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Insomnia: Treatment for Insomnia

Updated on March 10, 2012

Cures for Insomnia

If you are one of the 6% to 10% of adults who take sleeping pills for your insomnia treatment, you have probably heard of the 2012 study that indicated that more than 500,000 deaths may have been associated with sleeping pill use.

Bleery-eyed sleep-deprived patients in need of treatment of insomnia are looking for new cures for insomnia, and many are finding that psychologists and other mental health professionals have some insights and techniques that provide insomnia help. Several of these insomnia treatment techniques are discussed in the sections that follow.

Insomnia Treatment ?

Treatment for Insomnia

Psychologists and other mental health professionals have available several tools and techniques that can help many sleep disordered individuals get insomnia help. The following is a brief survey of techniques used in insomnia treatment. The guidance of a psychologist is likely to help:

Breathing techniques: Many of the breathing techniques useful in the treatment of hyperventilation can be helpful for the treatment of insomnia. If your body seems too keyed up, you can activate the part of your body involved in the relaxation response, by taking deep breaths. One such method involves counting to seven when breathing in, and 11 when breathing out (7-11).

Distraction techniques: While there are few outright cures for insomnia, one of the classic techniques that helps when done correctly is is to distract yourself. Many people have developed this without professional help, and watch TV or read before going to sleep. Others count sheep. However, there is a trick to getting this right. The distraction method works best when the thing you think about, or do, is sufficiently interesting to succesfully distract you. So counting sheep is not all that effective unless you are a shepherd.

Psychologists who treat phobias, anxiety and panic atttacks often use both ditercation and breathing techniques, individually tailored to build relaxation skills.

Making the bed comfortable and a "place to sleep." Most insomniacs are aware that they associate restlessness, worry and trouble sleeping with the bed and pillow. One good treatment for insomnia involves staying on a chair or couch until you get tired, and only going to bed when you are ready to doze off. When done correctly the bed and pillow then become associated with sleep rather than insomnia.

Insomnia treatment can include perfecting these and other techniques, such as self hypnosis, cognitive behavioral techniques, solution focused treatment, and anxiety management methods. The help of a psychologist is often useful in making all these insomnia treatments more powerful and help you to take ownership of what methods help you.

Insomnia Treatment by Behavior Change

Natural Insomnia Treatment

Do not eat too close to bedtime, and avoid caffeine (sodas, coffee, tea) for several hours before bedtime. Many have found that natural supplements like Melatonin, sea salt, and St Johns Wart can them sleep. Taking a warm shower can be helpful, as can changing your habits and routine.

Sleeping Pills Side Effects

Many of the sleeping pills currently on the market (Ambien, Lunesta, Resterol, Sonata) have some serious side effects, incuding sleepwalking. You might remember that Patrick Kennedy was in trouble for driving in a dazed state, when he thought he was asleep.

The most alarming news about possible sleeping pills side effects comes from the Britiish Journal of Medicine. In a 2012 study of 10,000+ patients taking prescription sleeping pills there was a 3.5 times greater likelihood of death, from casual use. For patients who were using the sleeping pills frequently, there was about a 5 times greater association with death over the 2 1/2 year followup.

The authors of the study estimate that as many as 500,000 people may have had deaths associated with the use of Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, and Resterol. These insomnia treatments have not been found to actually add much sleep to your night, and are not insomnia cures, but may be contributing to cancer, car accidents and other life threatening problems.

In summary, the insomnia treatment that works best for you may include sleeping pills, distraction, breathing techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, or some combination of the above. Treatment for insomnia is available in self-help books and from psychologists, who can provide insomnia help and relief, especially if the problem is in part due to anxiety, worry or depression.

Photo credit: Insomnia 1:29 by Smiley Stew


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    • authorfriendly profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Charleston, SC


      Great idea about the furniture, anything that can break the old associations; but of course after the move its important then to wait until you are ready to zonk out before you go to bed, so the new arrangement is no longer associated with insomnia.

    • meloncauli profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      I believe insomnia becomes a major problem when it bothers the sufferer. If you get strung up on the fact that you can't sleep you are less likely to do so. Learning to be passive about it is a good idea. Acceptance. I also heard that changing the bedroom furniture around is a good idea to help break association issues.

    • authorfriendly profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Absolutely! I Can't believe I did not mention extercize as a way of calming yourself and getting tired, as the body does try to relax after a good run or a couple games of handball. AS a cure for insomnia that is near the top of things you can do!

    • njames306 profile image


      8 years ago

      And the merits derived from excerise too maybe?


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