Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Sleep Disorders?

Stephen Soreff, MD


October 20, 2016

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is efficacious for short-term treatment of insomnia, as are hypnotic medications, but few patients achieve complete remission with any single treatment. No special diet is needed to treat insomnia, but large meals and spicy foods should be avoided in the 3 hours before bedtime. Barbiturates and chloral hydrate are seldom used now because of safety concerns related to their undesirably low therapeutic indexes.

Educating patients in good sleep hygiene is the keystone of treatment. The following advice should be given to patients:

  • Use the bed for sleep and sex only (no television watching or reading in bed)

  • Avoid caffeine, especially late in the day; avoid activities that will get you stimulated and upset late in the day; practice relaxation techniques before bedtime

  • Exercise each day

  • Maintain a regular schedule for bedtime and wakening; avoid naps

  • Do not watch the clock while in bed; avoid struggling to fall asleep in bed—instead, get up and spend quiet time out of bed until sleep comes

For more on the treatment of sleep disorders, read here.

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