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Insomnia Treatment – The Treatment Options
Treatment for insomnia should start with finding and treating the underlying conditions. At the start of treatment, sleeping pills or other medications may be prescribed.
Non-invasive treatments are usually tried first once different issues are cleared up. Sleeping pills are sometimes kept as a last resort.
Not all drugs are addictive. Psychological dependence is a common problem. Long-term use of drugs leads to negative side effects. Medicines can become less effective if used for too long. Medications may stop working if used every night.
Teaching insomnia good sleep hygiene is the most effective treatment. Good sleep hygiene is all about creating an environment that produces reliable, restorative sleep without medication.
Good sleep hygiene begins with careful consideration of diet and caffeine intake. Caffeine intake should be minimized. Heavy foods should not be eaten just before bedtime. Drinking before bed is not recommended as it can really make sleep problems worse.
Stressful activities should be eliminated before bedtime. Sleep-inducing activities like reading, meditating, or listening to soothing music will be encouraged throughout the hour before bedtime. Insomniacs should keep their sleeping area dark, cool and comfortable. Computers and TVs in the bedroom are not permitted.
Reducing daytime stress is a crucial part of sleep hygiene. Insomnia is often made worse by poor stress management and undiagnosed anxiety. Exercise, meditation, and self-hypnosis can be taught to help insomnia deal with stress.
If sleep hygiene does not relieve insomnia, the next step is temporary medication combined with cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is a method that teaches insomniacs to unlearn stressful reactions. Patients learn to react differently to their thoughts and sleep begins to return naturally.
Hypnotherapy is helpful for mild insomnia but tends to stop working for chronic cases.
Medications like zolpidem (Ambien), antidepressants, melatonin, or natural substances like five-HTP and L-tryptophan can be used to treat insomnia. Up to fifty mg per night of the over-the-counter drug diphenhydramine can also be a safe and effective sleep aid.
Drug treatment can cause “rebounding insomnia” if taken for too long. Without realizing it, insomniacs can become addicted to sleep medications. After stopping the drug, sleep becomes even more difficult than before.
Drug treatment should not be used for long periods. Insomniacs should also be careful with over-the-counter medications. Good alternatives to drugs include natural foods and herbal supplements. Turkey, hot milk, and valerian tea all contain non-narcotic sleep-inducing substances.
Magnesium deficiency is sometimes a contributing factor to insomnia. Nuts, dark chocolate, dark green leafy vegetables and legumes are high in magnesium and may be good for insomnia.
Lifestyle changes and stress are common causes of short periods of insomnia. Insomnia that becomes chronic is more serious. When insomnia becomes chronic, the first step is to eliminate underlying physical problems or emotional disturbances.
Lack of exercise, stressful work and poor diet are the main causes of chronic anxiety which leads to insomnia. Insomnia can be improved by adding daily exercise to each day and learning how to handle stress better.
Insomnia can be successfully treated. Healing is often easier than expected. Start with an improved diet, daily exercise and good sleep hygiene. A good starting point is better sleep hygiene, regular physical activity and a healthy diet. If simple modifications do not work, qualified help is available.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective and affordable treatment for insomnia. CBT is not expensive and its duration is limited.
Using medication to treat insomnia should be the last resort. Drug therapy is less effective in the long term than CBT and lifestyle improvements.
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