Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects up to 50% of the general population at some point in their lifetimes. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, they may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep, which can affect their overall health and quality of life.
Insomnia can be short-term (acute) or ongoing (chronic). Acute insomnia is common and is often brought on by situations such as stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. Acute insomnia can last for just a few days, or several weeks.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer, and is classified by either primary or secondary. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem. Certain medical conditions sleep disorders, medicines, and substances can cause secondary insomnia. In contrast, primary insomnia isn’t due to medical problems, medicines, or other substances. It is its own distinct disorder, not a symptom. Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset.
Over-the-counter sleep medicines like Benadryl and other drugs with antihistamines don’t solve the underlying problem. While antihistamines may help you to fall asleep, overall sleep quality is usually not very good. Sometimes, they even have the opposite effect and cause hyperactivity. However, there are many natural insomnia treatments that can help you overcome acute insomnia.
Natural Insomnia Treatments
Acute insomnia can often be treated without over-the-counter medicines. Practicing proper sleep hygiene should be the first step in any natural insomnia treatment plan. First, schedule your sleep and plan to go to bed at the same time each night. Your body will start to organically wind down at that consecutive time, allowing you to easily fall asleep. Ensure your bedroom is comfortable, dark and free of gadgets like cellphones and TVs that can keep you awake. Also, try exercising regularly during the day and decreasing caffeine intake. Write down your worries and keep a sleep diary to keep track of your sleep. Natural melatonin can also be a short-term solution with a 2mg dose each night.
In addition to sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another natural insomnia treatment. CBT trains people to use techniques that address the mental factors associated with insomnia, such as the ‘racing mind’, and to overcome the worry and other negative emotions that accompany the experience of being unable to sleep. Online resources like SHUTi.me and sleepio.com offer customized CBT coaching.
Primary insomnia requires medical supervision with a sleep medicine physician.
For some people, do-it-yourself and online therapy may not be sufficient. At Somnas, we’re here to help you sleep well and live well. We recommend that if you suffer from insomnia and natural insomnia treatments don’t help, consult with a sleep specialist who can guide you before, during and after treatment.
Contact Somnas today to learn more about how a customized sleep plan, including natural insomnia treatments, can help you sleep better.