Diagnosis and Treatment of Insomnia

Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 people struggle with a mild form of insomnia? While this may be a temporary problem for some, chronic insomnia may have lasting effects that disrupt an individual’s entire day.  For anyone suffering from this common problem, obtaining a diagnosis and beginning to work on achieving better sleep shouldn’t be overwhelming. In this article, we will look at how an insomnia diagnosis is given and some of the current treatment options that are available. 

How is Insomnia Defined?

Insomnia is defined as “habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep”.    Depending on the specific situation a person is facing, a diagnosis of insomnia may require a multi-faceted approach.  This may include both detailed questions to determine if any physical issues are affecting sleep, and, if there is any suspicion there may be a sleep disorder involved, an overnight sleep study may be ordered.   It is important to rule out things like sleep apnea and narcolepsy as possible causes of sleep disturbance. 

While underlying medical issues can be present, most of the time, insomnia is due to psychological issues related to thoughts and behaviors around sleep.  While these can wreak havoc on sleep, they are absolutely treatable. 

How is Insomnia Treated?

While there are multiple approaches to treating sleep issues, the most common and empirically proven treatment for insomnia is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  This treatment is used to identify, challenge, and change negative thoughts about sleep, and to determine what sleep-related behaviors are negatively impacting one’s ability to sleep.

Here are some of the elements that are included in this type of therapy:

  • A detailed Sleep Log – When attempting to change sleep patterns, it is important to identify the current baseline of both amount of sleep, sleep patterns, and behaviors associated with sleep.
  • Identifying negative sleep thoughts – By keeping a diary of negative thoughts about sleep, one is more likely to realize when they are having recurrent negative thoughts.  It’s like flipping on a light switch and seeing what’s been going on in the dark – once you see it, you’ll know what to look for.
  • Sleep Scheduling – Creating a regular schedule for sleep is imperative for getting on the right track to eliminate insomnia.

While medication is available for people suffering from insomnia, these prescription options typically have a high rate of undesirable side effects. For this reason, many will seek out alternative treatment options first, such as natural supplements such as melatonin, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia or neurofeedback. 

How Can Oklahoma Neurofeedback Specialists Help?

Oklahoma Neurofeedback Specialists is here to help you better manage your insomnia. We offer a 7 week CBT for insomnia course online, so you can begin the journey to better sleep from your own home.  The longer insomnia is left untreated, the more detrimental it can be on your mental and physical health. Neurotherapy is another effective way to treat sleep issues, particularly related to anxiety.   For more information about neurofeedback, we invite you to read more about the Neurofeedback process or book your free insomnia treatment consultation. For information on our online CBT for insomnia course, click the link.