Treatment of Sleep Disorders
By Brandon Peters, M.D., About.com Guide
- Treatments by Condition
- Sleeping Pills for Insomnia
- Stimulants and Other Medications
- Over-the-Counter Medications and Supplements
Treatments by Condition
Each sleep disorder is unique and some require a combination of different treatments, often including medications and behavioral changes. If you have been diagnosed with insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, you may want to target your therapies in a specific way. You also may want to learn how to treat common conditions such as sleep paralysis and jet lag.
- Treatment of Sleep Disorders
- What Can I Do to Sleep
- Sleep Deprivation
- Sleep Apnea
- Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
Sleeping Pills for Insomnia
Sleeping pills are often prescribed to treat insomnia. These prescription sleep aids include two major classes of medicines called benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Common agents might include Ambien, Lunesta and Trazodone, but there are many other medications available. Although there are a variety of options, the selection of the best medication should take into account your other health conditions.
- What to Take When You Can't Sleep
- Sleeping Pills Overview
- Benzodiazepine Medications for Insomnia
- Nonbenzodiazepine Medications for Insomnia
- Can Ambien Affect Your Memory?
Stimulants and Other Medications
Aside from sleeping pills, there are other prescription medications that might be helpful in sleep disorders. If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, your doctor may prescribe a stimulant. There are certain medicines that are effective in restless legs syndrome, including gabapentin, mirapex and requip. In addition there may be a role for specific medications to treat bedwetting, nightmares and narcolepsy.
- Requip for RLS
- Weight Loss Medications in Sleep Apnea
- Desmopressin for Bedwetting
- Prazosin for Nightmares
- Xyrem for Narcolepsy
Over-the-Counter Medications and Supplements
Over-the-counter medications may be your first choice to treat your difficulty sleepy, especially if you have insomnia. It is important to select a sleeping pill that will be safe and effective. You may also consider using alternative herbal medications and supplements such as melatonin. Review your options to make an informed choice.
- Melatonin for Insomnia
- Melatonin Can Treat REM Behavior Disorder
- The Connection Between Melatonin and Aging
- Valerian Root
In many ways, sleep is a behavior. As such, behavioral treatments can be very effective for conditions such as insomnia. From changing the patterns of sleep to intentional relaxation and cognitive therapy, there are many options to explore. In addition, parents can use behavioral techniques to help a child stop wetting the bed.
- Relaxation and Biofeedback for Insomnia
- Stimulus Control for Insomnia
- Sleep Restriction for Insomnia
- Insomnia Treatment Option: Sleep Restriction
- Circadian Rhythm Insomnia Treatment
- Insomnia Treatment Option: Chronotherapy
- Insomnia Treatment Option: Cognitive Therapy
- What Is Paradoxical Intention?
- How to Adjust to Working Nights
- Behavioral Treatments for Bedwetting
- Bladder Training for Bedwetting
- Motivational Therapy for Bedwetting
- Fluid Management for Bedwetting
For some sleep disorders - including snoring, sleep apnea and circadian rhythm disorders - medical equipment serves as the mainstay of treatment. For sleep apnea this may include the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a related therapy called bilevel or BiPAP. Oral appliances, dental devices and nasal dilators may also be employed. Circadian rhythm disorders are often treated with phototherapy using a light box. There are also other devices that may have a role in helping you to sleep better.
- What Is CPAP?
- What Is BiPAP?
- Sleep Apnea and CPAP
- How to Choose a CPAP Mask
- Nasal Pillows
- What Is Climate Line Tubing?
- Prevent Mouth Breathing on CPAP
- Chinstrap Use and CPAP
- Living With CPAP
- Oxygen Therapy in Sleep Apnea
- Oral Appliances for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
- Winx Sleep Therapy System for Sleep Apnea
- Tongue Stabilizing Device for Sleep Apnea
- How Do Nasal Dilators Improve Snoring?
- Light Box Therapy
- How to Use a Light Box for Phototherapy
- Phototherapy for Insomnia
- How to Choose a Light Box
- Side Effects to Light Box Therapy
- What Is a Neti Pot?
Surgery for Sleep Apnea
There are a handful of surgery options available to treat sleep disorders. Most target sleep apnea or snoring by removing or stabilizing tissue in the upper airway, especially in the throat around the tonsils. Newer treatments such as placement of a hypoglossal nerve stimulator are also becoming available. If obesity is contributing to your sleep apnea, you might want to learn about bariatric surgery to reduce your weight.
Aside from traditional therapies, many alternative treatments may effectively treat sleep disorders. These alternatives may include aromatherapy, taking naps or using caffeine. You might consider weight loss or even playing the didgeridoo to treat sleep apnea. You may want to learn how sleep apps for your smart phone may be useful. There are a variety of other options that might help you to sleep better.
- What Good Are Naps?
- Caffeine Benefits
- How Weight Loss May Improve Your Sleep
- Alternative Insomnia Treatments
- Aromatherapy for Insomnia
- Alternatives to Light Box Phototherapy
- Sleep Apnea Alternatives