Insomnia and treatments that help you sleep soundly

If you're having trouble sleeping at the moment, I'm so glad you've landed here. I have all the information you need on insomnia and treatments to get you sleeping again as soon as possible.

In fact, I can tell you about one of the best treatments for insomnia I've ever come across. I wish I'd found this many years ago - I would have been able to help so many people!

I also have a whole list of strategies and tips on my page: Natural Sleep Remedies.

As a counsellor, when talking about how to treat insomnia, I'm glad that I can point people to a free and effective treatment to help to banish those sleepless nights.

Depending on how long you've been suffering from insomnia, you may or may not be ready to try this. So, be sure to visit my other pages on insomnia and treatments too (see links further down) to get all of the information you need to help you make an informed decision.

Firstly, why not start by taking this test on the BBC website before we look at how to deal with your insomnia.

What is insomnia?

A woman lies awake in bed, her hand grasping a pillow as she stares blankly.

If you already know what exactly insomnia is, you can of course skip this part. If you don't, then I hope this will help you to understand the difficulties you're having at the moment.

Insomnia is a symptom - not a disease - of all kinds of disorders, illness and problems. That means that the route to restful nights in the future lies in a very individual approach.

If you're suffering from insomnia, the quality and/or quantity of your sleep is poor. Here is what that entails:

  • Difficulty falling asleep - you probably understand this exactly: endless tossing and turning, perhaps with your thoughts racing too.
  • Waking up frequently during the night - you're only too aware of what you were thinking about the last time you woke up and your mind seems to have remained active even whilst you were asleep.
  • Waking up and being unable to go back to sleep quickly - PINGGGG! Eyes wide open and not a chance that you'll drop off again soon.
  • Waking up too early - you're still tired and yet you can't get back to sleep, and you feel demotivated and miserable about the day ahead.

There are two particular types of insomnia:

  1. If your lack of sleep started suddenly, this is known as acute insomnia
  2. If you've been suffering with insomnia for at least a month, this is known as chronic insomnia 

Insomnia - being a symptom - means that there is always something causing your sleep difficulties. Most of the time, if the underlying factor is sorted your sleeping pattern will improve - if not be cured altogether.

To find out what causes insomnia, hop over to my page on the physical effects of sleep deprivation (see links below). I'll be here when you come back.

Acute insomnia and treatments

Are you suffering from occasional insomnia? Have you recently experienced a trauma of some sort?

The good news is that what is called transient or intermittent insomnia, experienced following an identifiable cause, is usually easily treated.

Chronic insomnia and treatments

The treatment of chronic insomnia requires a little more attention. We'd first need to explore exactly what your particular pattern of sleeplessness looks like.

Your doctor will want to know much more about your insomnia if you've had it for a long time. The following questions will help you gain more insight:

10 Questions to help you get to the root of your insomnia

  1. When did it start?
  2. What was happening at the time?
  3. How did it develop/change over time?
  4. When do/did you not suffer from insomnia?
  5. What was going on when you slept well?
  6. Are you otherwise healthy?
  7. Are you taking any medication?
  8. What is your diet like?
  9. Do you take any exercise?
  10. Do you suffer from depression and/or anxiety?

I just want to reassure you though... just because you've had sleep difficulties for a long time, this doesn't necessarily mean it's going to take longer to sort out. There are some really effective treatments for insomnia that can help you to get better, no matter how long you've been suffering.

Want to talk to someone about it in confidence?

You can speak with an online expert counsellor right now.

Should you take sleeping pills to treat your insomnia?

Your doctor will be (or should be) reluctant to prescribe sleeping tablets for your insomnia. Treatments that deal with the underlying problems are far more preferable.

Prescribed medication is unlikely to improve your sleep in the long term. Not only that, but sleeping tablets are addictive and withdrawal comes with its own difficulties and side effects too.

When you take sleeping tablets, your body becomes accustomed to the medication. It develops a 'tolerance' to it - in other words, it compensates for the presence of the drug in your bloodstream. As it does so, you begin to need a higher dosage of the medication to achieve the same effect.

Can you see that this makes sleeping tablets only suitable for a very short time? On top of that - 'the same effect' may include side effects that you'll be less enamoured with, such as (depending on the kind of medication):  memory loss, daytime drowsiness, confusion and/or depression

These problems can lead to poor performance (at school or at work), problems at home and also interfere with your social life. They can lead to an increased risk of accidents due to the effect on your co-ordination and reaction speed.

In essence, these negative effects in many ways mean the medication doesn't counteract the original problems your insomnia was already causing you in the first place. 

In addition you may suffer physical side effects:

  • dry mouth
  • problems with co-ordination
  • headaches
  • bitter/metallic taste
  • allergic reactions
  • birth defects
  • reduced interest in a physical relationship

I am naming just a few of the side effects here - I'm sure you can imagine (as with any medication) there are many more besides! But I can recommend some great herbal sleep remedies, so do take a look at the links at the end of this page for more info on this.

'Sleep hygiene' and sleeplessness

Any discussion about insomnia and it's treatment has to include advice on sleep hygiene. To help you with this, do make sure you follow all the sleep hygiene tips on these pages to give you the greatest chance of having the best possible night's sleep. You'll find another list on my page on natural sleep remedies (see links).

It is essential that you heed the following advice:

6 Tips to help you get a good night's sleep

  1. Deal with any indecision immediately. Don't keep fretting about something - it'll only lead to disturbed sleep.
  2. Buy the best possible mattress you can afford. You spend a large proportion of you life on it! A great deal of healing takes place at night, so you want to be sure that you're not adding any unnecessary strain. In addition, if you and your partner are falling into each other in the middle, it's likely to make the whole situation worse.
  3. Don't be tempted to put a television in your bedroom. Your bed is for sleeping - nothing else. Well... sex is OK of course ;-)
  4. Don't take your laptop to bed for any reason. Your bedroom is for sleeping, not working or keeping up with people. You're much more likely to miss the signs when your body's telling you that enough is enough. Routinely ignoring your body's messages sets you up for trouble.
  5. Be sure to sleep in a pitch-black room to encourage the production of melatonin.
  6. Expose yourself to bright natural daylight. This ensures that your body produces serotonin - a 'happy' hormone and a vital part in regulating your sleep/wake cycle. If you spend lots of time indoors, at work and at home, your body is at risk of 'misinterpreting' light levels.

Now on the one of the best treatments for chronic lack of sleep I have seen...

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia!

The video clip below explains one of the best treatments for insomnia. It involves sleep restriction. It describes a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach for insomnia - all in 7 minutes flat!

The video shows a man - a longtime insomniac - absolutely at his wits' end. Within a month of starting the programme he's cured of his insomnia and treatment didn't include any medication.

Clearly it's going to take some effort on your part. However, I can assure you that your body clock will be reset, and you stand a very good chance of sleeping like a baby in less than a month's time! How good is that?

Insomnia treatments and talking therapy

There is now good evidence that talking therapy is an excellent treatment for insomnia (see links below).

I'd urge you to deal with your insomnia by contacting a therapist, who can help you deal with any emotional problems that keep you awake at night. This is particularly important if you've been suffering from sleeplessness for over a month.

You owe it to yourself, but also to your partner - if indeed you are married or in a relationship. Your restlessness is very likely to have a negative effect on your partner too.

You can also speak with an online specialist immediately - right from my site.

I'd also recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor to rule out any physical problems, and then make a decision about what you're going to do to cure your insomnia.

Related Articles

Natural Sleep Remedies
Recover from Your Depression without Medication

Is Your Insomnia Causing These Physical Problems?
Sleepless Nights due to Arguments with Your Partner?
Are Your Symptoms Due to PTSD?
These Symptoms Mean You May Be Heading For a Breakdown

Other Helpful Links

Natural Sleep Foundation
The American Association for Family Physicians - an overview of insomnia

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Elly Prior

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