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Understanding Insomnia Medications (cont.)

What is the treatment for insomnia?

The management and treatment of insomnia depends on the underlining cause or causes. If a person has a medical or neurological problem, treatment directed at the primary disorder may improve insomnia. Also if insomnia is caused by taking certain medications, tapering or withdrawal of those medications should be considered.

What natural remedies and non-drug therapy options are available to treat insomnia?

Psychological and behavioral treatments can help many people who suffer from insomnia. It is important to discuss options and administration with your physician/Sleep Specialist. Behavioral treatments for insomnia include:

  • Stimulus control therapy: This method is designed to re-associate the bed/bedroom with sleep and to re-establish a consistent sleep-wake schedule. It involves the establishment of good sleep hygiene as follows:
    • Sleep as much as you need to feel rested; do not oversleep.
    • Exercise regularly at least 20 minutes daily, ideally 4-5 hours before your bedtime.
    • Avoid forcing yourself to sleep.
    • Keep a regular sleep and awakening schedule.
    • Do not drink caffeinated beverages later than the afternoon (tea, coffee, soft drinks etc.) Avoid "night caps," (alcoholic drinks prior to going to bed).
    • Do not smoke, especially in the evening.
    • Do not go to bed hungry.
    • Adjust the environment in the room (lights, temperature, noise, etc.)
    • Do not go to bed with your worries; try to resolve them before going to bed.
  • Sleep restriction therapy: This involves limiting time in bed, with the goal that over time, poor sleep habits due to sleep deprivation will correct themselves. It's beneficial to have a sleep specialist work with you on this method.
  • Relaxation therapy: This involves procedures such as progressive muscle relaxation that reduces somatic tension (by alternately tensing and relaxing muscles) or meditation that helps with intrusive thoughts at bedtime that can obstruct sleep.
  • Sleep hygiene education: Education on various environmental triggers (light, noise, temperature, etc.), and health habits (diet, exercise, etc.) that may affect sleep.
  • Cognitive restructuring: This involves psychological methods used to stop negative perceived ways of viewing insomnia. The negative perceptions lead to stress which contributes to further insomnia.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016

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