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Insomnia Treatments


Treat Underlying Medical Conditions

A number of physical and mental disorders can disrupt sleep. Diagnosis and treatment of underlying illness, such as restless legs syndrome, may prevent insomnia.

Identify and Modify Behaviors That Worsen Insomnia

  • Reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and drug use.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • If you must take naps, keep them short.
  • Do not smoke close to bedtime.


Sleeping pills are available by prescription or over the counter. Some doctors advise against the long-term use of sleeping pills. They may cause dependence.

Proper prescription sleep medicine can be effective. They should not interfere with memory, work functioning, or daytime drowsiness.

Most over-the-counter sleep medications contain diphenhydramine (Benadryl). This antihistamine will help many people fall asleep more rapidly. It will probably improve sleep quality. Elderly persons may have a variety of adverse effects to this drug. They should discuss its use with their doctor.

Herbal Therapies and Supplements

Some people use the herb valerian to reduce insomnia. Others take melatonin. In the US, these products do not undergo the same testing as drugs. Their long-term impact, side effects, and possible interactions with other drugs or medical conditions are often unknown.

Relaxation Therapy

This may reduce or eliminate anxiety and body tension. therapy. This stops the mind from racing and allows the muscles to relax so that restful sleep can occur. It may include deep breathing, stopping thought, and using progressive relaxation.

Sleep Restriction

A sleep restriction program at first allows only a few hours of sleep during the night. This is usually about five hours. Gradually, the time is increased until a more normal night's sleep is achieved.


Reconditioning helps people associate the bed and bedtime with sleep. This means not using the bed for activities other than sleep and sex. As part of the reconditioning process, the person is usually advised to go to bed only when sleepy.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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