Insomnia is classified as the inability to fall asleep and is generally caused by having too much blood in the brain. Like any other organ, the blood flow to the brain is moderated by a complex orchestration of chemical and electrical stimulation that relies on many other systems in the body, including the endocrine and nervous systems. Those in turn can be affected by many factors, including physical pain and stress and anxiety.
People suffer from over a dozen types of insomnia, the most popular being “Initial Insomnia” which occurs when a person has issues falling asleep after they go to bed. For people with Initial Insomnia, it may take over an hour to fall asleep after lying down, and they may be easily woken up after they do finally fall to sleep. The causes vary, but generally the most common culprits are stress, anxiety and the absence of a consistent sleep schedule. The other types of insomnia include Middle Insomnia, where people fall asleep quickly but wake up numerous times during the night, and Terminal Insomnia where people fall asleep easily but wake up far too early before their body gets adequate rest. Some people might experience these symptoms intermittently, and some on a chronic basis. Women who are pregnant, or individuals who have conditions that affect their hormonal balance may also experience different types of insomnia. Whatever the cause, insomnia can be disruptive as the deprivation of sleep has negative effects on the body: people with insomnia are more irritable and depressed and their immune system is usually compromised, making them more prone to sickness and disease.
Doctors have long prescribed warm baths at night as a popular home treatment for people with the most common types of insomnia. A warm bath opens the capillaries and increases blood flow to the extremities, pulling blood away from the body “core” which includes the brain. Soaking in a 104 degree bath a few hours before bedtime has been shown to relax muscles, decrease pain in tissue and joints, decrease stress, lower the amount of blood in the brain and promote a deeper, more restful sleep. If a person is also enjoying the benefits of air bubble or hydro jet massage, which promotes increased muscle relaxation, the effects can be even greater.
Always Consult a Health Professional
As with any medical treatment, it is important that patients talk first with their doctors and embark upon home treatments only under their guidance and supervision. Too much hot or cold can cause injury or make issues worse, so its important that a knowledgeable professional help craft a treatment plan that is right for each individual. Once a treatment program has been agreed upon, progress should be monitored and reported back on an ongoing basis so that adjustments can be made as needed to protect the patient’s health and safety.