Tips and Facts

DO NOT "try" to fall asleep. Sleep will only come if you develop a passive attitude; i.e. "I really don't care if I fall asleep or not."

PRACTICE good sleep hygiene, but don't become obsessed with "tricks" to help you fall asleep. Do what is natural and comfortable.

DO NOT blame all of your problems on insomnia. Daytime fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, etc. may be caused by stress, of which insomnia is just another symptom.

POOR SLEEP is often a reflection of a physical or psychological imbalance. If you suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or any illness, these may be the underlying cause of your insomnia.

AVOID USING any sleeping medications to help you fall asleep. These only work for a short time, and may eventually make your insomnia worse. There are no pills which "cure" insomnia. If you are already using a prescription medication regularly, you may need to withdraw form them gradually. Do not discontinue any medication without consulting your physician.


NEVER USE ALCOHOL to help you fall asleep. Alcohol can make you drowsy, but the quality of your sleep will be poor and you may find yourself wide awake again once the alcohol wears off.

UNDERSTAND that insomnia in itself is not dangerous. You will not suffer any permanent damage from lack of sleep. Understand too, that your body will get the sleep it needs once you learn to "let go" and stop trying so hard to sleep.

INSOMNIA IS NOT A DISEASE, but rather a symptom of too much stress, lack of exercise, irregular sleep/wake schedules, excitement, fear, depression, or various medical conditions. The underlying cause may not always be apparent to you, in which case a professional counselor may be of help.

Medications may be taken when:

Medication treatment guidelines

Treatment with medications should:

Treating insomnia behaviorally

Fortunately, sleep specialists have devised a variety of approaches for treating insomnia. Behavioral approaches involve actions you can take. Meciation may help you sleep as you try these sleep-friendly practices. Combining behavioral and medical approaches works well for many people.

Behavioral approaches range from limiting the time spent in bed to making a stronger mental connection between bed and sleep. This latter approach is called, stimulus control. Studies suggest tha these two strategies are the most effective behavioral approaches.

Stimulus control focuses on the association between your bed and sleep. Do you find yourself balancing a checkbook or writing a letter in bed? In this way you link bedtime with alerting activities rather than sleeping. The stimulus control approach helps you think more about your bed aas a place for sleeping.

Also, put relaxation back in your bedroom by using your bed only for sleep and sex, getting in bed only when you are tired, and getting out of bed if you don't fall asleep within 15 minutes. Try a relaxing activity.

A sleep specialist may help you use stimulus control and sleep restriction strategies properly.