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5 treatment methods that may help cure insomnia quickly

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Sleep environmentCognitive behavioral therapyAvoid blue lightRelaxationFood and drink before bedMedicationSeeking medical adviceSummary
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can affect your day-to-day life. Several strategies may help you overcome insomnia, like avoiding blue light before bed.
Medically reviewed by Meir Kryger, MD, FRCP(C)
Updated on January 25, 2024

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. A lack of quality sleep can affect your daily life and make it difficult to manage important responsibilities like going to work.

Insomnia often has a connection with another underlying condition, such as anxiety or depression, so it may be difficult to cure overnight. However, there are several steps you can take to help promote better sleep quality. This includes practicing relaxation techniques, making sure your bedroom is comfortable and cozy, and limiting your screen time before bedtime.

While lifestyle changes may help improve your sleep and provide better rest, speak with a doctor if you experience chronic insomnia, which is insomnia at least three times a week. They can suggest treatment options that help address the underlying cause.

The following methods may be able to help with insomnia:

1. Create a sleep-conducive environment

Making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature can help you fall asleep. It can also be helpful to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including during the weekend. This can help rebalance your sleep-wake cycle.

You may also consider creating a bedtime routine to help you wind down and increase your relaxation. Your routine can include having a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music before bed.

2. Consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

People with insomnia often develop negative thoughts about going to bed due to previous negative experiences. This may include avoiding going to bed as they are convinced they will not be able to sleep. CBT can help change sleep patterns and transform negative beliefs into constructive thoughts.

A 2022 study reported that CBT for people with insomnia is an effective option that typically improves sleep quality within 4–8 weeks from the start of the treatment.

3. Avoid blue light and electronic devices

Blue light helps your body control its melatonin production and sleep-wake cycle, called the circadian rhythm. When you have exposure to blue light, your body boosts your brain function and increases your alertness, thinking it is daytime and keeping you awake.

Blue light sources include screens from devices like laptops, smartphones, and TVs. Avoiding screen exposure before bedtime can help your body understand it is time for you to go to bed and make it easier for you to sleep.

4. Promote relaxation

Female lying in a bath to depict ways to cure insomnia quickly.
Amor Burakova/Stocksy United

Anxiety and stress can be common causes of insomnia. Treating the underlying cause of insomnia can help promote better sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep and remain asleep.

Treatment methods for anxiety and stress that you can incorporate into a bedtime routine include:

  • deep breathing exercises
  • meditation
  • journaling
  • taking a bath

5. Avoid food and drink before bed

Eating large meals or drinking alcohol before bedtime can reduce your sleep quality. Indigestion and heartburn may make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, while drinking alcohol at bedtime may wake you up as well as increase the number of your trips to the bathroom.

If you experience insomnia and drink alcohol, aim to avoid it 4–5 hours before bedtime.

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What medications can help?

Several medications can help treat occasional and long-term insomnia. Some over-the-counter options are marketed for occasional insomnia, which may include melatonin or antihistamine medications with a drowsy effect, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or doxylamine (Unisom). The antihistamines may lead to a hangover feeling when you wake up and may cause restlessness at bedtime.

However, if you have chronic insomnia, doctors may prescribe medications called hypnotics, such as:

Doctors can recommend the most appropriate treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying causes of insomnia.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

When to speak with a doctor

Contact a doctor if you experience insomnia that occurs at least three times a week or that lasts longer than 3 months. This may be a sign of chronic insomnia or another underlying condition. Long-term insomnia can cause several health complications, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

If you often experience difficulty falling asleep and it does not get better after making improvements to your bedtime routine, speak with a doctor to find the cause of your sleeping issues.

A doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment based on the causes of insomnia to improve your symptoms and sleep quality.

Summary

If you have long-term insomnia, several measures may help improve your sleep quality. Examples include making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet, limiting alcohol, avoiding exposure to blue light, and practicing relaxation exercises.

However, speak with a doctor if these methods aren’t working for you. A doctor can prescribe medications for insomnia or recommend CBT to help improve your sleep quality.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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