- Question from ABerry: What has been shown to help the most with insomnia?
It is hard to answer the question concerning what has been shown to work the most or most effectively. There are many different causes of insomnia, and insomnia is a very common problem especially in the Western hemisphere, if not around the globe. There are, of course, many prescription medications that are useful sleep aids. But we also know that they do not always improve the specific stages of sleep that are most important for restoration, such as deep sleep.
Meditation, other forms of stress management, and physical activity can all be helpful in improving sleep quality. Although there has been little research in the role of acupuncture when treating sleep disorders, it should still be considered and tried as a technique to help with this problem. As was mentioned earlier, the only downside to acupuncture is a bit of time and a bit of money. If it doesn't work, then there hasn't been a great loss and if it does work, it feels like a miracle. Melatonin is something else that could be tried. However, this remains somewhat controversial. One of the newer pharmaceutically produced sleep aids on the market is what's called a melatonin agonist, meaning that this product stimulates the release of melatonin in the brain. It is thought to help with insomnia.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Complementary Medicine Techniques Part 3 featured Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about different types of complementary techniques and how they can help during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2007.
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