Sleep Disorder Treatments

Since the causes of sleep disorders are so varied, it’s often difficult to find a reliable treatment. Certain medications such as anti-depressants, some degenerative diseases, lack of exercise, inability to relax, sleeping out of sync with the body’s natural rhythms, or excessive caffeine consumption can often be the culprit which affects your sleep. The most important aspect, of course, is to find the actual cause. While you and your doctor are in active search of the reason for your sleeping problems, there are some things you may want to try to do for yourself. Some self-help treatments include eliminating caffeine from the diet, taking a daily walk (which may cause symptoms to be worse for the first week or two, but will help if you stick with it), massages and warm baths before going to bed, and sticking to a set routine of sleep times which coincide with the natural rhythm of the body. Most people with RLS and PLM are advised to take a good vitamin-mineral supplement.

Doctors will sometimes prescribe sedatives or hypnotic drugs before they can actually find the root cause. There are five main drugs which increase the onset of sleep, decrease times of wakefulness and increase sleep efficiency with varying degrees of effects.

Restoril (Temazepam): Used quite often, this one is better for helping you to stay asleep than to help you get to sleep. It often produces less residual impairment, and minimal tolerance has been reported for up to 3 months of use. Because of this, it is probably the best hypnotic for late-life insomnia.

Dalmane (Flurazepam): This one takes some time to begin to be effective and works to induce and maintain sleep for up to 1 month of nightly use.

Doral (Quazepam): This is similar to flurazepam and produces less impairment of daytime functioning and minimizes rebound insomnia.

ProSom (Estazolam): This is one of the newer drugs. It increases the onset of sleep and can remain effective for up to 6 weeks of nightly use.

Halcion (Triazolam): Increases the onset of sleep and total sleep time, and results in less daytime sleepiness. However, early-morning awakening and daytime anxiety have been associated with it. It has been withdrawn from the market in several European countries.

Drugs which are longer acting seem to produce more daytime sleepiness and more impairment of performance than short-acting ones. Because of the rebound from use of these drugs, they tend to add to the anxiety and can cause a person to believe they can’t sleep without medication. Because of this, drug therapy alone is usually not successful in treating chronic insomnia.

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