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What Is the General Approach to Treat Insomnia?

Treatment of chronic insomnia involves a combination of 4 changes.

Understanding your sleep pattern and keeping a sleep diary is the first step in evaluating the reasons for insomnia, which our doctors will then use to guide our treatment protocol. For those who have acute insomnia, identifying the stressor would be helpful in its treatment and understanding how this stressor is affecting the individual. Some sedating medications may be given in the short run to minimise any problems with daily functioning. However, it would be essential to be mindful of how long one is taking these medications to avoid dependency. The treatment of chronic insomnia involves a combination of changes to:

  • One’s sleep practice
  • Optimisation of the sleeping environment
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Medications, if needed

Research has shown that combining these factors is more valuable than simply taking medications with fewer side effects in the long term.[1] As with acute insomnia, identification of the precipitating and perpetuating factors affecting sleep would be necessary as well.

[1] Beaulieu-Bonneau, S., Ivers, H., Guay, B., & Morin, C. M. (2017). Long-term maintenance of therapeutic gains associated with cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia delivered alone or combined with zolpidem. Sleep40(3).

Information provided by:

Dr Keith Hariman headshot

Dr Keith Hariman

Specialist in Psychiatry, OT&P Healthcare

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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