How to Treat Insomnia

How to Treat Insomnia

How to Treat Insomnia


People often take sleep for granted, but insomnia is no joke. Although you may experience unsatisfying sleep from time to time, chronic insomnia can be a major disruption to both your physical and mental health. This article will define insomnia, review its potential causes and offer recommendations on how to treat it.


What is Insomnia?


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep or both. People with insomnia may also generally endure poor-quality sleep, or have trouble going back to sleep after waking up one or more times throughout the night. People with insomnia usually experience episodes that come and go.


Insomnia can be divided into two categories: acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).


In most cases, acute insomnia usually lasts from a single night to a couple of weeks. Its most common causes range from stress at work, a traumatic event, or issues with loved ones.


Chronic insomnia affects your sleep for multiple nights a week, usually for months. Its causes are often secondary, meaning they stem from an underlying issue such as a medical condition, medicines you may be taking, substance abuse or other sleep disorders. It can also be a primary problem like long-term stress, continuous travel, emotional upset and irregular work hours.


Primary causes:

  • Stress from several causes: irregular shifts in schedule, job loss or changes, deaths, divorce, or any other impactful life events

  • Surrounding conditions like excessive light, temperature, or noise

  • Changes in sleep schedule due to bad sleep habits, jet lag, shift work schedule, etc. 

  • Insomnia can be a result of genetics.


Secondary causes:

  • Symptoms of medication for depression, high blood pressure, colds, asthma

  • Substance use such as caffeine, tobacco, drugs, or alcohol

  • Mental health issues like anxiety and depression

  • Nighttime pain or discomfort

  • Other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or restless leg(s) syndrome, can cause insomnia

  • PMS and menopause

  • Pregnancy

  • ADHD

  • Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia

  • Hyperthyroidism and other problems associated with the endocrine system


As with any disorder, there are some misconceptions around insomnia. Insomnia is often mistaken with sleep deprivation, which is when you don’t have or give yourself enough time to sleep. On the other hand, people with insomnia experience trouble sleeping even though they have plenty of time for it.There is also a percentage of people who have Short Sleeper Syndrome (SSS). Short sleepers usually sleep less than six hours but habitually function well.


Breaking Down Insomnia


There are two types of insomnia:

  • Primary insomnia: Insomnia that is not associated with an existing medical or psychiatric condition. Primary insomnia is a rarer distinction that excludes psychiatric or environmental causes (like drug abuse).


  • Secondary insomnia: Insomnia caused by an existing health condition like heartburn, asthma, depression, cancer or arthritis. Pain, substance abuse, and symptoms from certain medications can also lead to secondary insomnia.


Other types of insomnia:


  • Sleep-onset insomnia: Difficulty initiating sleep. Most common in younger adults. It is also known as initial insomnia.


  • Sleep-maintenance insomnia: Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. Most common in older adults. It is also known as middle insomnia or middle-of-the-night insomnia.


  • Mixed insomnia: This type of insomnia includes both conditions of sleep-onset insomnia and sleep-maintenance insomnia, meaning having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.


  • Paradoxical insomnia: Previously known as sleep state misperception, paradoxical insomnia causes people to feel awake when asleep. This formof insomnia causes people to feel fewer sleep benefits even if they have been sleeping longer.



People At Risk for Insomnia


Insomnia is a common condition. While it’s more common in older adults and women, studies show that as many as 30% to 50% of people will experience short-term insomnia in their lifetime.


People who experience insomnia may also have one or more of the following:

  • Income related stress
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 
  • Depression 
  • Stressors of daily life, including emotional distress
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • A career that requires constant travel 
  • Irregular or graveyard work shifts


Race can also be a factor. A national survey done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that  43.5% of Black Americans had trouble sleeping, compared with 30.7% of white respondents.

Symptoms of Insomnia:


  • Sleepiness throughout the day
  • Grumpiness or mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with memory, concentration, performance


Insomnia Diagnosis Procedure



The standard procedure may vary, but the doctor will usually perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and sleep habits.


It's common for doctors to have you keep a sleep diary. A sleep diary or sleep journal allows you to keep track of your sleep patterns and log how you feel during the day. 


In some cases, they may ask your sleep partner about your sleeping habits and other occurrences throughout your experiences that may provide insight.  The doctor may have you take tests at a sleep center to monitor your sleeping.


Acute Insomnia Treatment


Acute insomnia (short-term) may not need treatment. Implementing some gradual lifestyle changes may do the trick. Focus on making small, consistent changes in your daily lifestyle––this will not only affect your length and quality of sleep, but it will also leave a positive impact on your overall health.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI)


CBT usually applies to mental health struggles such as anxiety or depression, but they can help you through other problems. A cognitive behavioral therapist for insomnia (or a CBTI practitioner) can help in many aspects of your life. Seeing a CBTI can assist you in implementing better solutions for your insomnia and lasting health. They can use a combination of these techniques, plus more:


  • Cognitive interventions: Stating, evaluating, and restructuring preconceived notions about sleep that are unhelpful or inaccurate.


  • Stimulus Control: Discipline your association with your bed, body, and sleep schedule. That means solely going to bed when sleepy and leaving it when unable to sleep, avoiding naps, and generally restricting bed use to sleep and sex only. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is also a portion of this practice.


  • Sleep Restriction: A practice that goes hand-in-hand with stimulus control. It limits your time in bed and gradually increases further into the procedure.





It may not be a surprise, but exercising is recommended to remedy insomnia. Habitual exercise during the day releases endorphins that energize and wake the individual. The regimen does wonders for your health and tends to improve sleep quality


Exercising directly before bed isn’t generally advised as it provides some energizing properties, but everyone is different.




Many know to abstain from eating heavy foods or large amounts before bedtime. However, what you eat and drink throughout the day also determines your sleep quality.


Certain drinks can affect your ability to sleep as much as what you eat.  Most notably, drinking caffeine or alcohol may impact your sleep. Mid-afternoon coffee or energy drinks can keep you awake, and while alcohol can act as a relaxer, it shouldn't be your sleeping crutch.  Apart from the occasional glass of wine with dinner, try to avoid drinking in the evening if you want a good night’s rest.


While some drinks inhibit sleep, others may have more positive effects. Drinking hot beverages like warm milk or chamomile tea may help calm and relax your body and mind. These types of drinks can not only help you  wind-down, but they’re also satisfying and good for you.


Sleep Habits and Hygiene 



Overcoming insomnia is as simple (or complex) as your sleep hygiene and habits. Though it's easier said than done, adopting a regular schedule will vastly improve your chances of better sleep. Sticking to a consistent bedtime and wake up time each day will help regulate your circadian rhythm (a.k.a. your “body clock”), making it easier for you to naturally fall asleep or wake up at these set times.. That also means no need to nap or sleep in on the weekends!


With more people working from home nowadays, more mistakes happen with remote work. With your bed more easily accessible, it is tempting to do work in bed (or take naps). When your brain associates your bed with work, getting into bed can stimulate your brain even when you stash your work materials away.


Lighter Work and Relaxation


Progressing throughout the day, completing your most challenging tasks earlier should be a priority. When dealing with demanding work or issues, your brain tends to activate. If you perform them before bedtime, your brain remains stimulated longer.


Setting the bedroom mood isn’t a bad idea before sleep. Dim the lights, set the temperature to your liking, and turn down the noise will let you know it's time to sleep soon. If light and consistent noises help you, certain apps or videos play soothing sounds from rainfall to crackling fireplaces. Some apps, like Calm, even have sleep timer capabilities so it doesn't go the whole night.


If complete silence fits your sleep routine better, opting for that route is trickier. Noisy neighbors and thin walls are commonplace for most city folk, but soundproofing your room can muffle outside noises. By adhering soundproof panels or sticking thick towels/rugs under the doors, you may block some of the sound leaking into your room. If all else fails, opt for some comfortable and non-invasive earplugs.





Dimming the lights is crucial to cultivating a calming environment, but it goes further than that. You can close the blinds, wear a sleep mask, and turn off all the lamps, but artificial light makes a difference too.


When it's time for sleep, you should avoid watching TV or using your phone. The full-spectrum light stimulates the brain and makes it tougher to enter dreamland. If it's necessary, some features display warmer colors for night viewing. Night Shift for IOS, Night Mode for Android, and f.lux all use location and time to adjust your device's color temperature. These helpful programs can make a difference in your sleep health while we balance our screen time. 


Seeking Professional Care


Even with the proposed lifestyle changes, chronic insomnia can bypass every solution. If your insomnia has persisted for a long time or it's been affecting your daily life, consider seeing your doctor. They will likely ask you about your sleep patterns/habits and give you a physical. If their advice doesn’t work or they find that you have need additional attention, they may refer you to a sleep center to conduct some tests. At any point in your quest for better sleep, the doctor may recommend alternatives. 


Beware of Pharmaceutical Sleeping Pills


In the event that you need more immediate care with your insomnia, the doctor may prescribe you some sleeping pills. Pharmaceutical sleeping pills are temporary solutions that may help but also sustain long-term risks. There are a variety of sleeping pills, but in most cases have potential side effects.


  • Severe allergic reaction that may result in chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, irregular heartbeat, itching, blurred vision, swelling, nausea or vomiting, etc.
  • Behavioral or mood changes (irritation, memory loss, hallucinations, etc.)
  • Functional and performance issues throughout the day
  • Diarrhea or nausea
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, prolonged drowsiness or headache

Sleeping Pill Dependence



When prescribed for short-term use, sleeping pills have addictive qualities that can affect users long-term. If used longer than instructed, a tolerance builds. It takes a higher dosage to accomplish the same initial effect. Sleeping pill dependence can lead to abuse and increased side effects. 


Sleeping pill addiction can cause vertigo, inability to focus or remember, and impaired motor coordination. Becoming dependent on the medication also increases the likelihood of anxiety around sleep. In some cases, people addicted to sleeping medication combine the pills with alcohol, which is highly dangerous and could lead to death.


Though it may be what your doctor prescribes, the side effects and addictive qualities may prove too high of a risk. Putting in the work to achieve better sleep through natural causes is a much safer and healthier route. 




Sleep is crucial to our well-being. In every instance, living with insomnia can be dangerous for your health. It can disrupt your daily functioning, cloud your judgement, and lead to long-term health illnesses. Life is tumultuous and occupied already – why deal with distractions and burdens?


Considering and exploring your options may sound tedious, but your physical and mental wellness should be a priority. Figuring out the right course of action sounds daunting, but developing better health practices and eliminating sleep issues will pay dividends. 


Trust us. The people at Kleen Supplements have been there. We have put the time and work into our Sleep Aid product, clear of any GMOs and dependency-building ingredients. Our Sleep Aid capsules work well on their own, but combined with good sleep hygiene habits, you’ll be fighting off insomnia at any rate. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.