Insomnia is probably the most popular sleep disorder. An estimated one third of the Americans suffer from varying symptoms of insomnia. Only 10% though are properly diagnosed.
Insomnia is not limited to the condition of not falling asleep but also it could mean waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep, waking up a number of times through the night and feeling tired after a night’s sleep.
Signs and symptoms of insomnia include fatigue, poor concentration, depression, muscle aches, irritability and others. Insomnia can be temporary or chronic. Temporary insomnia can be brought about by other illness, stress, pain and other conditions. If the symptoms occur on a regular basis and affect the person, then it could be chronic.
Temporary Insomnia can be treated with sleeping pills. If it is chronic, medication and behavioral strategies could be used for long-term effects. The treatment will depend on the severity of the illness.
Behavioral Insomnia Therapies are the ones most recommended for chronic insomnia. This is because treatments such as sedative hypnotic medications do not really address the underlying causes for sleep problems. They merely scratch the surface but are not really effective long-term.
Behavioral insomnia therapies address the causes of sleep problems which lead to insomnia. These therapies include facing and changing the person’s beliefs, assumptions and behaviors with regards to sleep. These are the factors that could cause lack of sleep. The behavioral techniques are:
– Sleep restriction – limits the amount of time spend in bed to sleeping alone.
– Stimulus control – the person is advised to sleep only in bed and only staying in bed when sleeping. The activity in the bedroom should be limited to sleeping alone so the person could relate bed to sleeping.
– Paradoxical intention – instead of forcing yourself to go to sleep night after night, the person is advised to try stay awake and do something else instead of dreading sleeping time
– Relaxation techniques – using relaxation techniques while in bed such as meditation, affirmation, imagination and others
– Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before sleeping because these could not induce sleep