How do medications treat chronic insomnia?

The primary treatment for chronic insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which is effective over the long-term and has no known significant side effects. CBT-I involves a combination of behavioral modification, such as setting a consistent sleep schedule and getting out of bed when you are struggling to sleep, with cognitive strategies, such as replacing unrealistic fears about sleeplessness with more helpful expectations. CBT-I recommendations are customized to address each patient’s individual needs and symptoms. However, your doctor may decide if medication is best for you. You should only take a medication when supervised by a doctor.

This content originally appeared on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website.

There are several treatment options for chronic insomnia. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that helps you get to sleep or stay asleep longer. Over-the-counter medications are also available, but these may be ineffective or pose risks to some people. If the cause of your insomnia is an underlying medical condition, a doctor might be able to treat the condition and get rid of the insomnia by doing so. If the cause is stress or anxiety, cognitive-behavioral therapy might help offer relief. Lifestyle changes such as keeping regular hours or not drinking caffeine may also help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.