Having sleepless nights can almost be considered part of the human condition. Whether you are working hard to complete a deadline, indulge in too much caffeine or tend to let your mind wander in the middle of the night, chances are, you have spent the waning hours of twilight awake. If you have found it hard to fall asleep for several nights in a row, it is unlikely you have anything to be concerned about. Yet, medical experts are suggesting, even if you are a victim of Insomnia, your first line of defense, should not be to start popping sleeping pills, but instead, turn to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
But first, what is Insomnia? Acute, or short term Insomnia, is a common symptom of stress, sickness or even jet lag and even napping for too long and can often be rectified by eliminating stress or having a glass of warm milk before bed. Short term Insomnia rarely lasts for longer than a few days within a week.
Yet Chronic, or long term Insomnia, is diagnosed as having at least three sleepless nights a week for over a month. In such cases, depression, anxiety and major sources of stress can be common culprits. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, Medical experts are suggesting that individuals try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
This form of therapy involves consulting with a medical professional, identifying patterns in your sleep routine, as well as lifestyle and essentially endeavoring to recondition your brain to accept sleep more easily. There are many steps to the CBT process, all of which, your doctor or therapist, will base off of your needs and lifestyle trends. It can involve readjusting your sleeping schedules, altering behaviors that prevent sleep as well as improve the relationship you have with your own bed. As with most forms of therapy, there is no “magical cure” and results may take several weeks of behavioral adjustment before a normal sleeping pattern can be re-established. Countered against this, the immediate effect of sleeping pills, can be understandably alluring.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, have estimated that around 4% of American adults in 2013, used sleeping pills to assist in their nightly sleep regiment. These sleeping pills, while a potential miracle to the sleepless, can commonly have a range of annoying side effects including headaches, forgetfulness, drowsiness and many more. How these pills work, is commonly misunderstood. These drugs don’t simply flip on the sleep switch, but instead influence your whole body as well as your brain, leading to these many side effects.
Compound this with the fact that sleeping pills can be extremely addictive, and can in the end, make you dependent on them for a decent night sleep. This essentially worsens your ability to sleep unassisted. Plainly speaking, if you do not have a medical condition, and have not been prescribed pills by a doctor, you should resist the urge for sleeping pills. They seldom solve the root of your sleeping problem and can possibly make it worse in the long run.
Insomnia is never permanent, even if it may feel as such at the time, as it is more often than not, caused by an underlying factor. By identifying, solving or eliminating this factor from your life, it is possible to return to a well-deserved night’s rest, without any form of sleeping aids. However, if you are one of the very few people who are plagued by chronic insomnia, and all your personal trials to get back to bed have failed, see a doctor before you see your pharmacist. And don’t worry, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and similar sleeping therapies are commonly covered by most insurance plans in North America. The last thing you want to do, is to worry about financing your sleep therapy in the middle of the night.