Treatment For Insomnia: How To Get The Sleep You Need

Updated August 27, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Tonia Cassaday

If you have ever suffered from insomnia, you likely know that it can greatly influence your daily life. This is why it is important to know what treatment options are out there for you when it comes to insomnia. Then you can always get the help you need. Keep reading for information on insomnia and how to alleviate certain issues it causes.

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What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder. People that suffer from it are unable to go to sleep at night. They may also be unable to stay asleep, or wake up throughout the night and be unable to go back to sleep.

If you have insomnia from time to time, this is fine. However, if it plagues you quite often, like for a month or more, this is known as chronic insomnia. It may be caused by an underlying health issue or due to certain aspects of your lifestyle. Either way, there is a chance you can get relief, no matter the cause.

Who is likely to get insomnia?

Certain groups of people are more likely to get chronic insomnia than others are.

  • Those that work night shifts or have to work late hours.
  • People who often travel through different time zones.
  • Anyone that has a sedentary lifestyle.
  • People that suffer from depression.
  • A person that has chronic pain.
  • Someone who has a lot of stress in their life.
  • Those that are on certain medications for other issues.

Causes

The cause for your insomnia depends on how long you have had it and if you have another type of health concern. For instance, if you have only experienced insomnia for less than a month, it may be due to your routine or things going on in your life. These are things that must be addressed and possibly altered in order to be able to get the sleep that your body requires.

On the other hand, if you have experienced insomnia for longer than a month, there can be a great number of causes. It can be anything from chronic pain to asthma that is causing you to be unable to sleep. Ongoing health problems should be alleviated when possible, which may be able to help clear up some cases of insomnia. This is something that you can discuss with your doctor or your psychotherapist, and they will be able to offer their professional advice. They have experience treating insomnia and will be able to develop a clear plan for you.

Symptoms

Unlike other conditions, the symptoms of insomnia can be rather obvious.

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  • Sleeping only for short amounts of time
  • Waking up too early, without being able to go back to sleep
  • Often feeling like you didn’t sleep at all
  • Having to lie in bed for a long time before you can fall asleep
  • Being awake many hours each night, even though you aren’t trying to be

Sleep is essential to your overall health, so when you are unable to get enough, it can affect all parts of your body, from your decision making to your ability to complete tasks. Therefore, it needs to be alleviated as soon as possible, once you notice that you have these symptoms.

Treatments

There are four insomnia treatment types that may be able to lessen your chronic insomnia. These treatments for insomnia are sometimes done in conjunction with each other, for best results.

Lifestyle Changes

To begin to take control of your insomnia, it may be necessary to institute certain lifestyle changes, as the first step in your treatment. Some of these changes may be easier to institute than others are.

Address Your Sleeping Habits

If you don’t have healthy sleeping habits, you will need to address those. You may want to keep a sleep diary, so you will be able to notice patterns and issues. This can also let you know exactly how much sleep you get each night. Your diary can let you know once things start to change. You should also consider starting a bedtime routine, much like you do if you have kids and you must put them to bed a certain way each night. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and make sure your room is cool, dark, and quiet.

Watch Your Diet

Cleaning up your diet is always a good idea, even if there is nothing that is causing you problems. You need to get the vitamins and nutrients your body craves, in order for your health to be where it needs to be. If this is something that isn’t straightforward for you, you can start small and clean up your diet slowly. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and drink water each day.

Exercise

This is another lifestyle change that can be incorporated into your routine at your own pace. If you are not used to exercising, shoot for 20 minutes a day, a few days a week. Then you can work your way up from that if you desire to.

Get Checked Out

You should get your physical health checked out once you start to notice you have insomnia, especially if it is paired with pain or breathing issues. This can be a sign that something else is going on. Once they are fixed, this might alleviate your insomnia as well, but you won’t know unless you consult with a doctor.

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Address Mental Health Concerns

Physical health problems are not the only type of health problem that can keep you awake at night. If you have another mental issue, such as depression, this is something you should seek treatment for as well. It may be a symptom of something else, which will need to be investigated by a psychiatrist.

Watch Your Caffeine Intake

Even though you may need caffeine from time to time, it is not a good idea to drink too much. It also should be limited at nighttime, if you want to be able to sleep. This is also true for other stimulants.

Limit Alcohol

Your drinking habits may not be doing you any favors in terms of your sleeping. If you have a problem with alcohol, do what you can to limit the number of drinks you have each day. It is also imperative to stay away from alcohol in the hours before you are getting ready to go to bed. It may be responsible for getting your sleep cycle messed up. This doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to drink, but like all things, it must be done in moderation.

Psychotherapy

When it comes to psychotherapy, there are a number of different options available to treat insomnia. One is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to change your behavior and way of thinking. There is evidence to support that this is something that works well for the treatment of insomnia.

Other psychological approaches may be to teach various relaxation techniques or to teach a patient how to limit certain types of stress, as well as how to deal with it in a healthy way.

It is important to follow your psychotherapist’s instructions and trust them to know what is best for your health. Therefore you should always go with a resource that you can believe in. If you are looking for a place to provide you with the proper therapy, BetterHelp may be for you. They employ experts in their field to help you get the support you need, which you can have access to 7 days a week, right from your smartphone or computer.

Medications

There are medicines that are designed to treat chronic insomnia, but they aren’t always used. If a doctor prescribes a sleep aid or antidepressant to you, they will likely also inform you how long it is safe to take it. This by itself should not be the only treatment you seek for your insomnia, especially if it has affected you for a long time. It’s important to discuss any potential medications with your doctor or psychiatrist.

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Overview

Insomnia can really cramp your style, once you start to lose valuable sleep. Keep in mind that it is quite common and anyone can suffer from it at times in their life. This is to be expected. Of course, if it bothers you for more than a month at a time, this is when you should get yourself checked out since there might be something else going on.

You want to be sure that you are in good health and that you can get the proper amount of sleep. Don’t wait around to see if it gets better. Get help today if you need it, especially if it has started to affect your work, life, or relationships. There are effective and well-researched treatments for insomnia that are available to you if you want them. They can help you start to lessen your symptoms and with a bit of luck, get to sleep again. It may even be able to go away completely.


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