Insomnia Treatment in Phoenix
Insomnia is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms experienced by adults. Struggling to fall asleep and/or stay asleep can lead to significant physical and psychological consequences including fatigue, changes in mood, difficulty focusing resulting in problems and school or work and personal relationships. Furthermore, lack of sleep has the potential to worsen underlying anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD as well as medical conditions such as hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders and hormonal disorders. Insomnia can affect how we are able to cope with stress and can lead to substance use issues.
Everyone experiencing insomnia will report the same struggle, “I can’t sleep!” However, the cause of sleep disturbances can vary widely. Insomnia is caused by poor “sleep hygiene”, stress, underlying medical conditions, medication side effects, drug or alcohol use or an underlying psychological condition just to name a few. Insomnia can be short term (lasting less than a month) or chronic. Occasionally insomnia can be “primary,” meaning that the symptoms have been lifelong without an identifiable trigger.
It is important to approach insomnia by beginning with a comprehensive assessment to screen for possible causes. After identifying and stabilizing any contributing factors, the next step to evaluate “sleep hygiene.”
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe habits and attitudes that nourish healthy sleep. Here are the basic principles:
- Sleep as long as necessary to feel rested (usually seven to eight hours for adults) and then get out of bed.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule, particularly a regular wake-up time in the morning.
- Try not to force sleep.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
- Avoid alcohol near bedtime (eg, late afternoon and evening).
- Avoid smoking or other nicotine intake, particularly during the evening.
- Adjust the bedroom environment as needed to decrease stimuli (eg, reduce ambient light, turn off the television or radio).
- Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens (laptops, tablets, smartphones, ebooks) before bedtime.
- Resolve concerns or worries before bedtime
- Exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes, preferably more than four to five hours prior to bedtime.
- Avoid daytime naps, especially if they are longer than 20 to 30 minutes or occur late in the day.
Usually by the time someone is seeking specialty care for their struggle with insomnia, the condition is already causing a significant level of distress and dysfunction. Often medications are necessary to provide at least short term relief while sleep habits and contributing conditions are sorted out.