In our quest to cure insomnia (or at least treat it), we often look to a pill bottle for the solution. Whether it’s an over-the-counter pill like Advil-PM or Nytol, or a prescription from your doctor like Ambien or Ativan, more and more of us are “swallowing” the promise of a good nights sleep.

But there’s more to it than that.

Ask anyone who has really investigated insomnia, a doctor who specializes in it, or someone who’s suffered from it but has been cured. They will all agree that the answer is never in something you take. It’s the things that you do.

Sleeping pills of any description have a downside. With some it’s a physical dependence to the point where you cannot function without the drug (how natural is that?). With many it’s side effects like a next-day drowsiness that’s almost as bad as the insomnia it was supposed to treat.

And then there’s the serious side effects. Hallucinations. Sleep walking. Suicidal thoughts. Nasty stuff.

In the end, sleeping pills are only a bandage on a wound – they do nothing to heal it.

To get better, there are two simple steps you need to take:

  1. Determine if your insomnia is caused by something else. It could be sleep-apnea (get any excessive snoring checked out – it could be really serious). It could be menopause (hot flashes). It could be chronic pain. Whatever it might be, get it treated. This is called secondary insomnia, and is by far the most common type.
  2. If your insomnia isn’t from another cause, it’s called primary insomnia. When you’re stuck with this, your world can seem intractable. But it’s not. Don’t give in to the pills (if you do, your worldwillbecome intractable). Study up on your condition. Become an expert. Learn all about simple steps you can take to re-engineer your brain to sleep.

Step one in this process is sleep hygiene. Then you can move on to meditation and relaxation methods if you need to.Once you forego the pills, you’ll start sleeping better.

Posted byDoug at BuildBetterSleep.

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