What's the treatment for insomnia?
Treatment of insomnia may involve treatment of the underlying medical disorder, if any are detected during diagnosis. The doctor may recommend relaxation techniques, changes in diet and exercise, and a regular sleep routine. The doctor may also recommend the patient go to bed only when sleepy and use the bedroom only for sleep. Patients may want to set an
alarm to wake up at the same time everyday, and avoid napping during the day to develop a healthy sleep routine.
Patients can make changes in their daily routine that are simple and effective in treating their insomnia. They should go to bed only when sleepy and use the bedroom only for sleep. Other activities like reading, watching television, or snacking should take place somewhere else. If they are unable to go to sleep, they should go into another room and do something that is relaxing, like reading. Watching television should be avoided because it has an arousing effect. The person should return to bed only when they feel sleepy. Patients should set the alarm and get up every morning at the same time, no matter how much they have slept, to establish a regular sleep-wake pattern. Naps during the day should be avoided, but if absolutely necessary, than a 30 minute nap early in the afternoon may not interfere with sleep at night. Relaxing before going to bed will help a person fall asleep faster. Learning to substitute pleasant thoughts for unpleasant ones (imagery training) is a technique that can be very helpful in reducing worry. Another effective measure is the use of audiotapes which combine the sounds of nature with soft relaxing music. These, alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques, can safely promote sleepiness.
Another successful technique is called sleep-restriction therapy, which restricts the amount of time spent in bed to the actual time spent sleeping. This approach allows a slight sleep debt to build up, which increases the individual's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. If a patient is sleeping five hours a night, the time in bed is limited to 5-5 1/2 hours. The time in bed is gradually increased in small segments,with the individual rising at the same time each morning; at least 85% of the time in bed must be spent sleeping.
In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help the patient sleep. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs. Counseling may be recommended to help resolve psychological problems. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs. All require a doctor's prescription and may become habit-forming. They can lose effectiveness over time and can reduce alertness during the day. The medications should be taken two to four times daily for approximately three to four weeks, though this will vary with the physician and patient. If the insomnia is related to depression, then an antidepressant medication may be helpful. Over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines are not very effective in bringing about sleep and can affect the quality of sleep. In addition, sleeping pills can become less effective after a while. OTC sleep aids contain antihistamines to induce drowsiness. They're OK for occasional sleepless nights, but they, too, often lose their effectiveness the more you take them. Many sleeping pills contain diphenhydramine, which can cause difficulty urinating and a drowsy feeling in the daytime.
Changes in diet and exercise routines can also have a have a beneficial effect. Dietary items to be avoided include drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea and colas, chocolate (which contains a stimulant), and alcohol, which initially makes a person sleepy but a few hours later can have the opposite effect. Maintaining a comfortable bedroom temperature, reducing noise and eliminating light are also helpful. Regularly scheduled morning or afternoon exercise can relax the body. This should be done 3-4 times a week and be sufficient to produce a light sweat. Exercise may be one of the best ways to achieve healthy sleep. One study found that exercise is as good for promoting sleep as the use of benzodiazepines, a prescription sleep aid. Some research has found that yoga practice may have specific benefits on sleep health. Yoga uses meditation, deep breathing techniques, and movements that emphasize stretching and balance. A government-sponsored clinical trial is underway to determine if yoga helps people with insomnia.
More information on insomnia
What is insomnia? - Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or a disturbance in sleep that makes sleep seem inadequate or unrefreshing.
What types of insomnia are there? - Insomnia can be classified as transient, intermittent, and chronic insomnia. Insomnia is also characterized as primary or secondary insomnia.
What causes insomnia? - About half of all insomnia cases are caused by psychological or emotional problems. Sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism can also cause insomnia.
What causes transient insomnia? - Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation. A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and transient insomnia.
What causes chronic insomnia? - One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma.
What're the risk factors for insomnia? - The strongest risk factors for insomnia are psychiatric problems. Insomnia is more common in women than men.
What're the complications of insomnia? - Complications of insomnia include impaired mental functioning, accidents, mortality rates, stress and depression, heart disease, headaches.
What are the symptoms of insomnia? - Symptoms of insomnia can be different for each individual, and people with insomnia might experience a variety of symptoms.
How is insomnia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of insomnia is made by a physician based on the patient's reported signs and symptoms.
What's the treatment for insomnia? - Treatment of insomnia may involve treatment of the underlying medical disorder. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs.
Behavioral and non-drug treatment therapies for insomnia - Behavioral therapies are effective for insomnia. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia.
What prescription drugs are available for insomnia? - Rescription sleep medication may be required to cure insomnia. Various types of prescription medication include benzodiazepines, antidepressants.
What over-the-counter medications are available for insomnia? - Over-the-counter medications for insomnia include Nytol, Sleep-Eez, and Sominex. Antihistamines may be used as mild sleep inducers.
Does melatonin help to cure insomnia? - Melatonin, or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine, is a hormone produced by pinealocytes in the pineal gland. Melatonin may help certain older people with insomnia.
What natural insomnia remedies are available? - Many alternative treatments are effective in treating both the symptom of insomnia. Many people with insomnia choose herbal remedies for treating insomnia.
How to prevent insomnia? - Prevention of insomnia involves balance of rest, recreation and exercise in combination with stress management, regular physical examinations, and a healthy diet.