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Understanding How to Cure Insomnia and Get That Much-Needed Sleep

Medical experts estimate that up to half of all people suffer from insomnia in any given year. Historically, there have been many theories used to explain why insomnia occurs and how to cure insomnia. Many of those theories have been debunked, and newer research has helped sufferers understand sleeplessness and how to get rid of insomnia without using prescription drugs.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia, or sleeplessness, isn’t actually a single disorder. Rather, it can be caused, or exacerbated by, several factors. When asking can insomnia be cured, the answer can be complicated even when all the potential causes are explored.

Medical experts studying insomnia routinely suggest there are three primary types of insomnia an individual can be dealing with. They are:

• Transient insomnia, which is generally short-term in nature and disappears within a few days.

• Acute insomnia, which makes it virtually impossible to sleep properly and normally lasts for a few weeks.

• Chronic insomnia. This is the type of insomnia that is most bothersome, as it tends to last for long periods of time—often for years.

Chronic insomnia is, as a rule, a side effect of another issue. However, it’s important to understand the causes of all three levels when a sufferer is looking for ways to get rid of insomnia.

What Causes Insomnia?

There has been a great deal of research studying insomnia to better grasp the causes, as it’s difficult to understand how to cure insomnia without fully understanding its origins. That research discovered there are multiple factors contributing to insomnia. The causes are broken down into specific categories sufferers need to explore when wondering how to sleep better.

• Medical conditions. There are quite a few medical conditions that can cause, or contribute to, insomnia. Chronic pain, sleep apnea, arthritis, angina, and a host of other conditions have been linked to insomnia.

• Psychological problems. Depression is a well-known contributor to insomnia, but it certainly isn’t the only psychological issue that’s been found to cause insomnia. Anxiety disorders and issues like bipolar disorder are routinely linked to insomnia.

• TVs, computers, and cell phones. Electronic devices are commonly found in bedrooms, but sleep experts strongly suggest the majority of devices should be exiled from bedrooms anytime an individual is looking for ways to get rid of insomnia.

• Medications. While insomnia doesn’t strike everyone taking specific medications, the likelihood of experiencing sleeplessness increases when a number of medications are used. In fact, commonly used medications like statins, corticosteroids, alpha blockers, and even seemingly innocuous supplements like glucosamine have all been linked to insomnia.

There are other factors to consider as well when trying to identify the root cause of a specific person’s sleeplessness and looking for ways to get rid of insomnia. However, an individual’s lifestyle can, and often does, impact their ability to sleep well.

Lifestyle Causes of Insomnia?

Every person’s body is regulated by circadian rhythms. Disrupting those rhythms in any way can trigger insomnia. The habits people develop will impact their ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re affected by any of the items here, those habits may well cause insomnia.

• Afternoon naps make it virtually impossible for some people to fall asleep again later in the evening. When you’re wondering how to cure insomnia, the answer for some people may be as simple as eliminating those afternoon naps.

• Rotating shifts disrupt circadian rhythms dramatically. Many people working irregular shifts find it extremely difficult to get the sleep they need.

• Recreational drug use is another commonly seen cause of insomnia and can cause users to stay awake for long periods. Once exhaustion hits, they may still be unable to sleep well.

• Working at home before going to bed can also cause problems. It takes time for a person’s mind to slow down, and the use of computer monitors is also believed to impact an individual’s ability to relax and get to sleep.

Positive lifestyle changes can make it easier for some people to sleep better but, in some cases, poor lifestyle choices lead to chronic insomnia. So, how do you cure insomnia? One way may be to consider lifestyle options that allow the body to get needed sleep.

Insomnia Treatment Options

There are currently a variety of treatment options for insomnia, with some enjoying more success than others. It’s important to understand that, since the causes of insomnia can be complex, not every treatment option is likely to be successful across the board. However, it still pays to understand today’s top treatment options.

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This approach focuses on the patient’s attitude and actions that keep them awake. Treatments can include relaxation techniques, light therapy, and sleep restriction, and other strategies. The therapist will determine which techniques to use and may suggest other treatment protocols to consider as well.

• Prescription Medications. Although some prescription sleeping pills are approved for long-term use, few doctors recommend doing so because of potential side effects. However, prescription medications may be useful for a limited number of patients needing a way to establish regular sleep patterns. In most cases, prescription drugs should be avoided as their risks generally outweigh their benefits.

• Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids. There are no over-the-counter sleep aids medical professionals routinely recommend for long-term use. Virtually all over-the-counter products contain antihistamines, which can cause significant side effects. If you’re considering any of the common over-the-counter remedies, discuss them with your doctor first to minimize the chances of other issues developing.

• Supplements and Other Alternative Medicines. It’s common for people wondering how to cure insomnia to explore alternative options without ever consulting a medical professional. If you’re wondering how to sleep better, however, there are alternatives worth considering. Many supplements are showing promise, but users should make sure they understand how and when to use alternative medicines.

Today, in addition to supplements and medications, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, and meditation are all potential options for sufferers looking for ways to battle insomnia.

Can insomnia be cured? The answer is quite complex, since no two individuals are alike. However, with the right combination of strategies, it’s likely most suffers can find ways to effectively reduce the seriousness of their insomnia or eliminate it completely. If you’re suffering from sleeplessness, the important thing is to take action now rather than letting things get worse.

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