While Xanax is used to treat insomnia, insomnia is also a commonly reported side effect. Female patients over sixty years old are more likely than others to experience this side effect, and taking Xanax with zolpidem could increase the risk of insomnia. Additionally, patients with depression are particularly likely to report insomnia while taking Xanax, and this usually begins within the first month of treatment. Insomnia may cause patients to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and some with insomnia may wake up in the early hours of the morning and be unable to go back to sleep. Insomnia can lead to depression, irritability, and anxiety, and patients might make uncharacteristic errors at work or school while coping with this side effect. A sleep study may be used to help diagnose insomnia, and patients can be treated with stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction, and light therapy. Relaxation techniques such as biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing exercises may be beneficial, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help as well. Some patients find paradoxical intention to be particularly useful. With this technique, the patient goes to bed and actively tries to stay awake. The technique can ease the patient’s anxiety about not being able to fall asleep, and many patients find they actually do fall asleep with this method.
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