Sleep disorder treatment

Sleep treatment can be as varied as the disorders that it aims to cure. In general terms, sleep treatment can be classified into two broad categories: non-pharmacological treatment and pharmacological treatment.

Non-pharmacological sleep treatment refers to those options where no prescription drugs are involved. One of this options can be surgery, used specifically to correct defects of the upper airway which can contribute significantly to the onset of obstructive sleep apnea. Another technique that falls under this category is cognitive behavioral therapy, which seeks to solve issues regarding dysfunctional emotions and behaviors through a goal-oriented procedure.

Another option that does not require any administration of drugs is the use of different types of medical equipment, specific for the treatment of each condition. One of the most popular techniques is "continuous positive airway pressure" (CPAP), which is used for the treatment of sleep apnea. This approach seeks to deliver a constant flow of air through a face mask (called CPAP mask) in order to keep the upper airway open. A similar option is called "bilevel", in which the face mask provides two different alternating pressures: one when the patient exhales and one when he or she inhales. Other common alternatives include a mandibular advancement device, nasal strips, and splints (a device that keeps the tongue in a determined position in order to keep the airway as open as possible).

Regarding pharmacological treatment, there are many options as well. Depending on which type of disorder is affecting the person, treatment could include sedatives (in case the condition is related to insomnia), or stimulants, which is the opposite case in which the sufferer is struggling against narcolepsy or sleep apnea. Sometimes over-the-counter medication is also recommended, as in the case of jet lag and circadian rhythm disorders, in which melatonin is often used for sleep treatment.

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