Insomnia is a disorder characterized by having trouble falling or staying asleep. Insomnia sufferers may get some sleep at night, but they awaken feeling unrefreshed. Prolonged lack of sleep can drain your energy and affect your mood, ultimately affecting your health. There are steps you can take, in addition to following the treatment your doctor suggests, to effectively treat your insomnia.
Education About Sleeping
To aid you in getting more sleep, your doctor may provide you with some tips for developing good sleeping habits. These tips may include creating a comfortable environment in your bedroom, getting out of bed when you are not sleeping, avoiding the habit of trying to make yourself go to sleep and limiting activity in your bedroom to sleeping or intimate relations. These tips are aimed at developing behaviors that will better prepare your body to sleep.
Create Some Consistency
Creating some habits that are consistent will help to condition your body to fall asleep at a certain time each night. Over time, your body will get used to getting a certain amount of sleep each night and not awakening until the morning. Start by setting a schedule for the evening for dinner, bathing and preparing to go to sleep. This subtly helps your mind to make a connection with your body to prepare it for sleeping.
Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises can help you to reduce stress or anxiety before bed and increase your relaxation, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Try the following simple breathing exercise to relax and reduce tension. Lie down in a neutral, yet comfortable, position (i.e., flat on your back, hands by your sides, legs straight). Breathe in deeply through the nose for five seconds, hold for one second, and breathe out through the mouth for five seconds. Repeat as many times as necessary to promote relaxation.
Severe or chronic cases of insomnia may require treatment with medication. Your doctor may prescribe zolpidem (Ambien) or eszopidone (Lunesta). These medications can have numerous side effects, so it is important to take note of any symptoms you notice after you begin to take the medication. Notify your doctor of these symptoms, so he can adjust your dosage or recommend an alternate form of medication.
About this Author
Shemiah Williams is a young but experienced writer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and technology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She serves as a subject matter expert in many areas of health, relationships and professional development.