Treating Insomnia

Good sleeping habits are a key part of treatment. If needed, some medications may help you sleep better at first. Making healthy lifestyle changes and learning to relax can improve your sleep. Treating insomnia takes commitment, but trust that your efforts will pay off. Talk to your health care provider before taking any medication.

Senior couple walking briskly on beach, smiling.

Healthy Lifestyle

Your lifestyle affects your health and your sleep. Here are some healthy habits:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

  • Exercise regularly. It may help you reduce stress. Avoid strenuous exercise for two to four hours before bedtime.

  • Avoid or limit naps.

  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

  • Don’t spend too much time in bed trying to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something until you become tired and drowsy.

  • Avoid or limit caffeine and nicotine. They can keep you awake at night. Also avoid alcohol. It may help you fall asleep at first, but your sleep will not be restful.

Before Bedtime

To sleep better every night, try these tips:

  • Have a bedtime routine to let your body and mind know when it’s time to sleep.

  • Going to bed should be relaxing so try to do only relaxing things around bedtime. Sleep will come sooner.

  • If your worries don’t let you sleep, write them down in a diary. Then close it, and go to bed.

  • Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold. If it’s not dark enough, an eye mask can help. If it’s noisy, try using earplugs.

Learn to Relax

Stress, anxiety, and body tension may keep you awake at night. To unwind before bedtime, try reading a book, meditation, or yoga. Also, try the following:

  • Deep breathing. Sit or lie back in a chair. Take a slow, deep breath. Hold it for 5 counts. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Keep doing this until you feel relaxed.

  • Imagery. Think of the last fun trip you took. In your mind, walk through the trip from start to finish. Put as much detail into the memory as you can remember. It will help you relax.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most effective treatment for long-term insomnia. It tries to address the underlying causes of your sleep problems, including your habits and how you think about sleep. 

Individual Therapy

Don Townsend, PhD

Insomnia Program Director

Fairview Sleep Program

  • Fairview Edina Clinic: 952-924-5053

  • Fairview Brooklyn Park Clinic: 763-528-6970

Group Therapy

Dates and times to be announced.

Online Programs

  • (pronounced shut eye). There is a fee for this program. Enter the code “Fairview” if you decide to enroll in this program.

  • (pronounced sleep ee oh). There is a fee for this program. Enter the code “Fairview” if you decide to enroll in this program.

Suggested Resources

Insomnia Treatment Books:

  • Overcoming Insomnia by Jack D. Edinger and Colleen E. Carney (2008)

  • No More Sleepless Nights by Peter Hauri and Shirley Linde (1996)

  • Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs (2009)

  • The Insomnia Workbook by Stephanie Silberman and Charles Morin (2009)

  • The Insomnia Answer by Paul Glovinsky and Art Spielman (2006)

Stress Management and Relaxation Books:

  • The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay (2008)

  • Stress Management Workbook: Techniques and Self-Assessment Procedures by Sandy E. Gramling and Stephen M. Auerbach (1997)

  • A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010)

  • The Complete Stress Management Workbook by Tom Whiteman, Samuel Verghese and Randy Petersen (1996)

  • Assert Yourself by Merna Dee Galassi and John P. Galassi (1977)

Relaxation Resources for Computer Download

These websites offer resources to help you relax. This list is for information only. Fairview is not responsible for the quality of services or the actions of any person or organization

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR):

Deep Breathing Exercises:


Guided Imagery:

Counseling / Behavioral Health

Fairview Behavioral Health Services

Visit or call 612-672-2736 to find a clinic close to you. 

This is not a prescription and these resources are optional. You must pay for any costs when using these resources. Please ask your insurance carrier if you can be reimbursed for these resources. If so, you are responsible for sending the needed details to your insurance carrier. These resources may also be tax deductible as medical expenses. Check with your tax preparer.

These programs and publications are not affiliated in any way with Fairview.

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© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions. This information has been modified by your health care provider with permission from the publisher.