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 definition and facts
- What is insomnia?
- 3 classes of insomnia based on the duration of symptoms and signs
- Signs and symptoms of insomnia
- Who gets insomnia?
- What causes insomnia?
- Insomnia caused by stress and lifestyle factors
- When should I call the doctor or other health care professional if I can't sleep?
- Is there a test to diagnose the condition?
- What are the treatments for insomnia; can it be cured?
- Natural and home remedies to cure insomnia
- Sleep hygiene
- Stimulus control
- Sleep restriction
- Benzodiazepine, non-benzodiazepine, and antidepressant medications to cure insomnia
- Melatonin, Rozerem, and Belsomra for problems sleeping
- Can insomnia be cured?
- Insomnia FAQs
- Find a local Sleep Specialist in your town
Natural and home remedies to cure 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. Behavioral sleep specialists may also be available in some clinics and can be very helpful in managing the non-medical treatment options. They may use additional techniques dealing with cognitive behavioral therapy, including some biofeedback methods that help patients with insomnia relax and transition to sleep. They also may recommend you keep a sleep diary.
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. Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
- Do not force yourself to sleep.
- Do not drink caffeinated beverages or other stimulants 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.
- Avoid watching television in bed and for 30 minutes before bed.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but avoid foods that may cause reflux.
- Resolve stress and anxiety before going to bed.
- Exercise regularly, but not 4-5 hours prior to bed time.
Stimulus control refers to techniques used to help with initiating sleep. These techniques are used to induce an environment in the bedroom that promotes sleep. Some simple steps include:
- Use the bed only for having sex and sleeping, not working, reading, watching TV, eating, or other mentally stimulating activities.
- Go to bed only when you feel ready to sleep.
- Turn off the lights and all the noise in and around the bedroom.
- Get up at the same time every morning to avoid over-sleeping.
- If you do not fall asleep longer than 20 minutes after going to bed, get up and try some relaxation techniques until you are ready to sleep again.
Relaxation techniques, which are also a part of non-medical therapy for insomnia, involve sitting or lying comfortably and relaxing muscles of the body in one area at time. This may be combined with deep, relaxed breathing to promote further body relaxation.
Sleep restriction refers another non-medical behavioral therapy for insomnia which involves limiting the time spent in bed for sleeping only. Many people with insomnia may stay in bed for a long time after they wake up in the morning. This over-sleeping may disrupt the circadian rhythm and make sleep initiation more difficult the following night.
Sleep dairies or logs are used to record the actual time spent sleeping each night, and the time spent in bed is gradually reduced to the exact time spent sleeping by shortening the total time in bed. This method gradually reduces and eliminates over-sleeping over a period of time. It also increases the drive to sleep and makes sleep more efficient, as the time spent in bed approximates the duration of sleep.
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