Insomnia: Medical Treatment

Having problems falling asleep? Can’t stay asleep? Waking up feeling tired? All three of these are signs of insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by the difficulty of sleeping and maintaining a good night of sleep.

Insomnia can temporarily rob you of a good sleep for a few days or it can chronically deprive you of a decent sleep for months or longer. Read on to find out when you should seek medical attention and the different kinds of treatments available to relief your insomnia symptoms.

When should I see a Doctor?

If you can’t get enough sleep during the nights and wake up feeling tired for a month or longer you should visit your doctor to find out what is causing your sleep disorder and how it can be treated. Your doctor may recommend you some self-help measures like changing your daily routine. But if those don’t work and you suspect that your insomnia is caused by another condition such as depression or anxiety, notify your doctor or health care provider. Your doctor may recommend treatments such as behavioral therapies or sleep medications to help you fall asleep with ease and wake up feeling rested.

Behavioral therapies

Behavioral treatments teach you new sleeping behaviors and show you how to make your sleeping environment more comfortable to sleep in. Some studies have even shown behavioral treatments to be more effective in treating insomnia than sleep medications. However, behavioral therapies may be used in combination with medications.


Your doctor may prescribe you with sleeping pills until the stress in your life lessens and you can get the full benefits of behavioral treatments. Some common types of sleep medications prescribed to patients include:

zolpidem (Ambien)

eszopiclone (Lunesta),

zaleplon (Sonata)

ramelteon (Rozerem)

Ramelteon is the newest sleep medication on the market and doesn’t show the same risk of dependency and rebound of insomnia, as since with other medications. However, like the other medications it can cause possible side effects which include: severe allergic reaction, facial swelling and troublesome sleep-related behaviors such as driving while sleeping.

Due the side effects and the possibility of becoming dependent on sleeping pills, doctors often don’t recommend people to use sleep medications for more than a few days. As well as, many sleeping pills may cause discomforts, like feeling of drowsiness during the day and difficult urinating because of chemical diphenhydramine.

Alternative to Sleeping Pills

Melatonin is a common over-the-counter supplement used to treat insomnia. Melatonin is naturally produced by your body and released in your bloodstream in high amounts during the evening to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

People suffering from insomnia may find taking synthetically made melatonin useful to promote sleep during the nights.  Before you take melatonin or any other sleeping supplement like Valerian, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of doing so.

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