Sleep and Aging

Frequently Asked Questions

10. What can be done to relieve insomnia?

Ways to relieve insomnia include lifestyle changes, counseling and medications.

Making these lifestyle changes often can help relieve short-term insomnia.

  • Avoid substances that make insomnia worse. These include caffeine, alcohol, and certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
  • Try to adopt bedtime habits that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath.
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. The room should be dark, well ventilated, and as quiet as possible.
  • Go to sleep around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of counseling, can help relieve chronic (ongoing) insomnia. This therapy encourages good sleep habits and uses several methods such as relaxation and biofeedback to relieve sleep anxiety.

Many prescription medicines are used to treat insomnia. They can help relieve insomnia and re-establish a regular sleep schedule. Some are meant for short-term use, while others are meant for longer use. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and side effects of insomnia medicines. For example, insomnia medicines can help you fall asleep, but you may feel groggy in the morning after taking them.

Some over-the-counter products claim to treat insomnia. Although these products may make you sleepy, talk to your doctor before taking them.

If your insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, it's important to treat the underlying cause if possible.