Sleep (cont.)

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How are sleep problems treated?

The treatment of sleep disorders depends upon the exact disorder and the degree of severity of the symptoms. Both medical and non-medical approaches are generally used in the treatment of sleep disorders. In some cases, such as sleep apnea, surgical treatments may be considered. In some patients, more than one type of sleep disorder may be present, requiring a combination of treatment considerations.

Sleep hygiene

Non-medical treatment options are often referred to as sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the practice of behavioral habits that offer the maximum potential for restorative and sound sleep. Good sleep hygiene practices include:

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol use before bedtime. Some studies have shown that caffeine consumed early in the day can have an effect on the ability to fall asleep at night.
  • Have and adhere to a regular bedtime and waking schedule.
  • Maintain a comfortable sleep environment, including a comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid watching television in bed and falling asleep with the TV on in the room.
  • Do not lie in bed awake, worrying about not sleeping (or anything else negative). This produces anxiety that can actually make the problem worse.
  • Get regular daily exercise (it is recommended that individuals avoid exercise two hours prior to bedtime).

Other therapies

Of course, many people with sleep disorders will require treatment beyond sleep hygiene measures. Behavioral therapies are successful for many people who suffer from insomnia. These therapies may consist of stimulus control measures, such as using the bed for sleeping and sex only and not for other activities such as reading or TV watching. Sleep restriction therapies are often used to help individuals avoid staying in bed too long and actually over-sleeping after a night of insomnia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2014

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Sleep - Problems Experienced Question: What sleep problems have you experienced?
Sleep - Treatment Question: Please discuss any treatments you have tried for your sleep problems.
Sleep - Deprivation Symptoms Question: Besides lack of sleep, what other symptoms have you experienced with sleep deprivation?