Insomnia Treatment

Usual cure

It helps to stop demanding a set amount of sleep every night. Having less sleep than you'd like doesn't cause any harm. Let yourself to fall short of the ideal without getting anxious about it. Feeling less anxiety about getting sleep will make it easier to fall asleep. Long term chronic insomnia needs professional support and patience.

For short-term insomnia, doctors may prescribe natural sleeping aid or sleeping pills. Most sleeping pills stop working after several weeks of nightly use, however, and long-term use can actually interfere with good sleep. Mild insomnia often can be prevented or cured by practicing good sleep habits (see below). Try reducing anxiety and sticking to a day-night routine that can improve sleep quality. Suggestions include:

· Avoid tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks like cola before bed.

· Don't exercise strenuously before bedtime. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.

· Don't nap during the day.

· Cut down on smoking and drinking.

· Do something to relax, such as meditate or have a warm bath.

· Only go to bed if you feel sleepy.

· Set a sleep schedule and keep to it. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia.

· Stop reading, worrying or watching television in bed.

· Limit your activities in the bedroom to sleeping and sex.

· Control your room temperature: maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.

· If you can't sleep: get up, go to another room and do something else until you feel sleepy again.

· Get up at the same time every morning, regardless of how much sleep you have had.

· Avoid 'judging' your sleep on a day-to-day basis.

Insomnia that has persisted for years needs professional support and patience. Treatment might take some time as the person needs to re-establish normal sleeping patterns. Some of the techniques used by a sleep disorder clinic might include:

· A sleep diary, to help pinpoint the pattern of insomnia

· A program of mild sleep deprivation

· Medication to help set up a new sleeping routine.
· Exposure to bright light in the morning. If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.

For more serious cases of insomnia, researchers are experimenting with light therapy and other ways to alter circadian cycles. Of late, the most effective therapy is to identify any problems that may be preventing sleep and to attempt to solve them, meanwhile reducing the person's anxiety about the insomnia itself. Sleeping pills have been found to be less effective than tranquilizers. Minor tranquilizers help treat insomnia by giving the person a few nights to restore the sleep cycle and to reduce anxiety, but they are not meant as a long-term treatment.

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