, and guided imagery . Many people listen to audio recordings to guide them in learning these techniques. They can work to help you fall asleep and also return to sleep in the middle of the night.
Stimulus control helps to build an association between the bedroom and sleep by limiting the type of activities allowed in the bedroom. An example of stimulus control is going to bed only when you are sleepy, and getting out of bed if you've been awake for 20 minutes or more. This helps to break an unhealthy association between the bedroom and wakefulness. Sleep restriction involves a strict schedule of bedtimes and wake times and limits time in bed to only when a person is sleeping.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) includes behavioral changes (such as keeping a regular bedtime and wake up time, getting out of bed after being awake for 20 minutes or so, and eliminating afternoon naps) but it adds a cognitive or "thinking" component. CBT works to challenge unhealthy beliefs and fears around sleep and teach rational, positive thinking. There is a good amount of research supporting the use of CBT for insomnia. For example, in one study, patients with insomnia attended one CBT session via the internet per week for 6 weeks. After the treatment, these people had improved sleep quality.
Determining which medication may be right for you depends on your insomnia symptoms and many different health factors. This is why it's important to consult with a doctor before taking a sleep aid.
Major classes of prescription insomnia medications include benzodiazepine hypnotics, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptor agonists.
There are alternative medicines that may help certain people sleep. It's important to know that these products are not required to pass through the same safety tests as medications, so their side effects and effectiveness are not as well understood.