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This information was reviewed and approved by Sheila Tsai, MD (2/28/2017).

Many people will be able to resolve their insomnia by improving their sleep habits. 

Also, your health care provider can help you find behavioral programs designed to alleviate insomnia or may prescribe one of the several kinds of medications available to treat insomnia. While medications are often very helpful in the short term, they may not work as well in the long term. Some studies have found that behavioral therapy provides longer-lasting relief.


Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy can help reduce the factors that disrupt sleep. It is common to combine several approaches. Learn more.


Relaxation Techniques and Meditation

Relaxation techniques and meditation help reduce any stress that is causing your insomnia or making it worse.

Learn more.



Hypnotic or sedating medicines may be used to treat sleep problems and may be helpful for short-term sleep problems caused by jet lag or acute stress. These medicines may also be prescribed for chronic insomnia if behavioral therapies or other treatments (see below) are not helpful.

Learn more.


Over-the-counter, Herbal, and Home Remedies

Over-the-counter medications for insomnia generally rely on antihistamines to sedate the brain. They may cause grogginess the next day, as well as constipation, confusion and even delirium, especially in older people.

Many people try to treat their insomnia with alcohol. It is true that alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it interferes with sleep later in the night, so drinking alcohol actually makes sleep worse overall.

Several dietary supplements, including kava and valerian root, are said to help sleep, but there is little evidence to support the claims.

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