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Best Treatment For Insomnia & Sleep Disturbances



Insomnia is a sleep problem that makes it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough restful and restorative sleep. 

Common options include over-the-counter sleep aids (e.g., diphenhydramine), prescription medications like benzodiazepines, and newer medications like Artvigil 150mg 

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What Is Insomnia? 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble going asleep, staying asleep, or both, even if you have plenty of time to sleep and your bedroom is quiet and dark. In order to be diagnosed with insomnia, sleep problems must also cause problems during the day, like being tired or having trouble focusing.

Up to two-thirds of people sometimes have trouble sleeping. These times when you can’t sleep may or may not meet the standards for a formal diagnosis of insomnia. This depends on how long they last and whether or not they make you feel bad or get in the way of your daily life. But anyone who is worried about their sleep should talk to a doctor or nurse about it so that they can get the right diagnosis and care.

A doctor can ask you questions to learn more about your situation and order tests to find out if you really do have sleeplessness. Because the signs of insomnia can be the same as those of other sleep problems, it’s best to work with a professional instead of trying to figure out what’s wrong on your own.

Types of Insomnia

The two main types of insomnia are acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia describes sleep difficulties that last for a few days or weeks, but not longer than three months. Short-term insomnia can often be traced to an external cause or life stressor like divorce, the death of a loved one, or a major illness. If acute insomnia persists over multiple months, it becomes classified as chronic insomnia.

Chronic insomnia is when a person experiences sleeping difficulties and related daytime symptoms, like sleepiness and attention issues, at least three days per week for longer than three months. It is estimated that about 10% to 15% of people have chronic insomnia.

People with chronic insomnia commonly feel distressed about their inability to sleep and the daytime symptoms caused by those sleep issues. Symptoms are generally severe enough to affect a person’s work or school performance as well as their social or family life.

Symptoms of Insomnia

The symptoms of insomnia include various sleep-related difficulties and daytime problems. Common sleep issues that can signal the presence of insomnia include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep throughout the night
  • Unwanted early morning waking
  • Resisting sleeping at bedtime in children and teens
  • Difficulty sleeping without a caregiver’s help in children and teens

In addition, insomnia causes daytime symptoms related to sleep loss. Those with insomnia often report feeling fatigued during waking hours, which may lead to impaired attention or memory. Insomnia-related sleepiness can affect work, school, or social performance, and increase the risk of accidents. Insomnia has the potential to negatively influence behavioral health and may contribute to instances of irritability, hyperactivity, or aggressiveness, especially in children.

Here are some general recommendations and treatments that can help improve sleep:

  1. **Sleep Hygiene:** Start with good sleep hygiene practices, which involve creating a sleep-conducive environment and adopting healthy sleep habits. This includes maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
  2. **Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I):** CBT-I is considered the gold standard for treating chronic insomnia. It involves working with a trained therapist to identify and change behaviors and thought patterns that may be contributing to your insomnia.
  3. **Medications:** In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help with sleep. These medications should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and only for short-term or intermittent use.
  4. **Melatonin:** Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to help regulate sleep-wake cycles, especially in cases of jet lag or shift work. It’s important to use melatonin supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as the appropriate dosage and timing can vary.
  5. **Lifestyle Changes:** Lifestyle modifications can play a significant role in improving sleep. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress through techniques like relaxation exercises or mindfulness meditation.
  6. **Stress Management:** Addressing underlying stress and anxiety can be crucial in treating insomnia. Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or relaxation exercises can help manage stress and reduce sleep disturbances.
  7. **Limiting Screen Time:** Exposure to screens before bedtime, such as from phones, tablets, or computers, can interfere with sleep due to the blue light emitted by these devices. It’s recommended to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
  8. **Avoiding Heavy Meals and Alcohol Before Bed:** Large meals and alcohol close to bedtime can disrupt sleep. It’s best to have a light dinner and avoid alcohol at least a few hours before bedtime.
  9. **Alternative Therapies:** Some people find relief from insomnia through alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbal supplements (e.g., valerian root, chamomile), or relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation or aromatherapy.
  10. **Consult a Healthcare Professional:** If insomnia persists or worsens despite trying these strategies, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can help identify any underlying medical conditions contributing to sleep problems and recommend appropriate treatment.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these treatments can vary from person to person. What works best for you may depend on your individual circumstances and the specific causes of your sleep disturbances. Therefore, it’s advisable to work with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan for your insomnia.