Battling insomnia without drugs

Q:  I have been experiencing excessive anxiety for about 2 months now, and it’s affecting my sleep.   My anxiety happens mostly at night when I know I have to sleep.  It’s gotten so bad that I now dread when darkness comes because I know I’ll soon have to go to bed again.  My doctor has prescribed an anti-anxiety drug, but I am scared to take it.  Are there any other alternatives besides drugs I can try?

A:  Rest assured there are effective ways to help yourself sleep better that are completely natural and do not involve drugs.   If it’s any consolation, many insomniacs experience the kind of frustration you are going through, and often because of anxiety.  But it can be better, and there’s a reasonable chance you can do it without drugs.

Presuming your doctor has identified no other medical problem underlying your insomnia, it’s important to understand specifically what issue the medication you have been prescribed is treating.  If the issue is only sleep that could be a problem.  Here’s why.

Insomnia is not a disease, but invariably only a symptom.  With insomnia, there is something else going on deeper causing the sleep problems.  That is what you need to identify and treat.  By doing so, you get to the true root of the problem.

Everyone has some anxiety, that’s normal.  If what you are experiencing is excessive beyond normal, then you may have a legitimate reason to take an anti-anxiety medication.  However, it’s also very important to have some way of permanently addressing the underlying negative thought patterns that are causing the anxiety to begin with.  That way you are not creating a lifelong dependency on an anti-anxiety drug.

There are many ways to manage anxiety that do not involve drugs.  Some of the best are contained in CBT — cognitive behavioral therapy.  With CBT, you learn to recognize these recurring negative thought patterns that are very likely distorted and overly pessimistic.  You learn to safely disregard them.  As you replace them with something better, more positive, and more realistic, the anxiety level begins to come down.

For many of us, reduced anxiety helps re-enable sleep. Natural sleep, not drug-induced sleep.

CBT is often prescribed before drug therapy because it is more conservative, and has no side effects.  You might ask your doctor about this.

There are CBT programs designed specifically for insomnia.  They are very effective, and help most people who try them.  These programs normally include an anxiety management component, as well as a stress management component.

Both chronic stress and excessive anxiety are two major culprits of insomnia, along with bad sleep habits.  CBT for sleep will help you address all of these issues at the same time.

So yes, there are good effective alternatives to drugs.  Be confident you can address this and start sleeping better naturally.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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2 Comments on “Battling insomnia without drugs”

  1. Julia Says:

    I suffer of insomnia since I’m 4 years old (I’m 25) and its difficult but when I can sleep I over sleep. My internal clock is busted and no matter what I do it always gets mess up. Is a downer but I hope one day I stay in control. Blessings ^_^

  2. […] ways.  One of the very best ways to get at the true roots of primary insomnia is contained in cognitive behavioral therapy specifically designed for sleep.  A good CBT-based sleep training program contains methods that help most people.  Many who try […]

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