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Category: Diseases of The Nervous System

Insomnia is not a disease, but a symptom of disease. It may,
however, become so active, prominent, and important a symptom as to
constitute a condition which merits individual management and treatment.

Definition. Insomnia is the term employed to denote actual or absolute
sleeplessness, and also lack of fully restful sleep, which might be termed
relative sleeplessness.

Causes. Organic causes. Disease of the brain and spinal cord. Toxic
causes due to poison circulating in the blood which by irritation of the
brain and cord (axis) and especially of the brain, cause such diseases as
nephritis (chronic), jaundice, typhoid fever and consumption.

Primary causes. Depend upon insanity.

Nervous or simplest causes. These are present in nervous persons and
comprise the two conditions of congestion and anemia of the brain. The
brain congestion is typified by the nerve-tire of the student; over-study
and anxiety bring too much blood to the brain and necessarily too much
activity and then insomnia. Anemia of the brain acts in the opposite
manner. The brain cells are not properly nourished and hence irritated,
and sleeplessness follows.

SLEEPLESSNESS. Mothers' Remedies. 1. Hop Pillow Stops. "People affected
in this way will be very much benefited by the use of a pillow composed of
hops, or cup of warm hop tea on retiring. The hops have a very soothing
effect upon the nerves."

2. Sleeplessness, Easy and Simple Remedy for. "On going to bed, take some
sound, as a clock-tick or the breathing of some one within hearing, and
breathe long breaths, keeping time to the sound. In a very short time you
will fall asleep, without any of the painful anxieties attending

3. Sleeplessness, Ginger at Bedtime for. "Ginger tea taken at bedtime
soothes one to sleep," This is a very good remedy when the stomach is at
fault. It stimulates this organ and produces a greater circulation,
thereby drawing the blood from the head. This will make the patient feel
easier and sleep will soon follow.

4. Sleeplessness, Milk Will Stop. "Sip a glass of hot milk just before
retiring. This is very soothing to the nerves, and a good stimulant for
the stomach,"

PHYSICIANS' TREATMENT. Remove the cause and be careful in using drugs. In
the organic kind the treatment is not very successful. In the toxic kind
drugs must be given to correct other diseases and also tonics given. For
brain congestion and anemia kind other means must be used first, and the
drugs as the last resort. Treatment of the congestive insomnia. 1. Hot or
warm general body-baths are very advantageous to stimulate the circulation
and restore its balance alike in congestion and anemic cases. After such
baths the patient must go to bed at once and not get chilled in cold rooms
or by drafts. They must be properly covered and kept warm.

2. Cold spongings, cold shower baths, or cold plunge baths are given when
the hot or warm bath does not produce the correct result. If this does not
depress it is better than the warm bath. The person should be rubbed with
warm rough towels until the skin is aglow. If he feels rested and quieted,
the reaction is proper; if depressed, the treatment is too vigorous and
not suitable.

3. The patient should stand ankle deep in a tub of hot water and a "drip
sheet," from water at 75 to 80 degrees temperature, thrown over him. Then
rub the patient's back and abdomen hard and a general brisk rub-down
immediately after leaving the tub. This treatment should quiet, not excite
or depress.

4. The cold abdominal pack is valuable. Flannel is wrung out in water, 75
to 80 degrees temperature and laid in several thicknesses upon the
abdomen; place a dry towel over this, cover all with oiled silk,
overlapping widely in order to protect the bed. Tie or bandage all this
firmly. The effect of this work is first that of a cold then of a warm

5. Exercise. This should be in the open air when possible. A fast walk,
horseback ride or ride on bicycle for a half hour before bedtime, followed
by a rub-down will frequently give a good sleep. Dumb-bell, Indian club
exercise, chest weight, are good in some cases.

Diet. A light easily digested supper is often better than a heavy meal.
Sometimes a little eaten before bed-time will give sleep. A piece of
toast, for instance. It draws the blood from the brain and more to the

Medicines. If you must use them. The bromides are the best. Sodium and
strontium bromide are first choice. Twenty to thirty grains in water
one-half hour before retiring. Chloral hydrate should not be used often.
Sulphonal, trional, etc., should always be given with a little food-never
alone. Sometimes bread pills do just as well.


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