Before opting for treatment, your GP will first attempt to identify any underlying health issue that might be causing the insomnia, such as anxiety. They may also reiterate the self-help tips outlined above ( Is there anything I can do about my insomnia? ).
In some cases, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be suggested. This type of therapy involves talking to a qualified therapist who will attempt to help you avoid the thoughts and behaviours that are affecting your sleep. This is normally the first line of recommended treatment, which, if successful, can lead to long-term improvement.
Prescription medicines are typically only used as a last resort. This is because they fail to treat the underlying cause of the insomnia. They also carry the risk of several unwanted side-effects, and with repeated use they can often become less effective. If sleeping tablets are prescribed, they should only be used for short spells of a few days or weeks at a time. Examples of prescription sleeping tablets include:
- Zopiclone (Zimovane)
- Zolpidem (Stilnoct)