Fight Insomnia Is naturally necessary when there is too much difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping enough hours.
Psychotropic drugs can create dependence and produce other side effects, and have an economic cost. Therefore it is better to look for natural solutions and to avoid the chemical ones.
In addition to performing a treatment aimed at the condition that is causing insomnia if there is, there are certain changes in the lifestyle , Certain therapies and some medications that can help fight The insomnia .
Many times this Sleep disorder Is a symptom caused by other conditions, such as:
- Anxiety or Restless legs syndrome .
- At other times, it may be primary insomnia.
5 Natural Remedies to Fight Insomnia
If you have problems sleep well Without any apparent cause, making some lifestyle changes can be very helpful in improving the quantity and quality of your sleep.
These are the most important:
Try to go to sleep at the same time.
Two hours before going to bed, do not do stressful tasks and avoid being too long in front of the computer screen or TV.
Instead, try reading a book or doing some other gentle work.
Do not consume coffee, tobacco, alcohol or other stimulant drugs, especially at night.
Exercising about 5 to 6 hours before bedtime can make sleep easier.
Some medicines for migraine or Colds Contain caffeine, try to avoid its consumption.
A heavy dinner can also make sleep difficult, so choose light meals for that time of day.
Make sure the atmosphere in your bedroom is conducive to a good rest: no intense lights, no annoying noises, cool ambient temperature.
Get up every day at the same time, if possible, even on weekends.
Try to avoid sudden changes in working hours and night shifts.
Many drink a little alcohol before going to sleep, because this in principle helps to fall asleep. However, when there is alcohol in the blood, sleep tends to be much lighter and less repairing. For this reason, it is not recommended to consume alcohol to counteract in insomnia.
Visit this article to learn more about The consequences of alcoholism .
If anxiety is what does not let you sleep, a good way to get problems from your head before going to bed is this: write everything you care about in a newspaper or a simple paper.
If you are worried about everything you have to do the next day and that prevents you from falling asleep, write it down as well. In this way, these thoughts"go"to the paper and leave your mind more calm and relaxed, facilitating the dream.
However, it should be noted that lifestyle changes aimed at better hygiene sleep are ineffective alone in cases of chronic insomnia and in some cases of acute insomnia. Therefore, the ideal is to combine these measures with other therapies, psychological or pharmacological.
2-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological therapy that focuses on ideas and actions that can disrupt sleep. Try to encourage good habits And uses various methods to Relieve anxiety Which generate insomnia problems.
For example, this type of therapy can be used to learn Relaxation techniques Which decrease anxiety, controlling breathing, heart rate, mood and muscles.
CBT also focuses on replacing anxiety with other more positive ideas, linking again to being in bed with falling asleep. With these techniques you will also know what to do if you go to bed but do not fall asleep in a reasonable time.
If this happened to you, it is best to get up again and perform some quiet and relaxed work, until you feel sleepy again. In the beginning, CBT will limit the time you spend in bed the short time you can stay asleep, to avoid negative association. Over time, this time will increase until you can sleep through the night.
CBT is conducted in individual sessions with a therapist or in a group. In this way, you can analyze your ideas and feelings about the dream and correct the thoughts that need to be changed. This type of therapy is usually done in weekly sessions, for two or three months and very good results are obtained in 70% or 80% of patients.
There are those who believe that CBT can be as effective as drugs in cases of chronic insomnia. It may even be the best long-term solution.
In people who have insomnia because of major depression, cognitive behavioral therapy combined with Antidepressant medications Have shown very good effectiveness for both conditions.
There are many medications that your doctor can prescribe to combat insomnia. Some should be used in short installments, while others may be used for a longer time.
Some of these medications can have side effects or cause dependence. You should always consult your doctor about these aspects before requesting or beginning to take this type of medication.
Medications for insomnia can be basically divided into benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines and Neuroleptics With sedative effect.
The Benzodiazepines Act as depressors of the nervous system and facilitate physical and mental relaxation, reducing activity in the brain.
There is a wide variety of benzodiazepines (alprazolam, lorazepam, diazepam, flurazepam, among others) and is usually prescribed one depending on the type of insomnia and the half-life of the drug. For example, rapid elimination benzodiazepines are used for transient insomnia and short-acting insomnia for short duration.
In cases of long-term chronic insomnia, benzodiazepine is usually used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy, often in combination with a sedative-effect antidepressant (amitriptyline, trazodone, mianserin, maprotiline, etc.), although some Experts recommend using benzodiazepines only for occasional or short-term insomnia.
It should also be taken into account that benzodiazepines may have negative side effects, such as daytime drowsiness, headache , Nausea and fatigue. After two weeks of treatment, there may also be tolerance, dependence and abstinence syndrome If the treatment is abruptly abandoned.
Therefore, in general, experts recommend using benzodiazepines alone for the treatment of acute insomnia, using the drugs of elimination faster in the lowest possible doses, extending the treatment not more than 2 or 4 weeks.
In recent years new drugs of various chemical groups have been developed to replace benzodiazepines in the treatment of insomnia, trying to avoid their side effects (daytime sleepiness, dependence, etc.).
Although insomnia is often a chronic condition, the only drug that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of insomnia, with no time limit, is eszopiclone, a drug that Until recently it had not yet been approved in Spain.
Other drugs included in the group of non-benzodiazepines for the treatment of insomnia are zolpidem, zopiclone and zaleplon, among others. These medications have shown a significant improvement in adult patients with chronic insomnia, although there may also be some adverse effects, such as daytime sleepiness, confusion, headaches, tremors, tachycardia, anxiety or crisis of panic .
He Zaleplon Is a drug that is absorbed and eliminated quickly, so it helps the balance of sleep but does not usually increase the amount of hours you spend sleeping. It may be a good choice for people who have trouble falling asleep.
On the other hand, if the goal is to increase the number of hours and the quality of sleep, better results with zolpidem may be achieved.
Some of the more recent studies on the use of this type of medication for the treatment of insomnia have evaluated the results of an intermittent treatment, according to the need of the patient, instead of a daily and continuous treatment.
In this way it is tried that the patients consider that they have control over the drug and not the other way around, reducing the possibility of drug dependence.
Although good results were obtained compared to the placebo group, intermittent treatment was not as effective as the daily.
Neuroleptics with sedative effect
As mentioned above, benzodiazepines and Hypnotic Non-benzodiazepines are the most commonly used medications for the treatment of insomnia. However, the risk of dependence on long-term treatments often forces other therapeutic alternatives, such as the use of antidepressants or neuroleptics with a sedative effect.
The Antipsychotics Typical, such as haloperidol, often cause certain adverse effects and pharmacological interactions. However, new antipsychotics, such as quetiapine for example, may play an important role in the treatment of chronic insomnia, although its use for this purpose has not yet been approved.
However, and despite all, new antipsychotics may be an option to consider in cases of insomnia resistant to other treatments.
In addition to those already mentioned, there are other drugs capable of helping to combat insomnia.
A good example of this is the Ramelteón , A melatonin receptor agonist substance, unique in its category. By joining with the melatonin receptors in the brain, it stimulates the reconciliation of sleep. It has no effects Anxiolytics Or muscle relaxants. While this drug does not help those who have difficulty staying asleep, it poses a lower risk of dependence and cognitive deficits, compared to benzodiazepines for example.
Certain antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, often cause drowsiness, although they are not shown to be fully effective in people suffering from insomnia.
As already mentioned above, the Antidepressant medications With sedative effects are the treatment of choice for patients who suffer from insomnia because of a state of depression or anxiety. Sedan effects occur due to blocking of histamine, 5 HT 2 and noradrenaline receptors.
5-Supplements and medicines of free sale
There are also many nutritional supplements based on natural products and over-the-counter medications that can help fight insomnia problems. Some of the available options are:
The Melatonin Is a natural hormone produced by the Pineal gland , And is in charge of regulating the cycles of wakefulness and sleep. It is secreted only at night, being inhibited during the day by the effect of sunlight.
Some studies suggest that the contribution of exogenous melatonin may be useful for the treatment of insomnia, although in fact its effectiveness has not yet been proven reliably in young and healthy adults with sleep problems.
Anyway, nothing is lost with trying. If you have insomnia problems, go to the pharmacy and order melatonin. They say it works best for people over 55 years of age.
The valerian Is one of the herbal medicines most used by people with sleeping problems. It can be used in the form of dried grass, extract or tincture.
Some studies have shown a certain degree of effectiveness of valerian treatments in people with insomnia. In addition, it is an herb that can be used safely, as it has practically no side effects.
A treatment of two valerian pills combined with hops, showed good results compared to placebo, in terms of improvement in sleep quality.
Extracts of lavender, linden, poppy or passionflower are also often used in combination with other herbs for the treatment of insomnia, although their effectiveness has also not been proven in scientific studies.
In short, if you have insomnia problems, first try to take action regarding your lifestyle: lying down at the same time always, avoiding coffee or other stimulant drinks, etc.
In case you still have problems sleeping, there is no doubt that it is best to consult the doctor, who will evaluate your particular case to indicate the treatment that best fits your situation.
And what do you do to fight insomnia?