Approaches to Treating Sleep Issues

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Struggling with sleepless nights? Seeking help from a counsellor or therapist can be the first step towards cultivating better sleep habits and addressing the root causes of insomnia. This article explores these three key approaches—therapy, medication, and sleep devices—to empower you with the knowledge needed to find a solution that suits your unique sleep challenges.

1. Therapy

Speaking to a counsellor or therapist is one of the best ways to develop better sleep habits and address any underlying issues contributing to your insomnia. Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, helps change negative thoughts and behaviours related to sleep. A therapist can help you develop relaxation techniques, establish a calming bedtime routine, and avoid screens or stressful activities before bed. CBT is often very effective for chronic insomnia and usually only requires a few sessions to help establish a good sleep-wake cycle.

2. Medication

If therapy alone isn’t helping, your doctor may prescribe medication as a temporary measure to help you sleep. The most common types are antihistamines, like diphenhydramine; benzodiazepines, such as temazepam; or non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics, such as zolpidem. These medications can be useful for short-term relief from insomnia but may cause dependence or side effects if used long term. Use medication only under the guidance of a medical doctor.

3. Sleep Devices

Various devices, like sound conditioners, weighted blankets, and aromatherapy diffusers can create an ideal sleep environment. A sound conditioner produces ambient noise to mask outside sounds, while a weighted blanket provides gentle pressure and warmth. Essential oil diffusers release calming scents like lavender to help you relax. These devices are relatively inexpensive and can enhance the effects of therapy or medication. However, there is little evidence they are effective treatments on their own for chronic insomnia.

 

The approach that works best for you depends on the severity and causes of your sleep issues. Don’t hesitate to try different options or combine them for the most effective treatment. With time and consistency, you can overcome your insomnia by developing habits and an environment that promotes restorative sleep. 

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