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Insomnia treatment WITHOUT medications

Written By M. Ryan Odom, MD

Insomnia treatment WITHOUT medications

May 2, 2022

Good morning North Idaho DPC Family,

Exciting new for the clinic is we have our own Alpha Stimulator. This is a tool that I utilized in the Air Force for anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain. For some people this is really a revolutionary technique. My plan is to utilize it for our patients with acupuncture or other treatments. The first therapy will be with myself to set up a protocol. Once a treatment plan is developed, patients can come in and sit in the lobby to have their therapy. If this treatment works for you, we can order your own for use. If this is something you are interested in trying out, please call and schedule an appointment to get set up.

https://www.alpha-stim.com/

Last week we discussed the importance of adequate sleep and sleep hygiene techniques that can help us sleep. This week I am going to discuss non-pharmalogical techniques to help with sleep. Next week, we will discuss different medications and supplements that can help with sleep and their pros and cons.

How can we treat insomnia WITHOUT medications?

Sleep hygiene is critical

  • Exercise regularly (not 4 hours before sleep)
  • Avoid large meals and limit fluid intake in the evening
  • Limit caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol intake
  • Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only
  • Maintain a regular sleep wake cycle without napping
  • Avoid distracting stimuli at bedtime

Control your sleep time routine

  • Lie down to sleep only when feeling sleepy
  • Avoid wakeful activities at bedtime (TV, deep conversations, eating, phone use)
  • Leave the bed if unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes and return when sleepy
  • Go to sleep and rise at the same time every day (even the weekends)

Now bring on the pain:

Sleep Restriction: don’t let your insomnia control you

  • Limit time in bed to the numbers of hours actually asleep (not less than 5 hours)
    • Sleep time will gradually increase as sleep efficiency improves

Paradoxical Intention: Lets take away the fear of not sleeping

  • Stay awake as long as you can to alleviate the anxiety and pressure to fall asleep

Relaxation Training: mentally create a calm environment

  • Imagine a calm environment with comforting body perceptions like warmth and heavy limbs (autogenic training)
  • Focus on pleasant images (imagery training)
  • Hypnosis, meditation, yoga, abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation
  • Focus on controlling specific physiologic factors such as muscle tension (visual/auditory feedback)

Cognitive therapy

  • Counseling
  • Work on negative beliefs regarding sleep (overstimulation or anxiety related to expected hours)
  • Use a journal to write don your thoughts to address the next day

Temporal Control Therapy

  • Wake up every day at the same time regardless of total amount of sleep. Avoid naps. This will allow you to reset your normal sleep cycle and start going to bed earlier to compensate.

Multicomponent therapy

  • Combine the above therapies

Take a look at the original article that summarize the therapies. This is a great resource that I often share.

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2015/1215/p1058.html#:~:text=Insomnia%20can%20be%20treated%20with,be%20considered%20for%20refractory%20cases.

I completely recognize it easy to type and even read these ideas. Many people are able to significantly improve their sleep if they are dedicated to working on it. If you would like to talk to Dr. Silakoski or myself about your sleep, please don’t hesitate reaching out. We are here to help you live your healthiest life.

Cheers,

M. Ryan Odom, MD

North Idaho DPC

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