THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE NON-PHARMACEUTICAL TREATMENT OPTIONS
Cognitive behaviorial therapy (CBT)
Considered the gold standard of insomnia treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) helps to change our negative thoughts, behaviors, and activities that can contribute to insomnia. The goal of cognitive therapy is to break the cycle of insomnia, emotional distress, dysfunctional beliefs, and further sleep disturbances. It consists of identifying a patient’s dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, challenging their validity, and replacing them with more adaptive substitutes. CBT-I incorporates some of the proven practices below.
Relaxation training is intended to calm the body and mind in order to induce sleep. These include breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation techniques, and guided imagery. Many people listen to audio recordings to guide them in learning these techniques.
Reduce caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bedtime
Eliminate light, noise and maintain a comfortable temperature in the room
Moderate food intake and avoid skipping meals in the evening
Avoid spicy, sugary foods before bedtime
A technique that helps to build a relationship between the bedroom and sleep by limiting the kinds of activities allowed in the bedroom. For example, going to bed only when sleepy and getting out of bed if you’ve been awake for more than 20 minutes. This can help to break an unhealthy association between the bedroom and being awake.
This deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, quality and make it easier to fall and stay asleep. Meditating is likely to improve insomnia symptoms by reducing measures of arousal within the brain. There are many guided meditation videos as well as mobile applications that can aid in reducing insomnia symptoms.
- Insomnia. National Sleep Foundation.
- Insomnia. American Sleep Association.
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SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR IF INSOMNIA MAY INTERFERE WITH YOUR LIFE.