Guest Blog: The Sleep Help Institute ~ Alternative Treatments for Insomnia

Ease the Symptoms of Insomnia with Cost-Effective Alternative Treatments

 

More people than ever find themselves struggling to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Increased stress and pressure at work while managing a busy home schedule leaves many people wide-eyed long into the night. Sleep medications may be effective, but they can be pricey and some carry risks you might want to avoid.

 

Alternative methods of insomnia treatment have been around for centuries. Acupuncture, meditation, and yoga have all been shown to ease insomnia while being easier on the pocketbook than prescription medication. Insomnia drugs vary in price with some of the most expensive name brands costing $115 for 15 doses to generics that come in as little as $36 for the same amount of pills. However, there’s always a risk of becoming dependent on medications. Not only that, some medications help you sleep longer, but the body doesn’t enter the deepest levels of sleep, which will still leave you feeling tired in the morning.

Alternative Treatments to Try

Some alternative treatments can be as expensive as sleep medications, but they don’t carry the risk of developing dependence or harming the quality of your sleep.

 

Acupuncture

A qualified acupuncturist uses needles to stimulate the nervous system and bring the body into balance. It can be used to treat everything from arthritis to smoking cessation. However, when it comes to insomnia, acupuncture works well because it can reduce stress and anxiety. For most long-term problems like insomnia, you’ll need at least three treatments. Treatments can cost anywhere from $70 to $300 per session so choose your acupuncturist carefully.

 

A few health plans cover acupuncture, but, in most cases, you’ll need to get a diagnosis from your doctor first and will most likely end up paying out of pocket.

 

Meditation

Meditation brings a whole host of mental health benefits with it and can save you money on expensive medications or treatments. Mindfulness meditation teaches practitioners to let negative thoughts flow in and out of the mind without dwelling on them. With practice, this method thickens the reasoning part of the brain and strengthens its connection to the brain’s emotional center. Negative thoughts may still enter the mind, but the brain gets trained to focus on the positive. The result—reduced release of the stress hormone cortisol.

 

Meditation is one of the most cost-effective treatment options. There are apps, DVDs, streaming services, and instructors that can provide training.

 

Yoga

This age-old practice reduces the number of inflammatory proteins released into the body. As inflammation goes down so does stress. A study that compared the sleep quality and stress levels of nurses found that those who regularly practiced yoga were less stressed at work and reported more restful sleep. It also relieves tension from the muscles before bed.

 

Like meditation, yoga can be performed at home or in a studio setting. It’s relatively inexpensive and can provide relief from insomnia no matter where you are.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Before you start trying different treatments and methods, take a look at your sleep hygiene, which includes all your habits and behaviors that contribute to the quality of your sleep.

 

To get the best sleep, you can try:

 

  • Going to bed at the same time every day

  • Developing a bedtime routine

  • Exercising regularly

  • Eating a well-balanced diet

  • Spending time in natural light


The environment in your bedroom can also make a difference. Your mattress should support your preferred sleep position. Many people are side sleepers and require a softer mattress than stomach and back sleepers. At night, keep the room cool, dark, and quiet to give yourself the best chance of reaching the deepest levels of sleep.

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