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In general, transient insomnia resolves when the underlying trigger is removed or corrected. Most people seek medical attention when their insomnia becomes chronic.
The main focus of treatment for insomnia should be directed towards finding the cause. Once a cause is identified, it is important to manage and control the underlying problem, as this alone may eliminate the insomnia all together. Treating the symptoms of insomnia without addressing the main cause is rarely successful. In the majority of cases, chronic insomnia can be cured if its medical or psychiatric causes are evaluated and treated properly.
The following therapies may be used in conjunction with therapies directed towards the underlying medical or psychiatric cause. They are also the recommended therapies for some of the primary insomnia disorders.
Generally, treatment of insomnia entails both non-pharmacologic (non-medical) and pharmacologic (medical) aspects. It is best to tailor treatment for an individual patient based on the potential cause. Studies have shown that combining medical and non-medical treatments typically is more successful in treating insomnia than either one alone.
Insomnia Non-Medical treatment and Behavioral Therapy
Non-pharmacologic or non-medical therapies are sleep hygiene, relaxation therapy, stimulus control, and sleep restriction. These also are referred to as cognitive behavioral therapies.
Sleep hygiene is one of the components of behavioral therapy for insomnia. Several simple steps can be taken to improve a patient's sleep quality and quantity. These steps include:
Relaxation therapy involves measures such as meditation and muscle relaxation or dimming the lights and playing soothing music prior to going to bed.
Stimulus control therapy also consists of a few simple steps that may help patients with chronic insomnia.
Restricting your time in bed only to sleep may improve your quality of sleep. This therapy is called sleep restriction. It is achieved by averaging the time in bed that the patient spends only sleeping. Rigid bedtime and rise time are set, and the patient is forced to get up at the rising time even if they feel sleepy. This may help the patient sleep better the next night because of the sleep deprivation from the previous night. Sleep restriction has been helpful in some cases.
Other simple measures that can be helpful to treat insomnia include:
A person's circadian rhythm (biological clock) is particularly sensitive to light. Parents who need to sleep during the day may have to make child care arrangements to allow them to sleep.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/25/2016
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