Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Insomnia facts
- What is insomnia?
- What causes insomnia?
- What are the risk factors for insomnia?
- What acute situational and stress factors cause insomnia?
- What are the symptoms of insomnia?
- When should I call the doctor about insomnia?
- How is insomnia diagnosed?
- How is insomnia treated?
- What are non-medical treatments for insomnia?
- What is sleep hygiene?
- How can stimulus control help with insomnia?
- What is sleep restriction?
- What medications are used to treat insomnia?
- What is the outlook for insomnia?
- Find a local Sleep Specialist in your town
How is insomnia treated?
The treatment of insomnia depends largely on the cause of the problem. In cases where an obvious situational factor is responsible for the insomnia, correcting or removing the cause generally cures the insomnia. For example, if insomnia is related to a transient stressful situation, such as jet lag or an upcoming examination, then insomnia will be cured when the situation resolves.
Generally speaking, the treatment of insomnia can be divided into non-medical or behavioral approaches and medical therapy. Both approaches are necessary to successfully treat insomnia, and combinations of these approaches may be more effective than either approach alone.
When insomnia is related to a known medical or psychiatric condition, then appropriate treatment of that condition is in the forefront of therapy for insomnia in addition to the specific therapy for insomnia itself. Without adequately addressing the underlying cause, insomnia will likely go on despite taking aggressive measures to treat it with both medical and non-medical therapies.
What are non-medical treatments for insomnia?
There are several recommended techniques used in treating people with insomnia. These are non-medical strategies and are generally advised to be practiced at home in combination with other remedies for insomnia, such as medical treatments for insomnia and treatment for any underlying medical or psychiatric disorders.
Some of the most important of these behavioral techniques are sleep hygiene, stimulus control, relaxation techniques, and sleep restriction.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is one of the components of non-medical treatments for insomnia and includes simple steps that may improve initiation and maintenance of sleep. Sleep hygiene consists of the following strategies:
- Sleep as much as possible to feel rested, then get out of bed (do not over-sleep).
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Do not force yourself to sleep.
- Do not drink caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening.
- Do not drink alcohol prior to going to bed.
- Do not smoke, especially in the evening.
- Adjust the bedroom environment to induce sleep.
- Do not go to bed hungry.
- Resolve stress and anxiety before going to bed.
- Exercise regularly, but not 4-5 hours prior to bed time.
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