Do you find it very difficult to fall asleep? It could be Insomnia – a sleep disorder.
People with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep. It is linked to heart disorders, high blood pressure, depression, loss of focus and memories. An immediate effect of insomnia is lethargy, low attention span and mood swings that interfere with your daily activities.
That is why it is important to seek treatment for insomnia. In this article, we will discuss how insomnia is treated.
How to Treat Insomnia?
So what exactly are the components of insomnia treatment? Actually, it’s not just medicines that help in dealing with insomnia. There are non-medicinal ways too.
Cognitive or behavioral therapy
This form of therapy is immensely helpful in teaching people to live with a number of psychological or personality issues. Insomnia is often the result of turmoil in our mind, or an overabundance of stimuli, or simply some of our habits. Cognitive therapy will help identify the issue and teach you to resolve it.
Unable to relax? Relaxation therapy teaches you how to relax your muscles and control their twitches and spasms. This is different from relaxing your mind through meditation. Once you have mastered the art of relaxing your muscles, your nerve impulses will not run rampant in your body. This will help induce sleep. You will have to perform this relaxation exercise before going to bed every night.
Relaxation can also rely on external triggers such as soothing music or a gentle voice (playing on an app) guiding your mind to a peaceful state or swirling patterns or images on a screen that make you drowsy. You may also be taught certain breathing techniques to help relax your mind.
Read More: 7 Different Relaxation Techniques That Help Fight Stress
The mind of the insomniac associates the bedroom with wakefulness. So what is the goal of stimulus control? It is breaking this association. So that means your therapist will suggest a few dos and don’ts. For example, you will not be allowed to do any strenuous work in your bedroom; you will not read or watch movies there; you will always have to dim the lights in your bedroom. This way your mind will strongly associate the bedroom with sleep.
Why do insomniacs need behavioral therapy? Because it instills in you habits that make sleep come easier.
It entails –
Establishing a bedtime routine.
Going to bed at a fixed time.
Eating foods that promote sleep.
Scaling down your activity level post-dinner.
Addressing the causes of insomnia like anxiety.
Behavioral therapy has been proven immensely effective and people observe results in just a few weeks. A few tips in dealing with insomnia are –
Avoiding stimulants like nicotine or caffeine in the evenings.
Exercising a few hours before going to bed.
Completing your dinner 3 hours before you try to sleep.
Creating a quiet and peaceful ambiance in your bedroom.
Medicinal help for insomnia
There are sleeping pills that can help in dealing with insomnia. These sleeping pills reach your brain and urge it to produce more sleep hormones. Some pills relax the nerves and the mind to make sleep possible. There are different kinds of sleeping pills.
These pills control the GABA receptors of the human brain that regulate alertness and wakefulness. There are medicines for insomnia that modify the human sleep/wake cycle or the circadian clock, controlled by the hypothalamus. These drugs target this part of the brain to reduce the hours of wakefulness. If depression or anxiety is the cause of sleeplessness, doctors prescribe antidepressants.
Insomnia is treatable. It does not have to make your life miserable. Just adhere to your therapist’s instructions and take all your medicines on time to sleep better.