Lifestyle modification often can help relieve acute (short-term) insomnia. These modifications may make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help to come out of anxiety, which is linking to most of the chronic (ongoing) insomnia. In addition, anxiety tends to extend insomnia.
Several medicines can help to stop insomnia and re-establish a regular sleep schedule. However, if the insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, then it is important to treat the underlying cause (if possible) to get relief from insomnia.
Insomnia treatment tips
If having insomnia, avoiding certain substances that make it worse, such as:
- Caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants taken during bedtime can affect normal sleep cycle.
- Some over-the-counter and prescription medications can affect sleep (example - some cold and allergy medicines).
- An alcoholic drink during bedtime may help to fall asleep easily. However, alcohol disrupts to sleep and makes it lighter than normal. This affects sleep by waking up during the night.
Try to adopt sleep hygiene or good bedtime habits that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Follow routine sleep habits that help to relax before bed. Such as read a book (but not in bedroom), listen to soothing music, or take a hot bath.
Try to have some daily exercise at least five to six hours before going to bed and do not eat heavy meals or drink a lot before bedtime.
Make your bedroom sleep-friendly by avoiding bright lighting; try to limit possible distractions, such as a TV, computer, or pet. Make sure the temperature of the bedroom is cool and comfortable.
Go to sleep and wake-up at the same time each night & day, even on weekends. This helps the inner clock to follow a certain regular schedule.
Insomnia Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
CBT for insomnia treatment corrects the thoughts and actions that can disrupt sleep. This therapy encourages good sleep habits to relieve from sleep anxiety.
For example, relaxation training and biofeedback are useful to reduce anxiety. These strategies help better control the breath, heart rate, muscles, and mood.
CBT helps to replacing sleep anxiety with positive thinking and teaches what to do if unable to fall asleep within a reasonable time.
CBT treatment begins by talking with a therapist to help consider the thoughts and feelings about sleep. It may encourage to describe thoughts racing through the mind in terms of how they look, feel, and sound. The goal is for the mind to settle down and stop racing.
CBT limits the time spends in bed while awake and setting a sleep schedule. At the beginning, the total time in bed is shortening, which may make even more tired because the allotted time in bed will take up by problems falling asleep. However, the resulting tiredness helps to get to sleep more quickly. Over time, the length of time spent in bed is increasing until get a full night of sleep.
For effective CBT, it needs to see a therapist who is skilled in this approach weekly for two to three months. CBT combined with prescription medicine produces a positive result for many people who have chronic insomnia. It also may provide long-term relief than medicine alone.
For people with insomnia and major depressive disorder, CBT combined with anti-depression medicines shown promising to relieve both conditions.
Many prescription medicines are available for the treatment of insomnia. Some are for short-term use, while others are for long-term use.
Rare side effects of insomnia medications may include sleep-eating sleep walking, or driving while asleep. If you have side effects from an insomnia medicine, or if it does not work well, tell the doctor. He or she may prescribe a different medicine that helps you better.
Some insomnia medicines may be habit forming, so be careful.
Over-the-Counter Insomnia Medications
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products claim to treat insomnia. These products include melatonin, L-tryptophan supplements, and valerian teas or extracts.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate “natural” products and some food supplements. Thus, the dose and purity of these products can vary.
Some OTC insomnia products that contain antihistamines are marketing as sleep aids. Although these products may make you sleepy, talk to the doctor before taking them.
Antihistamines pose risks for some people. In addition, these products may not offer the best treatment for insomnia.