Are you trying desperately to get better sleep at night? You might want to consider complementary medicine as another way to help you get back to restful slumber.
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Complementary medicine refers to forms of non-invasive therapies that a patient can use alongside conventional Western medicine. Nearly 40% of Americans use this approach for specific conditions or overall well-being, says the National Institutes of Health.
“Many complementary therapies have been shown, through high-quality scientific evidence, to be safe and effective in helping people sleep better,” says integrative medicine specialist Melissa C. Young, MD.
Complementary therapies for insomnia are comprised of four categories:
Here’s a rundown of the four categories and how you can leverage them to get back to sleep.
The mind is a key player when it comes to how easily you fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why people should try mind-body techniques first when they experience insomnia, Dr. Young says.
Examples of mind-body techniques include meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery, tai chi and yoga. These practices can help to calm people’s thoughts and help them relax. They are particularly helpful for older adults.
Body-based therapies can relax the body enough so that it is ready for sleep. These include massage and acupuncture, as well as energy techniques for stress reduction. Massage benefits everyone from infants to older adults and those who have cancer. Acupuncture enhances sleep quality, especially if you’re feeling pain. Energy techniques include Reiki, healing touch and therapeutic touch.
Biological supplements aren’t sleeping pills. They help to balance your body’s chemistry and rhythm naturally, and make it easier to fall asleep.
Dr. Young says the most effective and popular biological treatments are:
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a set of behavioral strategies and cognitive interventions that when implemented can help you to fall asleep faster, stay asleep and improve your sleep quality. At the same time, these strategies may also increase the overall amount of time you sleep. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in the short- and long-term, and has minimal side effects.
Dr. Drerup gives these suggestions: