This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
You don’t have to struggle with sleepless nights. Help is available! There are treatment options for insomnia, ranging from behavioral therapy to the use of prescription medication or a combination of the two. Talk to your healthcare professional if you have any trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep and to properly diagnose insomnia symptoms.
Treatment options include:
- Behavioral therapy is offered typically by a psychologist, psychiatrist or other health practitioner or counselor with specialized training. Several visits to the therapist are usually required to learn and implement the techniques of specific behavioral therapies. Some of the more common behavioral approaches include:
- Stimulus control, which trains people to use their bed and bedroom for sleep and sex only. Persons with insomnia are encouraged to go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity until they are sleepy and ready to return to bed.
- Cognitive therapy, which is conducted with a therapist who helps the patient with attitudes and beliefs that may contribute to poor sleep.
- Relaxation training, which often involves reducing tension and muscular relaxation techniques.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription sleep aids may also help with insomnia. Medications differ by dose and duration of action. Most individuals take sleep aids a few nights or a few weeks at a time. OTC sleep aids are available at your local pharmacy. See your healthcare professional for a sleep aid prescription. Prescription sleep aids are safe and effective when taken as directed. Talk to your healthcare professional about what treatment is best for you.