How to Cure Insomnia (Without Medication)
Sleep better tonight with these expert tips.
While everyone experiences the occasional night of tossing and turning, approximately 6 to 10 percent of adults struggle with full-blown insomnia, which is associated with difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early, according to the American College of Physicians. Earlier this week, the organization published a new set of recommendations focused on the best way to treat chronic insomnia disorder, which is classified as experiencing insomnia symptoms at least three nights per week for at least three months and being distressed in some way because of it (such as having difficulty concentrating during the day).
The guidelines, which are published in Annals of Internal Medicine, advise all adults who are struggling with insomnia to receive cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, as their initial treatment, instead of turning to pharmacologic therapy, or drugs.
CBT is a form of behavioral sleep medicine, and it works to improve the thoughts and actions associated with sleep, says Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor at Northwestern University, whose research focuses on sleep and circadian rhythms. Baron, who says she wholeheartedly believes in the new recommendations (but wasn't involved in creating them), finds that patients who have an expert coaching them through these new behaviors are often more successful in establishing a healthy sleep routine.
If you’d rather begin practicing better sleep habits on your own, Baron suggests turning to online treatments or self-help books, as well as heeding the following advice: