insomnia

How to treat insomnia naturally with or without medication?

Insomnia is a form of sleep disorder in which an individual finds it difficult to fall or stay asleep or both. People with insomnia usually do not feel refreshed after waking up from sleep. It can result in fatigue and other symptoms.

American Psychiatric Association states that approximately one-third of adults report insomnia symptoms. Around 6 to 10 percent of adults have severe symptoms to get them diagnosed with sleeplessness disorder.

Doctors clinically diagnose insomnia in an individual if both of these criteria apply:

  • sleep difficulties at least three nights a week for three months at least
  • sleep difficulties causing significant distress or problem is performing every life activities

Keep reading to learn about the five types of insomnia, symptoms of insomnia, and ways to treat insomnia.

What are the five types of insomnia?

Primary insomnia and secondary insomnia are two of the most known types of sleeplessness.

  • Primary insomnia¬†means your sleep problems do not link with other medical conditions or problems.
  • Secondary insomnia: It means you experience trouble sleeping because of any pre-existing health condition such as depression, asthma, cancer, arthritis, or heartburn; pain medication; or substance use (like alcoholism).

You might have also heard of the following three types of insomnia:

  • Sleep-onset insomnia: In this medical condition, you experience trouble falling asleep
  • Sleep-maintenance insomnia: It happens when you wake up too early or face difficulty staying asleep through the night
  • Paradoxical insomnia: In this sleep disorder, you underestimate the duration of your sleep. You have this feeling that you sleep a lot less than you do

Insomnia symptoms

People who have sleeplessness usually report at least one of the following symptoms:

  • unrefreshing sleep
  • waking too early in the morning
  • trouble falling or staying asleep

The restlessness mentioned above can result in other medical problems, including mood changes, fatigue, and irritability. You may also experience difficulty in concentrating on tasks during the day.

Ways to treat insomnia

There are both medicinal and nonpharmaceutical treatments for insomnia. Your medical healthcare provider might discuss what treatment options are appropriate for you. You may need to try different treatment measures before getting the most effective one for you.

Various competent institutes such as American College Physicians recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for adults dealing with chronic insomnia. Some also recommend sleep hygiene training as an effective method.

Sometimes, specific behaviors interfere with sleep and cause insomnia. Sleep hygiene training can help you with some changing some disrupting behavior. Suggested behavior changes may include:

  • avoiding exercise near bedtime
  • avoid consumption of caffeinated beverages near bedtime
  • minimizing time spent flipping sides on the bed when you are not explicitly intended to sleep, such as surfing the web or watching TV

If the reason behind insomnia is an underlying psychological or medical disorder, getting appropriate treatment for specific mental health conditions can alleviate sleep difficulties.

How to treat insomnia with medication?

Sometimes, medicines are prescribed for insomnia treatment; an example of such over-the-counter (OTC) medication is an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Drugs like this can have side effects, especially if you are taking them for a prolonged period, so it is crucial to consult a medical healthcare provider before initiating treatment with an OTC medication for sleeplessness.

Prescription drugs that may help treat sleeplessness include zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). Talk with your health expert before taking any medicines or supplements to treat your insomnia. There might be hazardous aftermath or drug interactions as not every “sleep aid” is beneficial for everyone.

Natural ways to treat insomnia

Some natural ways or home remedies can help treat short-term restlessness. The amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person, and most adults require at least grueling hours of good night sleep. If your sleep patterns are somehow affecting the quality of your life, some natural measures may be able to help.

  • Mindfulness meditation

This meditation consists of slow and steady breathing while sitting peacefully. Here, you need to observe your body, breath, feelings, thoughts, and sensations as they arise and pass. It has numerous health benefit that promotes a healthy lifestyle and sound sleep. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress, boosts immunity, and improves concentration.

Meditation significantly improves sleeplessness together with overall sleep patterns. You can meditate as per your requirements and convenience. Even if you do not have time for an extended session, aim to give at least 15 minutes to meditation in the morning or evening.

  • Mantra repetition

This Asian method of repeating or chanting a mantra can produce a calming effect and help you treat restlessness. Repeatedly making a positive affirmation can also help you focus better and calm your mind. Peaceful and calm music with chanting can also prove beneficial.

Mantras are believed to produce feelings of relaxation by calming the mind. You may choose a mantra in any language of your preference. Only you can decide which mantra pleases your mind (search online for ideas). The mantra can be a simple and positive statement in the present tense.

A good mantra will help you continually concentrate on the repetition of sound while will make your mind relax and go to sleep. I prefer chanting the mantra mentally or aloud, focusing on the words. Gently bring your senses back to the mantra whenever it wanders.

  • Yoga

Yoga has been an effective way to keep yourself healthy and positively affect sleep quality. This practice may also alleviate stress, boost mental focus, and improve physical functioning.

Choose a posture that focuses more on the breath than complex physical movements. Slow and controlled movements give you a chance to stay present and focused. Try to do some extended sessions each week and at least 20 minutes of regular self-practice.

  • Massage

Massage therapy can benefit individuals with sleeplessness by improving sleep quality and daytime dysfunction. A good massage may also reduce feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression.

If you do not prefer a professional massage, consider doing a self-massage. You may find it beneficial if your partner or friend gives you a massage. It would help if you allowed your mind to focus on the feelings and sensations generated by touch as your mind wanders.

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