresh in the morning
- A tension headache
- Irritability, anxiety, and depression
- Fatigue during the day or feeling sleepy throughout the day
- Reduced focus and concentration
- Problems in socializing
- Digestive signs
- Prone to making errors and accidents.
Types of Insomnia
The following are the types of Insomnia 
1. Acute insomnia
Major changes in life or stress can induce acute insomnia which does not prolong for more than three weeks. Several times in a week you tend to get restless during your sleep as you are nervous, worried, etc. due to a variety of reasons like an exam, relationship issues, some disease or work problems. As your attitude toward the stressful event changes or the event ends you usually come out of it.
2. Comorbid insomnia
This kind of insomnia is induced while you are facing varied other related health conditions by alterations in sleep. There is health condition such as depression, restless leg syndrome, muscular issues and body ache that are responsible for insomnia. Psychophysiological insomnia is similar to this as it is induced by psychological, cognitive and behavioral issues.
3. Initial or sleep onset insomnia
You will face problems in falling asleep at first but usually sleeps through the night once asleep.
4. Middle or maintenance insomnia
You tend to wake up in between and cannot maintain your sleep.
5. Terminal or late insomnia
You will wake up very early in the morning and cannot fall asleep again.
6. Chronic type of insomnia
It prolongs for more than three weeks to a month and can affect you thrice a week. Multiple factors can contribute to chronic insomnia and stress management, lifestyle changes and a visit to a therapist may help you deal with it.
Conventional insomnia therapies
1. Lifestyle changes
Some of the most effective insomnia therapies are very simple like a healthy diet, regular exercising and abstaining from alcohol, caffeine and drug use.
2. Cognitive behavior therapy
This helps in catering to varied elements responsible for stress.
For short duration, antihistamines may be given.
4. Melatonin use
It is a hormone manufactured by our pineal gland in reaction to darkness and helps maintain the sleep and wake cycle.
Doctors may prescribe medicines to induce sleep in some cases. These medicines include:
6. Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics
These are sedatives that work on the GABA receptor to help you sleep. Side effects include fatigue, loss of memory, psychomotor and physical problems etc.
This help induces sleep for a prolonged time period. Certain side effects associated it with include memory issues, day time drowsiness, confusion, unsteadiness etc.
8. Melatonin receptor agonists
These work by adhering to and activating melatonin receptor thereby improving the circadian rhythm. Rozerem, a common melatonin receptor agonist, may cause drowsiness and dizziness during the day.
Five Natural Remedies for Insomnia
1. Inculcate lifestyle changes
Certain changes that you need to make in your bedroom and your lifestyle to improve your sleep include:
- Maintain a particular sleep and wake up cycle: This has to be done daily to help your body feel tired or sleepy at a particular time and subsequently energized at other points of time.
- Darken your bedroom: At sleep time your bedroom has to be very dark. Do that by using sleep masks, blackout shades and keeping out clocks and devices that emit light.
- Your bed has to be comfortable enough.
- Do not oversleep on certain days in a week. This would disturb your sleep cycle and cause difficulties in falling asleep on other nights.
- Avoid long duration nap at day time.
- A temperature of your bedroom has to be cold and comfortable as this would help improve sleep.
- Exercise before bedtime has to be avoided as this increases the heart rate and cortisol levels and disrupts your sleep.
- Stimulants like a cigarette have to be avoided as nicotine present in it can disrupt hormone synthesis.
2. Manage stress
You got to manage your stress so that you can relax and go off to sleep. Though at times you may not be feeling stressed out your mind and body may be reacting negatively to a situation around you and hampering your sleep. So, do the following to reduce stress:
- Inculcate reading habits: Half an hour before bedtime either read a novel, some devotional book or something that relaxes you. You can even try journaling i.e. take a notepad and jot down your thoughts or plan for the next day. You can jot down the factors or situations that are stressing you out and then start working on them to ease them.
- Avoid visual stimulants or those devices which give out blue light: This includes your television, smartphone, tablet, and computer which often people keep next to their bed. The blue light has a negative impact on the pineal gland i.e. it signals it to stay active which in turn disrupts our levels of cortisol as well as the circadian rhythm of the body. This, in turn, disturbs sleep. So, you need to switch off your electronic gadgets half an hour to one hour before bedtime. You can even use the blue light reduction mode in your devices.
- Regular exercising: Half an hour to one hour of exercising helps generate endorphins which can help you sleep better at night. Teenagers and children who have sleep issues can especially benefit from it. Try doing it outdoors.
- Recognize or appreciate a day spent well: Before going to bed, you can express your gratitude for a great day as happiness helps synthesize the hormone endorphin that in turn induces sleep naturally.
3. Dietary recommendations
- Making certain changes in your diet can go a long way in inducing sleep naturally. Our diet impacts normal synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters which in turn helps to fall asleep.
- Eat two to four hours before going to sleep.
- Never sleep with an empty stomach as this can lower your sugar levels and wake you up.
- Cut down on carbohydrate consumption: Lower your overall carbohydrate consumption at dinner as too much of it can warm up your body during its metabolism. This can disrupt your peaceful sleep. So, consume less or avoid grains, sugar, desserts etc.
- Take care of mineral deficiencies: Address your potassium and magnesium deficiency as both of these are needed for relaxation and sleep.
- Healthy fats: For prolonged relief from insomnia, you need to add healthy fats to your diet. Organic yogurt and avocado can provide you with good fats as well as magnesium and potassium.
- Tryptophan-rich foods: By stimulating serotonin synthesis, it helps you relax. Tuna, chicken, and turkey are its good sources. Try to consume a balanced meal with healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
- Raw milk: Organic raw and unsweetened milk taken at bedtime may help you sleep better. A2 dairy milk is advised.
- Take complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones: Sugar and simple carbs can unnecessarily boost your energy levels at night whereas, complex carbs help in serotonin synthesis. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and butternut squash etc. can be eaten at dinner for better sleep.
- Eat foods rich in B vitamins: These include green leafy vegetables, organic meat, liver and brewer’s yeast. It works by assisting the nervous system. People have reported improved insomnia symptoms post consumption of B vitamins.
Certain beverages and foods that you need to avoid before bedtime include the following:
- Alcohol: You need to drink it in moderation and have to stop at least two hours before going to sleep. You should not exceed beyond one or two drinks a day.
- Food causing allergies: If you are allergic to certain food items do not consume them as these may cause you discomfort and gastric issues and finally disturb your sleep. Shellfish, nuts, gluten, dairy etc. can be avoided.
- Caffeine: It is better to avoid caffeine completely if you are having problems with sleeping. You can go for green tea instead.
- Fats that are processed: Excessive fat at night can cause indigestion or lower the pace of your digestion. So, you need to cut down on processed meats, fried foods, poor quality cheese etc. Rather go for healthy fats like olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds etc.
4. Certain essential oils that can benefit you
- Lavender essential oil: By helping you sleep this essential oil helps you get rid of insomnia. Its aromatic constituents do the trick. You can just massage a few drops of it on your neck or diffuse it at night by your bedside. You can even take a warm bath using Epsom salt and lavender oil. Take the warm bath one to one and a half hour before going to bed. Rub 20 drops of lavender essential oil all over your body and then get into a warm bath having Epsom salt. Stay for half an hour. This can be followed by book reading in the bed for 30 minutes and then going off to sleep.
- Chamomile essential oil: This is considered to be the best as far as relaxation induction and stress management is concerned. Inhaling its vapor is one of the methods to deal with depression and anxiety. You can even use its tea, tincture or rub the essential oil.
5. Consume good quality supplements
To ease insomnia without drugs you can go for certain supplements like:
- Magnesium supplement: A magnesium supplement in the dose of 400 to 500 mg daily at night before bedtime can help make you sleep better with reduced stress. You should go for good quality magnesium citrate or magnesium chelate.
- Vitamin B12: It is required for the maintenance of our circadian rhythm and cellular functioning. Daily dose has to be 1500 mcg.
- Melatonin: You should use it only for a short while in the dose of one to three milligrams daily thirty minutes before bedtime. As it is habit forming just take it occasionally like when you have a jet lag and are not able to sleep.
- Valerian root supplement: Taken in the dose of 600 mg at bedtime, it induces sleep by increasing GABA levels in our brain. It does not cause drowsiness in the morning.
- Passionflower: Taken in the form of tea or a supplement of 500 mg strength at bedtime relaxes the nervous system and helps you sleep.
Some Other Simple Remedies That You Can Try
- Be out in the sun:
- Exposure to sunlight in the morning helps balance your body levels of cortisol, melatonin and resets your body clock. It also helps in boosting up Vitamin D levels which further helps you to sleep better.
- Use weighted blankets and a good mattress to improve sleep.
- Choose a sleeping position that suits you best.
- Do full-body exercise during the day like burst training to exhaust your body and sleep better at night. 
Precautions associated with insomnia
If in a week you are not able to sleep for three nights and this goes on beyond a month, you must consult a physician. This will help you to establish the cause and plan remedy accordingly.
Many a time just behavioral and lifestyle changes can bring you relief from your sleeping problems. You might not have to take any medicines but you need to figure that out by trying the natural therapies and consulting your doctor if needed.