Treating sleep disorders

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Dr. Nithin Jayan
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nithin Jayan, MBBS, DNB
Last Updated on Sep 25, 2014
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How can Sleep Disorders be Treated?

Treatment for sleep disorders depends on the type of disorder and not all sleep problems require tablets.

The therapy for sleep disorders is individualistic and depends on the type of disorder. Not all cases requires medication, sometimes educating the patient about simple sleep hygiene measures provides the cure.

The principles of therapy are:

  • Hypnotics are sedatives which are given when there is difficulty in falling or maintaining sleep for example insomnia.
  • REM sleep suppressants and anticataleptic agents are given for narcolepsy.
  • Stimulant medications are given for those disorders in which there is excessive daytime sleepiness such as in hypersomnias and narcolepsy.
  • Dopamine agonists are given for disorders such as restless leg syndrome and periodic leg movement disorder.
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) forms the mode of therapy for obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Behavioral therapy helps to establish permanent healthy sleeping patterns and hence forms the backbone in treating insomnias. Age related sleeping patterns can be modified with this therapy.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns due to hormonal imbalances are stabilized with hormonal and behavioral therapy. So, an exact diagnosis helps to initiate the appropriate therapy.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb

References:

  1. Coren, Stanley. Sleep Thieves: An Eye-Opening Exploration into the Science and Mysteries of Sleep. New York: The Free Press; 1996, p. 287.
  2. Sleep Disorders - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sleepdisorders.html)

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