If you are one of the people fighting this disorder, you must wonder how to treat insomnia. Unfortunately, there is no specific insomnia cure, but there are many insomnia treatments that can give you a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia can be a chronic, persistent disorder and the patients suffering from it are limited in energy during the day. Most of the adults experience this disorder at some point in life, but sometimes it is prolonged and turns into chronic insomnia. The amount of sleep varies according to the individual, but a good night’s sleep is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Even though there is no cure for insomnia, there are still many ways to treat it, either with medicine or home remedies.
Table of Contents
Treatment Options for Insomnia
Restful sleep can be restored by making simple changes such as:
- Changes sleep habits
- Addressing underlying causes of the disorder
- changing nutrition
- regular exercise
1. Behavioral therapies
These treatments are used to teach patients about new sleep behaviors and ways of improving the environment where they sleep. Certain sleep habits are good for promoting daytime alertness and sound, healthy sleep. These therapies are recommended as the first treatment for people suffering from insomnia. They are either equally or even more effective than medications.
Behavioral treatment includes:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
This therapy can help patients eliminate and control negative thoughts, anxiety, and worries that are the cause of keeping them awake. This may also involve eliminative beliefs about sleep that are false, such as the idea that a night without sleep can make you really sick
- Educating about sleeping habits
Good sleeping habits include avoiding activities that are stimulating before going to bed, regular sleep schedule and a nice, comfortable sleeping environment.
- Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are used to reduce anxiety at bedtime and include biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises. These are used to help insomnia patients with breathing issues, heart rate, mood, and tension in muscles.
- Restriction of sleep
This is a treatment that restricts the patient to sleep while causing sleep deprivation. This method may cause the patient to feel more tired the following night. When the sleep is improved, the restrictions are slowly removed.
- Stimulus control
Stimulus control involves limiting the patient of the time they spend awake in the bed. It is used to associate the bedroom and the bed only with sex or with sleep. This way, the patient will not be able to focus on worries and anxiety on a spot that is only meant for such activities.
- Passively awake
Paradoxical intention or being passively awake is a treatment for insomnia. The aim is to reduce the anxiety and the worries about being able to fall asleep when getting into the bed. Another thing is trying to stay awake instead of expecting to fall asleep.
- Therapy with light
This insomnia treatment includes the use of light in order to push back the patient’s internal clock. If the patient falls asleep too early or awakens too early, lights are used to treat them. The lights may be found outside during times when it is light in the evenings or by getting a medical-grade lightbox.
2. Medications for Insomnia
Sleeping pills can be prescribed to help patients get to sleep. These include medications such as Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Rozerem (ramelteon) and Sonata (zaleplon). The recommended dosage is usually recommended for more than a few weeks only, but in some cases, this may be recommended for long-term use.
There are many non-prescription sleep medications too. These include antihistamines that make patients feel drowsy and groggy. However, they are not highly recommended because they may reduce the sleep quality and cause some side effects. These side effects include dizziness, sleepiness during the day, urinary retention, confusion, and dry mouth. They can be worse in adults and older people. Additionally, antihistamines are known to worsen urinary issues which can cause the patient to lose sleep over urinating often during the night.
3. Alternative Medicine for Insomnia
The majority of people suffering from insomnia try to cope with the issue on their own and never visit the doctor’s office. In many cases, the effectiveness of alternative medicine is not proved, but it is commonly used by many people. These medicines include:
This is an over-the-counter supplement used to overcome insomnia. The body produces melatonin naturally and releases into the bloodstream. This increased amounts at dusk and moving towards the morning. Older people actually benefit more from melatonin, but there is no real evidence that this can help treat insomnia. If you decide on using melatonin, it is considered safe to do so for the duration of a few weeks. The long-term usage is not yet proved to be safe.
This is a dietary supplement that has a mildly sedating effect and is sold as a sleep aid. However, Valerian is not yet well studied and you should not try it without first discussing it with a doctor. Some people who have used this medicine for a long time are known to have increased the risk of liver damage. However, it is not certain if this medication was the one that caused the damage.
Valerian can cause addiction and if one decides to stop using this alternative medicine, they must make sure that it is tapered down. Cutting off Valerian out of a sudden can cause serious withdrawal symptoms.
During the sessions, an acupuncture practitioner will place many thin needles at specific points of the patient’s body. This practice can be beneficial for many things, including insomnia. However, the research on this subject is yet not very developed. If you choose this in addition to the conventional insomnia treatment, make sure to find a qualified practitioner.
There are studies that suggest that this treatment can improve sleep, especially in combination with other conventional treatments. Regularly meditating can have many positive effects to the general health that can also help treat insomnia, such as on blood pressure and reducing stress.
Regular practice of yoga is considered to help improve the quality of sleep and limit the risk of insomnia. Make sure that you start slow and go step by step with a qualified instructor. A good yoga instructor can help patients adapt poses according to their limitations, issues, and needs.
Make sure to speak to your doctor prior to taking any medications or do any activities when suffering from insomnia. Some medications can be dangerous and some may even interact with the medications prescribed for treating insomnia.
4. Home Remedies and Lifestyle changes
There is no cure for insomnia, but it is usually treatable. There are many home remedies that can be introduced in the daily routine that can actually help patients in treating insomnia. A lifestyle change can add a lot to the insomnia treatment. Additionally, good sleep habits can help patients in promoting sound sleep.
Insomnia can make a patient’s life unbearable. The easiest daily tasks may seem like the most difficult thing to do when a person is too tired.
When one is suffering from insomnia, insomnia treatment is inevitable. Do not be one of those people who go through life tired and anxious because they are trying to get over this disorder without any help. Insomnia is a serious condition and should be discussed with a professional. Sometimes, medications are a crucial step in treating insomnia, especially when speaking of chronic insomnia disorder.