Insomnia

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideSleep Better, Conquer Insomnia

Sleep Better, Conquer Insomnia

How can stimulus control help with insomnia?

Stimulus control refers to techniques used to help with initiating sleep. These techniques are used to induce an environment in the bedroom that promotes sleep. Some simple steps include:

  • Use the bed only for having sex and sleeping, not working, reading, watching TV, eating, or other mentally stimulating activities.
  • Go to bed only when you feel ready to sleep.
  • Turn off the lights and all the noise in and around the bedroom.
  • Get up at the same time every morning to avoid over-sleeping.
  • If you do not fall asleep longer than 20 minutes after going to bed, get up and try some relaxation techniques until you are ready to sleep again.

Relaxation techniques, which are also a part of non-medical therapy for insomnia, involve sitting or lying comfortably and relaxing muscles of the body in one area at time. This may be combined with deep, relaxed breathing to promote further body relaxation.

What is sleep restriction?

Sleep restriction refers another non-medical behavioral therapy for insomnia which involves limiting the time spent in bed for sleeping only. Many people with insomnia may stay in bed for a long time after they wake up in the morning. This over-sleeping may disrupt the circadian rhythm and make sleep initiation more difficult the following night.

Sleep logs are used to record the actual time spent sleeping each night, and the time spent in bed is gradually reduced to the exact time spent sleeping by shortening the total time in bed. This method gradually reduces and eliminates over-sleeping over a period of time. It also increases the drive to sleep and makes sleep more efficient, as the time spent in bed approximates the duration of sleep.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2015

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