Objective Measures Show Positive Effects of Homeopathic Medicines on Disturbed Sleep
An article published in the respected journal Sleep Medicine shows that two homeopathic medicines known for their impact on sleep patterns in susceptible human subjects, have positive effects as measured by objective measuring procedures called polysomnographic recordings. Polysomnographic recordings involve various sleep study measurements, including monitoring many body functions including brainwaves (EEG), eye movements (EOG), muscle activity or skeletal muscle activation (EMG) and heart rhythm (ECG).
While this is is not a study involving individualised patient prescribing it does show the positive effects of two remedies known to have a significant relevance to sleep disturbance and builds on earlier experiments in animals using the same two remedies that produced positive results.
The abstract of the study and access to the full article can be obtained here:
INDIVIDUALISED HOMEOPATHY EFFECTIVE IN SLEEP DISORDERS
An ECCH document published in March this year, entitled “Sleep well with homeopathy” (1), summarized existing research evidence in homeopathic treatment of sleep disorders. This publication included reference to a study by Naudé et al. (2).
In a recently published letter in the journal “Sleep Medicine Reviews” Cooper and Relton (3) specifically refer to the Naudé publication. The two authors previously published the results of a systematic review of homeopathy for insomnia, where the Naudé publication had not been included (4).
In their systematic review Cooper and Relton had found four double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing homeopathic medicines (or rather potentized remedies) versus placebo. All four previous studies had used pre-specified remedies (NOT individualized to each individual patient). Cooper and Relton point out that patients in the Naudé trial were prescribed individualized remedies according to their symptom picture.
The total number of hours slept per week increased from 35 to 41 in the homeopathy group (p=0.002) from baseline (start of the trial) to week 4, compared to an increase from 34 to 35 hours in the placebo group (not statistically significant change). Homeopathy was therefore better than placebo at 4 weeks (p=0.036). Moreover, patients in the homeopathy group improved according to all 11 out of 11 questions that were asked about their sleep, whereas patients receiving placebo had an initial improvement, but then relapsed.
Improvements in the amount and quality of sleep could have huge beneficial effects for all conditions but especially mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder where sleep disturbances can trigger a manic episode.
Cooper and Relton point out that the number of participants was not high in any of the studies they have reviewed (n=26-61), but the methodological quality was higher in the Naudé study compared to the four previous trials. Results are promising and more research of equally high methodological and homeopathic quality should be carried out, with larger patient numbers.
- European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH). Sleep well with homeopathy. March 2010.
- Naudé DF, Couchman IMS, Maharaj A. Chronic primary insomnia: Efficacy of homeopathic simillimum. Homeopathy 2010, 99: 63-68.
- Cooper KL, Relton C. Homeopathy for insomnia: Summary of additional RCT publiched since systematic review. Sleep Med Rev, 2010 Sep 2 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20819153.
- Cooper KL, Relton C. Homeopathy for insomnia: a systematic review of research evidence. Sleep Med Rev, 2010.