Sleeping pills can be more effective than therapy when treating sleep disorders such as insomnia. But, they have unpleasant long-term side effects.
What is the difference between therapy and medication for sleep disorders?
When you’re exhausted, there’s nothing wrong with reaching for a sleeping pill or an OTC sleep aid. Sleep medications often make sleep problems worse rather than addressing the underlying cause. This is not to say that sleep medication is never appropriate. It is best to use sleeping pills sparingly for short-term situations. Such as traveling across time zones or healing from medical procedures to prevent dependence and tolerance.
Experts recommend taking prescription medication for sleep disorders. They also recommend therapy and healthy lifestyle changes.
When you change your behavior and how you think before bed, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help. You will also learn how to improve your relaxation skills and change your lifestyle habits to improve sleep. Rather than just treating the symptoms of sleeping disorders, therapy treats the underlying problem. It can correct anxiety, stress, and depression, enabling you to develop healthy sleeping patterns throughout your life.
A study at Harvard Medical School, showed CBT to be more effective than prescription sleep medications. Sleeping improvement was greatest with CBT, and the benefits lasted a year after treatment. Having therapy may help you recover from sleep disorders, change your outlook, and improve your daytime habits.
Insomnia and other sleep disorders can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Sleep disorders are most commonly treated through cognitive behavioral therapy. An individual study, a group study, or even an online study may be conducted. CBT should always be based on specific problems, as sleep disorders can have many causes and symptoms. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) addresses people who lack sleep.
Your sleep disorder type and severity will also influence how long your therapy will last. In contrast to immediate cures, CBT tends to be relatively short-term. Patients report significant improvements in their sleep patterns after a 5 to 8-week program.
What are the benefits of CBT for sleep disorders?
Those with insomnia and other sleep disorders may benefit from CBT for negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT consists of two main elements, as its name suggests:
A cognitive therapy program can help resolve sleep problems. This helps individuals identify and change their negative beliefs and thoughts (cognition).
A behavioral therapy program can help you change sleep-depriving behaviors with new sleep habits.
Getting the most out of therapy
It can take time and commitment to improving your sleep. To recover, you must find a therapist who you can trust and who you will feel comfortable speaking with.
The key to sticking with treatment is to follow your therapist’s advice once you’ve chosen the right therapist. Despite the slow progress, long-term treatment for sleep disorders is very effective. If you follow through, you’ll reap the benefits.
As part of your therapy, you can also make positive lifestyle choices to help you sleep better.
Make physical activity a part of your daily routine.
Making time to exercise regularly relieves stress and anxiety and improves sleep. On most days, aim for 30 minutes or more but not right before bedtime.
Make intelligent choices about what you eat and drink.
Avoid late meals within two hours of bedtime. Before going to bed, stop drinking caffeine-containing beverages. Nicotine, sugary food, and nicotine are stimulants. Alcohol can impair your sleep quality and worsen your sleep disorder symptoms.
Your life can be more stress-free by reducing anxiety. The stress you experience at work, with your family, or at school may lead to insomnia. You’ll be able to sleep better at night if you handle stress productively and keep a positive attitude.