Insomnia Treatment: Sleep Aids and Stimulants

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Insomnia Pictures: 10 Tips to Avoid Insomnia

Quick GuideInsomnia Pictures Slideshow: 20 Tips for Better Sleep

Insomnia Pictures Slideshow: 20 Tips for Better Sleep

What are natural treatments for insomnia?

There are several ways insomnia may be treated without use of medication. These include behavioral modification and use of natural herbal remedies.

When a person consults a doctor about insomnia, they may be asked to keep a sleep log for several weeks to monitor sleep habits. The treatment options for short-term or chronic insomnia include not only medications, but often sleep habit and behavioral modifications for optimal long-term results.

Evaluating sleep habits is important in the management of insomnia. Treatment of underlying sleep disorders and in some instances, changing sleep habits may correct the problem without the need for medications. Good sleep habits (also referred to as good sleep hygiene) should include:

  • Regular sleep times
  • A comfortable bed and quiet room at a comfortable, temperature
  • A darkened room
  • Regular exercise, but not close to bedtime or late in the evening
  • A bedroom that is not used for work, watching television, or other activities not related to sleep other than sex
  • Avoid of stimulants (for example, caffeine, or tobacco), alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime (avoid 2-4 hours before bedtime if possible)
  • Many people watch television before falling asleep. TV can be a very stimulating medium and needs to be closely evaluated if it adds to a person's insomnia.
  • Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga
  • No naps during the day
  • Try drinking warm milk before bed. It is high in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps induce sleep.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2015
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