Troubled Sleeping: The Battle of Insomnia

Another late evening leaves you feeling tired as you are struggling to sleep.  It sounds exactly like the lyrics from Corinne Bailey Ray’s song “Trouble Sleeping”.  Night after night, you fluff up your pillow.  You turn down the thermostat and infuse your bedroom with the scent of lavender in efforts to slip into a restful nights sleep.  Unfortunately for approximately 64 million Americans, this will not be enough to overcome the trouble of insomnia. 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder which causes persistent difficulty in either falling asleep or staying asleep.  There are several types of insomnia including transient insomnia in which the sufferer experience bouts of insomnia for days to weeks.  As for those who suffer from chronic insomnia, bouts of sleepless nights can last for years.

Most people who suffer from insomnia will first try an over-the-counter sleep aid or OTC sleep medication.  These forms of medication contain antihistamines, such as benadryl or Diphenhydramine, which aid the user in falling asleep.  If these medications fail, the assistance of a professional can help diagnose and treat insomnia through prescription medication.  However, many people quickly realize prescription medication for insomnia is not the answer.

There are two main forms of prescription medications for insomnia: benzodiazepines (hypnotics) and non-benzodiazepine drugs (sedative-hypnotics).  Benzodiazepines are sleeping tablets or sedatives which do allow for most people to fall asleep but not always remain asleep.  They also carry a high risk of dependency as the body easily becomes tolerant to these medications.  Some examples of benzodiazepines include: temazepam, triazolam, mitrazepam and flurazepam.  Non-benzodiazepines are the new sleep medications such as Ambien (zolpidem), Sonata (zaleplon) and Lunesta (eszopiclone).  These medications are said to have cleaner side effects causing less of a dependency as compared to the traditional benzodiazepines, although more studies are showing they could be just as capable of producing dependency.

There are other options for insomnia relief for those who prefer not to take prescription or OTC medications.  Melatonin is said to assist in regulating the sleep/awake cycle.  There are also alternative medicines which have shown to be useful in aiding insomniacs in gaining better nights sleep.  Aromatherapy, meditation, acupuncture and hypnotherapy are often used to find insomnia relief.  Also, the practice of herbology has shown how natural products have been successful in relieving insomnia through the use of herbs.  Some examples of herbs used in relieving insomnia are valerian, chamomile, lavender, hops, passionflower and cannabis.

No matter what route you choose to banish your sleep troubles, you have to do something about it because you don’t ever have to suffer a sleepless night.  Instead, you can ease the tension of an emotionally tiring day and get a restful night using safe and reliable options such as natural sleep aids.