Is it Possible to Cure Insomnia?


October 6, 2023 5 MIN READ

cure insomnia

Is it Possible to Cure Insomnia?

You may suffer from insomnia if you have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Sleep experts estimate between 10% and 30% of adults endure this condition.  Is there a cure of insomnia?  Let’s take a look at a few things first.

Two Types of Insomnia

Short-term or Acute insomnia is typically situational, only lasts for three months or less, and may improve simply through improving sleep hygiene. This strategy is often the first step in treating insomnia.

Without successful treatment, acute insomnia can become Chronic Insomnia, the failure to fall or stay asleep at least three nights each week for more than three months.

Treating Insomnia

The first step in treatment is to seek a diagnosis. Determining the type and origins of your sleep issues is essential to crafting the most effective treatment strategies. Your primary care physician has all your records and understands your health history, making them an ideal first choice.

The criteria for an insomnia diagnosis include the following:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Reluctance to go to bed.
  • Awakening earlier than you want.

Experiencing these symptoms for at least three months, even with sufficient opportunity and time for rest, indicates the potential for chronic insomnia. Having one or more of the following daytime issues is also a necessary component for a diagnosis of chronic insomnia.

  • Moodiness and Irritability
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Fatigue or Despondency
  • Low Energy or Motivation
  • Problems with Memory or Focus
  • Behavioral Issues like Aggression and Impulsiveness
  • Poor Performance in Family, Academic, Social, or Occupational Settings

Keeping a sleep diary for a week or two before your appointment will help your doctor reach an accurate diagnosis more easily.

After Diagnosis of Insomnia 

Usually, your doctor will attempt to prescribe you a sleeping medication and possibly refer you to an overnight sleep study at a sleep center. Also, a doctor might recommend actigraphy (wearing a body sensor while sleeping for up to two weeks) or blood tests to eliminate any underlying medical condition as the cause.

Sleeping Medications

Sleep medications are usually the first resort when they should be the last because they have strong side effects and only address the symptoms of insomnia and not the root cause. Generally, these medications fall into one of the following categories.

Benzodiazepines (BZD)
Five BZDs have FDA approval for treating insomnia. Due to their potential for abuse and dependency, these drugs are not typically a component of chronic insomnia treatment. Patients can also develop tolerance to benzodiazepines.

Z drugs offer similar relief as BZDs but with fewer adverse effects and potential for abuse.

Melatonin agonist
As the light fades, our body produces the hormone melatonin, which relaxes and makes us sleepy. Certain medications can stimulate this response and aid in falling asleep, typically with less severe effects than BZD or Z drugs.

Orexin Receptor Antagonist
Orexins are the neurotransmitters responsible for sensations of sleepiness and wakefulness. Suvorexant is an orexin receptor antagonist suitable for treating both onset or maintenance of insomnia.

Off Label Treatments
Often, medications are helpful in treating issues other than those for which they receive initial approval. Certain antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs can also be beneficial in treating insomnia.

Over-The-Counter Medications
Numerous medications are available without prescription that may be helpful in falling or staying asleep. For instance, particular antihistamines and melatonin supplements are readily available in many retail outlets.

Natural Treatments
Valerian and Kava are two popular options for natural sleep aids. However, recent studies find that these natural options may not be as safe as we once believed. Valerian and Kava each have links to adverse side effects.

Although over-the-counter and natural options don’t require a prescription, it is best to check with your doctor regarding their use as they might interfere with other medications or be a poor choice for your specific health situation.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) Treatment

The second most popular recommendation for treating insomnia is CBT-I which stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
Because it does not hold the potential health risks or side effects of medications, CBT-I is usually the primary treatment for insomnia beyond sleeping medication. This method helps people identify their anxieties regarding sleep and replace them with healthier attitudes and sleep beliefs.

One or more of the following techniques are also often a component of this therapy.

Stimulus Control
Frequently, insomnia sufferers have anxiety at the thought of going to sleep. Only lying down when you feel tired, using your bed exclusively for sleep and sex, and arising at the same time each morning are typical strategies of stimulus control.

Sleep Education and Hygiene
Understanding and amplifying behaviors beneficial to sleep quantity and quality while abandoning those that cause sleep issues are the purpose of sleep hygiene and education.

Sleep Compression and Restriction
Sleep compression is a more gradual process than sleep restriction, but these two techniques aim to cut back the time you spend awake in bed.

There are various techniques for relaxation, including progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Biofeedback can also help provide insight regarding heart and breathing rates, blood pressure, and other critical indicators.

The Challenges With Traditional CBT-I Treatment

The first challenge is there is a lack of trained professionals to deliver effective CBT-I treatment. Also in traditional CBT-I treatment, a trained therapist asks patients to keep a sleep diary which is inaccurate and often creates more sleep anxiety. Sleep restriction is also a part of the protocol and it’s usually prescribed to those who don’t need it. Below are some Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia pros and cons

CBT-I Pro’s

  • Natural and safe approach
  • Usually covered by most insurance
  • It can be effective when delivered properly

CBT-I Con’s

  • It’s difficult to find a therapist (there is a shortage of trained CBT-I therapists), so it can take several weeks to find and get started with a therapist.
  • Sleep restriction technique used for all patients, which can be challenging for people suffering from sleep anxiety
  • Travel time to in-person office
  • The approach uses a sleep diary, which is inaccurate and ineffective
  • Takes 6-12 weeks to begin to see the results
  • No community element to connect with others working through their sleep challenges
  • One dimensional approach
  • No results guarantee
  • No money-back guarantee
  • No lifetime program access

Can insomnia be cured?|

Absolutely, suffering from insomnia does not need to be a life sentence. There are numerous options for treating insomnia, but tackling it alone can be a lift too heavy for one individual.

Start with your doctor, then discuss your issues and concerns honestly at your appointment. Your doctor can provide a clear diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment which most likely will be a sleeping medication.

If you are looking for a pill-free approach with a 97% success rate look no further

Sleep Science Academy’s team of professional sleep coaches and our highly successful, unique, and empowering program are helping countless individuals overcome their sleep challenges.

Acquiring the help and support of a professional sleep coach can make the journey and the results more rewarding and straightforward. Support is crucial; a coach can help you identify the specific perceptions and beliefs keeping you up at night.

If resolving your insomnia or other sleep challenges seems like a dream come true, contact us today and schedule your complimentary sleep consultation to gain insight and start down the path of better sleep and more productive days.

Follow this link to learn more about Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) and how our program can help.