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How do I Choose the Best Sleep Disorder Treatment?

By Emma Lloyd
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sleep disorders can take many different forms. Insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and even snoring are all examples of sleep disorders that can reduce sleep quality or cause sleep deprivation. To choose the best sleep disorder treatment, it’s important to take into account the type of sleep disorder involved, and whether it has psychological or physical causes.

Restful sleep is essential for good health. Most people have trouble sleeping from time to time, but for some, occasional insomnia can be a precursor to more serious problems. Sleep disorders that lead to trouble sleeping or achieving restful sleep can cause mental and physical problems such as depression, increased anxiety, slow reactions, difficulty concentrating, and intense fatigue.

Some sleep disorders, such as snoring, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea, tend to have physical rather than mental causes. In these cases, the best sleep disorder treatment is one that focuses on treating physical symptoms or the underlying cause of the problem. In the case of sleep apnea, for example, an effective treatment program typically includes the use of a worn mechanical device that keeps airways open during sleep.

In contrast, some sleep disorders have a psychological cause rather than a physical cause. When sleep disorders have a psychological cause, the most effective sleep disorder treatment is often a combination of temporary medication in conjunction with some form of therapy or counseling. Depression often causes insomnia, and in such cases anti-depressants can help treat both the depression and the resulting sleep disorder.

Choosing the best sleep disorder treatment isn’t always as clear-cut as focusing solely on the underlying cause of the disorder. In the case of narcolepsy, for example, the true cause of symptoms is not solely physical. Narcolepsy, which causes affected individuals to suddenly fall asleep during the day, is an inherited disorder with environmental and psychological triggers. Even though the physical cause of narcolepsy is known to be a lack of a regulatory hormone called hypocretin, counseling and behavioral modification are used in conjunction with medication to treat the disorder.

Given that sleep disorder treatment is not an exact science, paying attention to daily routines and sleeping habits is an important step in treatment too. Making a sleep diary can help pinpoint behaviors that might lead to or exacerbate a sleep disorder. For example, it can show how moods during the day or evening, foods eaten, or medications taken, can have an effect on sleep duration and quality.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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