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Treatment of Insomnia

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Insomnia can be treated and there are several types of treatments available for curing insomnia. The treatment depends on the cause of insomnia.

In case of situational factors causing insomnia, removing the factor will cure insomnia. In the absence of the factor, insomnia will also disappear automatically.

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Treatment of insomnia can be classified as non-medical or behavioural approaches and medical treatment. Both the treatments are effective for treatment of insomnia. Combining them will ensure more effectiveness in curing insomnia in patients.

In case of insomnia related to medical or psychiatric condition, insomnia can be treated by treating the condition causing the problem. Besides that, insomnia is also treated with specific therapy. If the underlying factor causing insomnia is not treated, then both medical and non-medical treatments of insomnia may fail.

Non-medical treatments of insomnia

Several effective techniques are used in the treatment of insomnia. The patients can use these non-medical treatments at their homes in combination with other treatment options. Some of the most important non-medical or behavioural techniques used for treatment of insomnia are sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, relaxation techniques and stimulus control.

Sleep hygiene

It is a very important component of non-medical treatment for curing insomnia. Sleep hygiene can be achieved with a few simple steps, which will help any initiation and maintenance of sleep in the patients. Sleep hygiene technique includes the following-

  • try to maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • avoid caffeinated beverages in the evening
  • to not force yourself for sleeping
  • do not over sleep and only as much as you need to feel rested
  • never drink alcohol before bedtime
  • change your bedroom and environment to something that relaxes you
  • do not smoke before going to bed
  • exercise regularly
  • avoid stress and anxiety while going to bed
  • do not go to bed hungry

Stimulus control

Stimulus control is another effective way to cure insomnia. This is a collection of techniques that help in initiating sleep. These techniques help in creating an environment in your bedroom conducive to sleep. Some of them are-

  • Use your bed for sleeping and not for working, eating or any other stimulating activities
  • avoid lights in your bedroom
  • avoid noises around your bedroom
  • go to bed only when you are sleepy
  • if 20 minutes after going to bed you cannot sleep, then get up and practice some relaxation techniques until you are ready to go back to sleep

Relaxation techniques include lying or sitting comfortably and then relaxing muscles of your body along with the deep breathing. These techniques are part of non-medical therapy for curing insomnia.

Sleep restriction

Another important non-medical behavioural therapy is sleep restriction. In this technique, the time spent in bed is used solely for sleeping. If you are suffering from insomnia and stay in bed even after waking up, it may cause problems with sleep initiation in the next night.

You may need to take sleep logs to record the time spent in bed. The objective is to gradually reduce the time spent in bed to the exact time of sleeping.

Medical treatment for insomnia

The main types of medicines prescribed for curing insomnia are the sedatives and hypnotics. Doctors prescribe benzodiazepines and the non-benzodiazepine sedatives for insomnia patients.

The medicines of benzodiazepines class used for effective treatment of insomnia include-

  • quazepam (Doral),
  • triazolam (Halcion),
  • estazolam (ProSom),
  • temazepam (Restoril),
  • flurazepam (Dalmane), and
  • lorazepam (Ativan).

Non-benzodiazepine sedatives are also used for treatment of insomnia. Some of the most common such medicines are-

  • zaleplon (Sonata),
  • zolpidem (Ambien or Ambien CR, Zolpimist, Intermezzo), and
  • eszopiclone (Lunesta).

Doctors also prescribe antidepressants like trazodone (Desyrel), amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), doxepin (Sinequan, Adapin) etc. for treatment of insomnia if the patient is suffering from depression.