Insomnia Therapy

Would you prefer to explore more natural treatments for insomnia? Insomnia Therapy (behavioral and relaxtions approaches) may be your answer! There are several different types of therapy for insomnia, such as:

Relaxation Therapy as a Natural Cure for Insomnia

There are specific and effective insomnia therapy techniques that can reduce or eliminate anxiety and body tension. As a result, the person's mind is able to stop "racing," the muscles can relax, and restful sleep can occur. It usually takes much practice to learn these techniques and to achieve effective relaxation.

Deep Methods Include:

  • Autogenic Training (imagining a peaceful environment and comforting bodily sensations)
  • Meditation (Development of nonjudgmental awareness of bodily sensations and mental activities during the present moment).
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (focuses on reducing muscle tone in major muscle groups).

Brief Methods Include:

  • Self-control relaxation
  • Paced Respiration
  • Deep Breathing

Hypnotic Techniques as Natural Cures for Insomnia

Hypnotic techniques have pre- and postsuggestion components.

The presuggestion component involves attentional focusing through the use of imagery, distraction, or relaxation, and has features that are similar to other relaxation techniques. Subjects focus on relaxation and passively disregard intrusive thoughts.

The suggestion phase is characterized by introduction of specific goals; for exmaple, analgesia may be specifically suggested. The postsuggestion component involves continued use of the new behavior following termination of hypnosis.

Individuals vary widely in their hypnotic susceptibility and suggestibility, although the reasons for these differences are incompletely understood.

Biofeedback Techniques as Natural Remedies for Insomnia

BF techniques are insomnia treatment methods that use monitoring instruments of various degrees of sophistication. BF techniques provide patients with physiologic information that allows them to reliably influence psychophysiological responses of two kinds:

  • responses not ordinarily under voluntary control, and;
  • responses that ordinarily are easily regulated, but for which regulation has broken down.
Technologies that are commonly used include electromyography (EMG BF), electroencephalography, thermometers (thermal BF), and galvanometry (electrodermal-BF). BF techniques often induce physiological responses similar to those of other relaxation techniques.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as a Natural Insomnia Treatment

CBT attempts to alter patterns of negative thoughts and dysfunctional attitudes in order to foster more healthy and adaptive thoughts, emotions, and actions.

These interventions share four basic components: education, skills acquisition, cognitive and behavioral rehearsal, and generalization and maintenance. Relaxation techniques are frequently included as a behavioral component of CBT programs. The specific programs used to implement the four components can vary considerably. Each of these therapeutic modalities may be practiced individually, or they may be combined as part of multimodal approaches to manage chronic pain or insomnia.

Sleep Restriction as an Insomnia Therapy

Some people suffering from insomnia spend too much time in bed unsuccessfully trying to sleep. They may benefit from a sleep restriction program that at first allows only a few hours of sleep during the night. Gradually the time is increased until a more normal night's sleep is achieved.

Reconditioning Insomnia Therapy

Another insomnia treatment that may help some people with insomnia is to recondition them to associate the bed and bedtime with sleep. For most people, this means not using their bed for other activities other than sleep and or sex.

As part of the reconditioning process, the person is usually advised to go to bed only when sleepy. If unable to fall asleep, the person is told to get up, stay up until sleepy, and then return to bed. Throughout this process, the person should avoid naps and wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. Eventually the person's body will be conditioned to associate the bed and bedtime with sleep.

There are many more types of insominia therapy and combinations of these techniques that may work for you. Consult your physician for specific guidance if you are interested in exploring therapy options to control your insomnia.

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Swanson, Jennifer. Sleep Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1999.