"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Follow Poodle? Alternatives to prescribed sleep medications

A recent author once wrote, “Night is the hardest time to be alive and 4 a.m. knows all my secrets.” If you haven't been sleeping well shortly, this quote may feel like your latest reality. You may even end up tempted by the comfortable poodles and free-floating butterflies on TV begging you to ask your doctor about their latest insomnia medication. But, before answering their siren call, you stopped. You will notice that the unwanted side effects wear off quickly and are obscure. You worry about being “hooked” on them eternally. Ask yourself, is there one other method to improve sleep? The answer is an emphatic “yes!”

CBT: The Clear Winner for Insomnia

Sleep experts now agree that behavioral (non-drug) techniques needs to be the primary line of treatment for many cases of chronic insomnia. The best-studied of those is cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. The goal of CBT is to deal with the harmful behaviors and false beliefs which can be causing and maintaining insomnia. Components of CBT include restricting time in bed, eliminating negative associations between sleep deprivation and the bedroom environment, and correcting any negative or incorrect beliefs about sleep.

In large-scale studies, CBT has been shown to be as effective as drug treatments for insomnia. Importantly, improvements in sleep are longer lasting after CBT in comparison with drug treatment or a mix of drug treatment and CBT. Until recently, the usage of CBT, which usually requires several in-person sessions, has been limited by an absence of qualified therapists. However, studies now show that temporary interventions (using only 1-2 sessions) in addition to therapy delivered through online programs may be just as effective as traditional CBT.

Relaxation therapy will also be effective in treating insomnia. However, although improving sleep hygiene (eg, limiting caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and exercise near bedtime) is effective when added to CBT, larger treatment plans It just isn’t effective when used alone, without being a part of

What about other complementary therapies?

Nontraditional or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices are utilized by about 45% of Americans with insomnia. Such treatments include herbs or natural products (eg, valerian, melatonin), yoga, and acupuncture. But are CAM treatments effective and price your money and time?

Unfortunately, there have been relatively few studies of CAM treatments for insomnia, and most of them haven’t been well conducted. However, acupressure, tai chi, yoga, and other mind-body activities could also be effective, however the status of acupuncture and L-tryptophan is unclear. There is little or no evidence that herbal mixtures (valerian, chamomile, kava, willow), aromatherapy, and homeopathy are helpful. As for melatonin, it is helpful for treating circadian or body rhythm disorders. Its role as a treatment for insomnia has not been clearly established.

The bottom line is to get more shuteye — with none butterflies

Chronic insomnia affects about 10% of Americans and ends in poor quality of life. Behavioral or non-drug approaches are effective and needs to be the initial treatment. Some treatments for CAM have been shown to be effective, but most are usually not. Additionally, you ought to be aware that the majority claims in regards to the effectiveness of CAM treatments for insomnia are usually not supported by good evidence.