Can't Sleep? Drug free alternatives that really help -Monday, January 30, 2017
Insomnia is a widespread sleep problem among adults. Nearly 40% of men and women in the U.S. experience some symptoms of insomnia in a given year, and as many as 15% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. Relaxation techniques are considered a standard form treatment for insomnia by sleep professionals, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. These techniques include:
- Muscle relaxation exercises
- Deep breathing exercises
- Imagery and visualization
- Alternative and mind-body medicine: including meditation, yoga, Tai chi
- Manipulative practices: including massage, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments
- Other CAM practices: including acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy
- Natural products: including non-vitamin and non-mineral supplements, particularly those used for insomnia treatment, such as melatonin and valerian
- 18% of those included in the study had regular insomnia or difficulty sleeping in the past year. More women than men suffered from insomnia, as did older people, and those with lower education and income levels.
- Of those people with insomnia, 22.9% used some type of relaxation therapy in the past year, compared to 11.2% of people without insomnia. Deep breathing exercises were the most common type of relaxation therapy used.
- Fewer than one-fifth—only 19.1%--of people discussed their use of relaxation therapy with their primary physician.
- 29.9% of those with insomnia reported using relaxation exercises for specific medical issues, but only a very small number—30 individuals in total—reported using relaxation techniques to treat their insomnia. This was too small a figure for researchers to calculate a population-based estimate.
- When it came to CAM, 45% of adults with insomnia used some form of complementary or alternative medicine in the past year, compared to 30.9% of those without insomnia.
- Natural products were the most commonly used of the four categories, followed by manipulative practices. However, researchers found that use of natural products specifically for insomnia was very low.
- 54% of adults with insomnia used some form of CAM for specific health problems, but only 1.8% reported using CAM to treat insomnia.
- In the case of both relaxation techniques and CAM, women were more likely than men to use these therapies, as were people with higher levels of education and income, and people who reported higher levels of physical activity.