Countless Americans have trouble sleeping at night. Numerous doctors suggest that they take sleeping pills. But is this the best course of action?
CBS News reports on sleeping pills. Many experts are saying that prescribing sleeping pills for insomnia is not the best prescription for sleepless patients.
A new study shows that there is a better way to treat insomnia than taking pills. Research shows that before you are prescribed pills, you should be prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is said to help you train your body to sleep again.
“It takes more time and effort than popping a pill, but the American College of Physicians said Monday the method known as CBT can be effective and doesn't carry the side effects of medication, a recommendation intended to spur primary care doctors to prescribe the step,” according to CBS News.
Experts are saying that pills should only be prescribed if the therapy does not work. There are numerous health workers that are trained in CBT, but people will have to look a little harder to find one.
Why do people get insomnia?
Researchers say the most common causes for lack of sleep are lifestyle or job circumstances; but that is different than trying to sleep and not being able to do so.
What causes actual insomnia where you cannot sleep at night for months and have trouble during the day?
Researchers say it is often caused by stress or an illness.
How much sleep should you be getting per night to maintain good health?
Researchers say that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should be getting at least seven hours of sleep per night in order to maintain good health.
If you do not get enough sleep, what could happen? Lack of sleep often leads to obesity, high blood pressure and fatigue that causes car accidents.
Dr. Thomas Tape, chief of general internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the lead researcher commented on the study. He said, “Prescribing a sleeping pill is not the desirable first step; yet for many primary care physicians, the behavioral approach "wasn't really on our radar screens.”
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Duke University clinical psychologist Meg Lineberger described it to CBS news as reconditioning the brain into normal sleep patterns again. Lineberger is a certified behavioral sleep specialist who was not involved in the study.
There are specific things that go along with CBT and reconditioning the brain into the sleep patterns.
The hardest step comes in the beginning and is called restriction. It is the process of keeping yourself up until six hours before you have to wake up (if you are waking up at 6 then stay up until 12) and then go to bed once your very drowsy. Lineberger says this way the patient is so tired that they sleep right away.
Numerous health professionals can help patients adjust to CBT: sleep specialists, nurse practitioners and social workers.
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