Insomnia Can Be Treated With and Without Drugs
Doctors and health experts all agree that our normal sleep should be between 7 to 9 hours a night. Of course, this may vary from one person to another. The elderly may sleep less during the night but nap more during the day. Other people may also feel satisfied with just 4-5 hours of sleep. But for people who have insomnia, the sleep pattern is significantly different, because they have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. As a result, they tend to feel sleepy, tired, and irritable during the day. The condition may be short-lived or otherwise, and can be caused by a lot of factors.
How do you develop insomnia and what are the common signs that you have it?
Most of us have gone through episodes of insomnia at one time or another. The condition is usually due to any of the following:
- jet lag
- emotional Stress
- mental Stress
- poor sleep habits
On the other hand, if you experience pain, frequent urination, hot flashes, heartburn, or any physical discomfort that prevents you from falling asleep, it is likely that your insomnia is triggered by other underlying health problems associated with any of these health problems:
- bladder problems
- prostate problems
- heart failure
- Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
Insomnia can last for a couple of nights to a week, but normally goes away in a few days. But if you suffer from the condition chronically (like on a weekly basis), then it’s best to seek medical help to prevent it from causing further damage to your health. You have insomnia if you experience these signs:
- Tossing and turning at night and having a difficult time falling asleep
- Waking up at night and not being able to sleep any longer
- Feeling loopy upon waking
- Feeling tired, irritable, and anxious during the day
- Difficulty in concentrating
What are the most commonly recommended drugs for insomnia?
New Generation Sleeping Pills. Though there are a number of drugs to address your sleeping problem, it was found that zolpidem is the best choice for the average insomnia sufferer. This medication is less expensive than its contemporaries but because of its proven efficacy, users have attested that the medicine helps them fall and stay asleep without any side effect the day after. The other two kinds of sleeping pills that work the same way as zolpidem are generically known as eszopiclone and zaleplon, respectively. All three medicines affect a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Traditional Sleeping Pills. The three kinds of medicines mentioned previously are considered as the new generation medications for sleep disorders, which are different from the older batch of sedatives called benzodiazepines. The latter is usually prescribed to treat anxiety, and is found to cause drowsiness or lethargy the day after it is taken. Hence, this type of drug tends to be habit-forming.
Trazodone. This is an anti-depressant drug that used to be widely prescribed for people who have insomnia but without any diagnosis of depression. It is inexpensive and helps the person fall and stay asleep, but studies have indicated that its efficacy is not as lasting as that of the zolpidem.
But before you decide to resort to any of these medications, be sure to see your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Are there ways to treat insomnia without resorting to drugs?
Similarly, you do not just decide to ignore the need for medications. You have to consult with your doctor to diagnose the cause of your condition, and follow the advice as to what treatment to take. But there are ways that you can do on your own to help promote good sleeping habits. Here are some suggestions that are sure to work:
- Avoid watching television while you’re in bed
- Don’t work using a computer before going to bed
- Stay away from alcohol or caffeine-rich drinks after midday
- Eat a light meal at night
- Exercise regularly, but don’t exercise late at night
- Quit smoking. If you still can’t, then don’t smoke before bedtime
You may have some additions to the list based on your experience, but the bottom-line is you can do something about your insomnia or tendency to develop it, if only you’d care enough to adopt some, if not all, of these good habits.