Nearly everyone has had trouble sleeping. In some cases, however, insomnia can be a long-term problem that won't go away. If insomnia is interfering with your quality of life, you may need the help of a sleep medicine physician.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder with one or a combination of the following nighttime symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking too early in the morning
- Not feeling refreshed upon waking
Those nighttime symptoms are also associated with one or more daytime symptoms, such as:
- Sleepiness, tiredness and/or fatigue
- Difficulties with attention, memory, and/or concentration
- Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety or depression
- Physical symptoms like increased tension, headaches or upset stomach
Insomnia can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Poor sleep practices
- Environmental factors (e.g., noise, light, extreme temperatures and/or pets)
- Sleep-wake schedule problems (e.g., shift-work or jet lag), certain medical conditions or
- A combination of these
When insomnia is severe, a person can develop behaviors and thinking patterns that can keep the insomnia going, even when the other factors have stopped. The key is to unlock the patient from these behaviors and thinking patterns.
Depending on the reason for your insomnia and your personal preference, treatment can include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Sleep medications
- Interventions that address underlying medical or psychological problems
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Non-medicine Approach
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) focuses on modifying the behavior and thinking that contribute to chronic insomnia.
Therapy sessions take place on a regular basis (usually every one to two weeks). We ask patients to complete sleep diaries throughout the course of the therapy.
CBT-I can take up to several months, and the benefits aren’t apparent right away. But many people prefer the therapy because it is a non-medication approach whose benefits continue long after they discontinue therapy.
Sleep medications include any medication your doctor prescribes to improve the nighttime symptoms of insomnia.
Recent studies have shown that certain sleep medications are beneficial when taken nightly for several months and have few side effects.
Sleep medications can be particularly helpful when the insomnia began because of a specific situation, such as illness, travel or a change in your environment.
Sleep medications are also used when insomnia is more chronic, sometimes in combination with CBT-I.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves some medications specifically for treatment of insomnia—such as Ambien, Lunesta and Silenor.
Discuss With Your Doctor
Talk with your doctor about whether a sleep medication is appropriate for your type of insomnia, and ask how long you should take the medication. If you start taking medication, follow up with your doctor to evaluate how well it is working.
Please call 734-936-9068 to schedule a clinic visit.
We will need a referral from your physician before your appointment. We look forward to helping you resolve your sleep issues.