According to the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, most people have insomnia at some point in their lives and it usually happens during times of stress and goes away in a few days or weeks without treatment. Professional help is needed when insomnia lasts for months or even years. Untreated insomnia causes daytime functioning problems such as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty with concentration and memory. Long-term, chronic insomnia may also be associated with depression, drug and alcohol use, heart disease and more recently decreased pain tolerance.
How to Get a Good Night's Rest
Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) is a growing area of the sleep field that focuses on the evaluation and treatment of sleep disorders by addressing behavioral, psychological, and physiological factors that prevent people from getting a restful sleep. Some forms of BSM include treatments with devices like bright light boxes. Bright light boxes still need further study on their effectiveness but have been shown to decrease depression and fatigue in seasonal effective disorder. Usually BSM treatments do not include medications but occasionally some interventions may be used together with certain prescription and non prescription medications to help patients tolerate medical therapy such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for sleep apnea.
BSM focus is on introducing behavioral changes that have been proven to improve sleep. This cognitive approach focuses on looking internally to examine, manage, or modify sleep interfering thoughts and beliefs that can interfere with sleep. This approach also helps finds the triggers that help promote or inihibt sleep.
Some at home tips on getting a better night's rest include; turning off TVs, computers, cell phones and other blue light souces atleast an hour before you go to bed. If you can not turn off all devices and a light is still showing you can cover up the light. A tip that I personally have started using since I have neck and TMD joint pain is; ensuring that my head and neck are in a neutral alignment while sleeping. Make sure that you have a pillow that helps with this in order to prevent headache and neck pain or stiffness. Try not to sleep on your stomach since this can twist your neck.
Cheers to Your Health!
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