Not being able to get a good night’s sleep and constant sleeplessness is called Insomnia. Now various reasons contribute to this disorder, but the most important among them is the stress of our everyday work routine. Deadlines and meetings can be a significant factor in the rise of this disorder.
Just distracting you from the topic here. This article only contains the treatment part, if you wish to learn more about Insomnia, do read my previous blog: Insomnia: Types, Causes, and Prevention.
Now, the critical question is, how do you treat this disorder? But before that ‘how’, do you know ‘if’ you have insomnia? Keep in mind that not all sleepless nights mean you have insomnia. To identify the disorder, you must first take certain tests.
How Is Insomnia Diagnosed?
Insomnia in itself is not a disease. It is a widespread disorder, and therefore there is no specific method to figure it out. Your doctor or physician will certainly perform some basic tests and ask you a few questions to understand your problem on a deeper level.
But for the doctor to come up with the perfect result, make sure you keep track of your sleep schedule as it will help with the diagnosis. Make sure to also tell your physician or doctor all your medical conditions and history. This information will help them come up with an accurate result.
Moreover, blood tests can help your doctor analyze your medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or low iron levels. Anything that negatively impacts your sleep can also be identified via blood tests. Your doctor will check your heart and lungs to ensure you don’t have any chronic pain or sleep apnea.
Sleep study is a way to diagnose Insomnia. It is also another name for the polysomnogram test. It measures your quality and quantity of sleep, and helps rule out any sleeping disorder such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome.
You are asked to wear sensors all over your face, chest, arms, and legs for this test. Also, you have to wear sleep wearing these sensors. This helps track your brain waves, muscle movements, breath and oxygen level, etc.
It is a type of sleep study that you can do in your house. You are made to wear a sensor around your wrist and ankle for a few days or weeks, depending upon the result, to monitor you while you are sleeping and awake. This again helps in providing a good diagnosis for the doctor or physician.
Many things can affect your sleep schedule, like a busy lifestyle or eating habits. Also, keep in mind that you may not always find the perfect results in the first visit to your doctor.
Also Read: Mental Health in the U.S.
How to Treat Insomnia?
After diagnosing insomnia, proper care and attention are required to help cure the problem. Changing your sleeping patterns and rectifying the issue associated with insomnia, such as medical conditions or stress, can help restore a peaceful sleep for many people.
But if none of the changes seem to do the trick for you, you can always ask your doctor or physician to improve the treatment. As I mentioned before, sometimes, one doctor’s visit may just not be enough.
In such situations, you can opt for the following treatments.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia(CBT-I):
CBT-I is a structured intercession for insomnia that helps recognize the thoughts and actions that pave the way for Insomnia and help overcome it with activities that promote sleep. Around 69% of the doctors use CBT-I therapy.
Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps in solving the problem from its roots. Technically, it is much more effective than pills. The therapy can be divided into the cognitive part and behavioral part.
The cognitive part of the treatment helps in teaching you to recognize and alter the beliefs that affect your sleep. This includes controlling your negative thoughts and worries that make you sleepless.
This may also include eliminating the cycle that causes fear of not getting enough sleep at night. The behavioral part of CBT-I helps avoid the behaviors that keep the sleep away.
The strategies of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia include:
This therapy includes restricting afternoon naps and bedtime, making you more tired and lazy. Once you are tired, you tend to sleep more. As the sleep gradually increases, you can also increase the time in bed.
Remaining Passively Awake
The passively awake or paradoxical intention is a form of therapy for insomnia that aims at staying awake rather than having the anxiety to fall asleep.
Breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, and other exercises tend to release anxiety and control the heartbeat.
This method helps remove the factor that controls you to follow a particular set of rules while sleeping. For example, going to bed at certain hours, waking up at a specific time, etc.
Also, keep in mind that these strategies and methods may vary from person to person depending upon their condition and their health. Make sure to consult with the doctor about the therapy you want to pursue.
Medications And Their Effects
Prescribed medicine can help you sleep or stay in sleep or both. But long-term medication can lead to unnecessary problems and issues. Some doctors do prefer long-term medications such as Eszopiclone, Zaleplon, etc.
In most cases, changing the routine and eating habits can cause a great improvement in sleep, but prescribed sleeping pills do help for the short term. Non-prescribed sleeping pills contain antihistamines that can cause side effects like daytime dizziness, difficulty in urinating, confusion, etc., which may worsen in older people.
Sometimes people avoid medications and opt for natural methods to cope with their insomnia. These methods haven’t proved to be effective in many cases, but they’re still worth the try.
A human body produces hormones called Melatonin that help us sleep. Taking of-the-counter supplements to increase the melatonin level is one of the methods to treat Insomnia.
Around 1.3% of adults use melatonin supplements. However, this method hasn’t been proven to be effective. Asking a physician before regularly consuming it is advisable.
Acupuncture is a component of old Chinese medicine that is said to help improve your sleep quality. Again, there is no perfect research that backs this method for Insomnia.
Some people may be allergic to this reaction; therefore, make sure to get tested before proceeding with it.
Magnesium is a natural mineral. It is said to relieve stress and help improve your sleep. Be careful while consuming magnesium supplements, as side effects may include stomach aches and intestinal issues.
Keep in mind to consume only a small quantity and take a break every two weeks. Do not take more than the recommended dose prescribed by your doctors.
In many cases, infrequent insomnia lasts only for a couple of days. In more severe cases, it can last longer. Make sure you get the necessary treatments if the symptoms last longer.
Around 60% of the people haven’t gone to a doctor to solve the problem. Find what works for you, and don’t be hesitant to consult a doctor when things don’t seem right. So, switch off your lights and go off to your bed.