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Non-Medical treatment for insomnia

There are psychological and behavioral techniques that can be helpful for treating insomnia. Relaxation training, stimulus control, sleep restriction, and cognitive behavioral therapy are some examples.

Some of these techniques can be self-taught, while for others it’s better to enlist the help of a therapist or sleep specialist.

Relaxation training

biofeedback_relaxationProgressive muscle relaxation, teaches the person to systematically tense and relax muscles in different areas of the body. This helps to calm the body and induce sleep. Other relaxation techniques that help many people sleep involve breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation techniques, and guided imagery.

Many people listen to audio recordings to guide them in learning these techniques. They can work to help you fall asleep and also return to sleep in the middle of the night.

Stimulus control

bedtime_stories_tiagodafonseca_2helps to build an association between the bedroom and sleep by limiting the type of activities allowed in the bedroom. An example of stimulus control is going to bed only when you are sleepy, and getting out of bed if you’ve been awake for 20 minutes or more. This helps to break an unhealthy association between the bedroom and wakefulness. Sleep restriction involves a strict schedule of bedtimes and wake times and limits time in bed to only when a person is sleeping.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

includes behavioral changes (such as keeping a regular bedtime and wake up time, getting out of bed after being awake for 20 minutes or so, and eliminating afternoon naps) but it adds a cognitive or “thinking” component. CBT works to challenge unhealthy beliefs and fears around sleep and teach rational, positive thinking. There is a good amount of research supporting the use of CBT for insomnia. For example, in one study, patients with insomnia attended one CBT session via the internet per week for 6 weeks. After the treatment, these people had improved sleep quality.

Light Therapy for Insomnia Sufferers

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In some cases, light therapy can be helpful for people with insomnia. If you are working with your primary care doctor or a sleep specialist for insomnia, you can ask if this is an appropriate treatment for you. Light therapy might be indicated if you have tried other forms of treatment or if your doctor thinks your particular insomnia symptomscall for this mode of therapy.

In light therapy, you sit near a special light box for a certain amount of time each day. The light from this box mimics outdoor light (which is important for regulating your body’s sleeping and waking cycles). Exposure to this bright light helps to adjust your circadian rhythm — physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle and respond primarily to light and darkness in the environment — and may help certain people sleep earlier at night or sleep later in the morning. Light therapy is designed to use visible light, while filtering out ultraviolet rays.

The most effective light therapy is consistent and properly timed—that usually means integrating light therapy sessions into your daily life. You can read, use a computer, write, talk, or do other activities while sitting in front of your light box.

Light therapy boxes are available in stores and online, and in some cases they are covered by insurance. It’s best to use light therapy under the supervision of a doctor (especially if you have an eye disorder), therapist, or sleep specialist to help you choose the best kind, the right intensity, and to decide on a treatment plan. There is some research showing light therapy is effective for certain types of insomnia. However, some patients report problems, which can include eye irritation and dryness, headache, nausea, and dryness of skin.

Alternative Medicine

natural-vitamin-pills-alternative-medicine-d-34701572There are alternative medicines that may help certain people sleep. It’s important to know that these products are not required to pass through the same safety tests as medications, so their side effects and effectiveness are not as well understood.


Reference:
https://sleepfoundation.org

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