Treatments for Insomnia

A short-term bout of insomnia is best handled by doing nothing. It's important not to compensate by staying in bed longer or napping during the day.

Chronic insomnia responds well to behavioral treatments aimed at eliminating anxiety and stopping the behaviors that wind up worsening and perpetuating the condition.

Cognitive behavioral therapy targets the thoughts and actions that disrupt sleep. It may include relaxation training to reduce anxiety. It focuses on establishing a sleep schedule that restricts the time you spend in bed awake.

All effective treatments for insomnia encourage good "sleep hygiene." Good sleep hygiene includes:

• Sleeping and waking at the same time every day (including weekends)
• Learning simple meditation and practicing it before bedtime
• Getting adequate exercise during the day
• Limiting caffeine consumption and restricting it to mornings
• Avoiding alcohol, which is a great sleep disrupter
• Keeping the bedroom dark, especially as people get older
• Keeping the bedroom cool (and sleeping under blankets)

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