Alternative Treatments for Insomnia
Insomnia can have a disabling effect on one’s life, leading to fatigue, inability to concentrate, and decreased mood. It is an issue for many people, and the long-term use of traditional pharmaceutical treatments such as hypnotics can be harmful. Fortunately, alternative treatments may help people who suffer from chronic insomnia find restorative sleep without the use of drugs.
Relaxation techniques are a powerful tool to combating insomnia. Such techniques aid in managing a person’s stress levels, and thereby ensuring better sleep. These techniques can involve:
- Breathing exercises
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Guided Imagery
These techniques can be useful for triggering the relaxation response, allowing the body to learn to make sleep easier for the person.
Stimulus Control Therapy
Stimulus control therapy (SCT) makes use of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It seeks to make the sleep environment a more favorable place for sleep, by reinforcing good habits such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Additionally, one should avoid doing anything stimulating in bed like working, reading, texting, etc.
Herbal Supplements + OTCs
Herbal supplements such as valerian, passion flower, chamomile, and many others have been used to treat insomnia for centuries. Many over-the-counter medications can also be taken for the short-term symptom management of insomnia. It is best to consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, as some combinations could be harmful.
See a Sleep Specialist
If insomnia persists despite self-care measures, it is best to consult with a sleep specialist. A sleep specialist can assess the patient’s condition, look for any underlying problems, and offer treatment options which may provide more effective, longer lasting results.
Insomnia can be an extremely difficult problem to overcome, but with the proper lifestyle changes and alternative treatments, restorative sleep can be achieved. Whether it’s through relaxation techniques, stimulus control therapy, herbal remedies, over-the-counter drugs, or consulting a sleep specialist – there are a variety of different options available. With effort and dedication, one can finally find the adequate sleep they need to feel better.