If you often find yourself asking, “Why can’t I sleep?” You’re probably suffering from a terrible case of insomnia. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders that affect many people in different parts of the world. It is generally characterized by the difficulty of staying asleep and falling asleep. Individuals who suffer from insomnia experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Feeling restless upon waking up
- Waking up more often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
Bear in mind that you don’t have to deal with this condition every night. Sleep aids are available! Treatment for insomnia comes in different forms, ranging from relaxation techniques to consuming a prescription medication, or a mixture of both. Reach out to your doctor if you are experiencing trouble staying asleep and/or falling asleep. This way, you’ll be properly diagnosed with symptoms of insomnia and receive proper treatment.
What is the best treatment for insomnia?
Revamping your sleep habits and resolving any problems that might be linked with insomnia, like medical conditions, stress, or medication, can bring back your normal sleep schedule and enable you to have a peaceful and good sleep again. If these won’t work, your doctor will suggest sleep aids, cognitive behavioral therapy, or both increase relaxation and encourage sleep.
1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia or (CBT-I) can aid you in eliminating or controlling negative actions and thoughts that keep you awake at night. It is the initial treatment for those who suffer from insomnia. Usually, CTB-I is just as effective or more effective than sleep medicine. The cognitive aspect of CBT-I helps you determine and alter beliefs that impact your sleep habits. It can also assist you in keeping worries and negative thoughts that keep you awake at bay. It also eliminates the habit that can form when you worry so much about falling asleep that you end up not getting any. On another note, the behavioral aspect of CBT-1 aids you in forming ideal sleep habits and break behaviors that prevent you from having a restful sleep.
These strategies include:
- Stimulus-response therapy – this therapy helps eliminate factors that drive your mind to fight off sleep. For instance, you might be advised to establish a consistent sleep schedule and wake time and stay away from naps, utilize your bed for sleep and sex, and get out of your bedroom if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, only going back when you feel sleepiness kicking in.
- Relaxation techniques – breathing exercises, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation are some of the ways to combat anxiety before bedtime. Performing these techniques can aid you in controlling your heart rate, breathing, mood, and muscle tension so you’ll end up feeling relaxed before sleeping.
- Sleep restriction – this therapy teaches you to avoid daytime naps and limit the time you spend in your bed, resulting in partial sleep deprivation, which eventually causes you to feel more tired the next time. As your sleep improved, your time in bed will increase.
- Remaining passively awake – also known as paradoxical intention, this form of therapy for acquired insomnia focuses on decreasing your anxiety and worry about getting sleep by sleeping in your bed and trying to stay awake instead of anticipating to fall asleep.
- Light therapy – if you fall asleep too early and wake up too early in the morning, you can practice a light therapy to restore your internal clock. You can utilize a lightbox or go outside during light evenings. These tips do help.
2. Ask for recommendations from your doctor
Your doctor will likely suggest other strategies that are focused on your sleep environment and lifestyle to help you form habits that encourage daytime alertness and restful sleep.
3. Prescription medications
Prescription sleeping medication can effectively help you fall and stay asleep. Your doctor might recommend not to become too dependent on prescription sleeping pills, but particular sleeping pills are intended for long-term use. These include:
- Ramelteon (Rozerem)
- Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
- Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist)
- Zaleplon (Sonata)
4. Over-the-counter sleep aids
Nonprescription sleep aids have antihistamines. It is a substance that can make you feel drowsy however, it is not recommended for daily use. Reach out to your doctor before you consume these since antihistamines have potential side effects that include dizziness, daytime sleeplessness, cognitive decline, confusion, and difficulty urinating.
5. Lifestyle and home remedies
Insomnia is treatable and the key to successfully treat it is to make some changes to your day and night routine. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Follow a fixed schedule – establish a consistent wake time and bedtime every day, even during weekends.
- Be active – daily acidity helps you achieve restful sleep. Perform exercises several hours before bedtime.
- Examine your medications – talk to your doctor to inspect if they affect your sleep and cause your insomnia. You should also check the labels for any signs of caffeine or other stimulants in the ingredients.
- Limit or avoid naps – taking naps during the day can make it difficult for you to fall asleep faster at night. If you can’t help getting one, limit your nap to 30 minutes or less.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine and stay away from using nicotine. These can hinder your sleep and the effects can stay for how many hours.
- Avoid putting up with pain. If you are suffering from a painful condition that affects your sleep, talk to your doctor so they can give you pain relievers that will soothe the pain.
- Don’t eat bulky meals and drinks before bedtime – eat a light snack if hunger strikes before bedtime and drink are less liquid to avoid constant urinating.
- Make your bedroom a cozy space for you to sleep – use your bedroom for sleep or sex only. Make it gloomy and quiet, with a comfortable temperature. Conceal all clocks that you have in your bedroom, as well as your cellphone and wristwatch. This will keep you from thinking about the time more often.
- Look for ways on how you can relax – once you get into your bed, make it a habit to set aside planning and worries. You can also take a warm bath or get a massage before bedtime to help your body prepare for sleep. Establish a relaxing bedtime regimen, like performing breathing exercises, taking a nice, hot bath, listening to soft music, praying, reading, or doing yoga.
- Don’t try too hard to fall asleep – trying too hard to fall asleep will only make you more awake. Instead of struggling in your bedroom, go to another room and read until you feel sleepy, then get back to bed and try to catch some sleep. Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- Get up from your bed if you’re not sleeping – you can sleep as much as you like but when you’re no longer sleeping, get up and leave your bed.
Can Insomnia be cured permanently?
Fortunately, most cases of insomnia can still be treated using positive changes you facilitate on your own, even without the help of sleep experts or relying on prescription medication or over-the-counter sleeping aids. By resolving the existing causes and carrying out natural changes to your regular habits and sleep environment, you can combat the stress of insomnia and get the restful sleep you deserve.
Most people who suffer from insomnia never visit their doctor and deal with sleeplessness personally. Here is the most popular home remedy that can help you cope up with insomnia on your own:
- Melatonin – is an over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aid that is distributed to help those who want to combat insomnia. Generally, it is safe to consume melatonin for several weeks, however, there are no significant findings that prove this supplement’s effectiveness in treating insomnia.
- Valerian – it is a dietary supplement that is distributed as a form of sleep aid since it has a subtle sedating effect, though it hasn’t been thoroughly studied yet. Talk to your doctor before consuming Valerian since using high dosages have been linked to liver damage.
- Acupuncture – several pieces of evidence link acupuncture as an effective remedy for insomnia, but further research is still needed. Find a qualified and professional practitioner if you want to try out acupuncture alongside your conventional medication.
- Tai chi or yoga – according to a particular study, practicing tai chi or yoga daily can enhance sleep quality.
- Meditation – multiple studies have discovered that meditation, together with convention treatment can decrease stress and improve sleep.
What causes insomnia?
If you truly want to properly cure and treat your insomnia, then you have to establish yourself as a sleep detective. Almost half of the cases of insomnia are due to emotional problems, including depression, stress, and anxiety. Besides this, your sleep routine, daytime habits, and physical health also play an essential role. Make an effort to determine all potential causes of your insomnia. After you discover the main cause, you can design a unique treatment accordingly.
- Are you depressed? Do you sometimes feel hopeless or emotionally numb?
- Are you under a huge amount of stress?
- Are you diagnosed with chronic feelings of worry or anxiety?
- Are you under medications that might impact your sleep?
- Have you recently been through a traumatic experience?
- Do you make an effort to fall asleep and wake up at the same time daily?
- Do you have a cozy and quiet sleep environment?
- Are you diagnosed with any mental health or physical problems that might interfere with your sleep?
Popular psychological and medical causes of insomnia
There are times when insomnia only affects the person for several days and automatically goes away, especially if the cause is associated with an obvious temporary trigger, like a painful breakup, stress over future presentation, or jet lag. But other times, insomnia can be persistently frustrating. Chronic insomnia is typically linked to an existing physical or mental health problem. Some of the most popular causes of chronic insomnia are depression, stress, and anxiety. And having trouble sleeping can even make these causes worst. Other common psychological and emotional triggers are worries, anger, trauma, grief, and bipolar disorder. Treating these existing issues is vital to successfully overcome insomnia. Other causes include:
Medical complications or illness. Most medical complications and diseases can cause insomnia, such as allergies, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, acid reflux, chronic pain, and cancer.
Medications. There are a lot of prescription medications that reduce your sleep quality, such as corticosteroids, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, stimulants for ADHD, thyroid hormone, and some contraceptives.
Sleep disorders. Insomnia itself is a form of sleep disorder, however, it can also be an underlying symptom of a much bigger sleep disorder, such as restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disturbances.