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Chronic insomnia treatment consists of:
• Diagnosing and treating underlying medical or psychological problems.
• Identifying behaviors that may worsen insomnia and stopping them.
• Possibly using sleeping pills, although the long-term use of sleeping pills for chronic insomnia is controversial.
• Trying behavioral techniques to improve sleep, such as relaxation therapy, sleep restriction therapy, reconditioning, and many other techniques.
Taking prescription sleeping pills, such as Zolpidem (Ambien®), Eszopiclone (Lunesta®), Zaleplon (Sonata®) or Ramelteon (Rozerem®) can be very helpful, especially for the first couple of weeks until there's less stress in patient’s life. Beside these sleeping pills the antidepressant called Trazodone (Desyrel®) also may help with insomnia. Doctors generally don't recommend prescription sleeping pills for the long term because they may cause side effects.
Beside medications, there are also specific and effective relaxation techniques that can reduce or eliminate anxiety and tension. The most important effect of these relaxation techniques is that the person's mind is able to stop calm down and the muscles can relax, and restful sleep can occur.
Most of the insomnia patients spend too much time in bed unsuccessfully trying to sleep but they don’t know that they may benefit from a sleep restriction program that at first allows only a few hours of sleep during the night. Gradually the time is increased until a more normal night's sleep is achieved.
A lot of people nowadays are using bed for various other activities such as reading or watching TV. This may lead to insomnia because their brain isn’t conditioned to asociate the bed with sleeping only. In this therapy the brain needs to be reconditioned to asociate bed and bedtime with sleeping.
This therapy is based on a concept that, if the patient is having trouble getting to sleep early enough at night, waking up at the same time every morning and trying to get as much bright light in the morning as possible may help. This should help reset the internal clock to an earlier time at night for sleep.
If the patient is having trouble staying awake in the evening and waking up too early in the morning then he should try to get some bright light in the evening in order to reset the internal clock to go to sleep later and wake up later.
Tips for managing Chronic Insomnia
Chronic insomnia means that you have had troubles sleeping for a month or more. It might be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, disease, pain, medications, sleep disorders or poor sleep habits.
The following tips may be helpful:
- Establish a regular schedule. Go to bed and get up the same time every day
- Don't drink coffee or other caffeine-based beverages after noon.
- Exercise regularly
- Refrain from smoking; nicotine is a stimulant.
- Use your bed only for sex and sleep
- Restrict your sleep by limiting the time you spend in bed to the actual amount of time that you sleep. If you lay in bed for eight hours and only sleep five, limit your time in bed to five hours. Gradually increase this number by 15 or 30-minute intervals.
- Get up at the same time every morning, no matter how poorly you slept
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as Yoga or meditation.
- Keep the bedroom dark, comfortable and quiet to minimize sleep interruptions
- Reset your body's clock
- Check your medications
- If some painful condition bothers you, make sure the pain reliever you take is effective enough to control your pain
- Avoid or limit noon or afternoon naps
Complementary and alternative medicine
Melatonin is a widely used supplement made to help people overcome insomnia, prevent jet lag, battle cancer, rejuvenate your sex life and slow aging.
However, most experts believe that using melatonin supplements isn't necessary because human body already produces it.