Current treatments for Insomnia and their pros and cons





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Cognitive and behavioral

a) Cognitive behavioral therapy
for insomnia (CBT-I)
A talking therapy specially designed for people with

Doesn’t involve with
pharmaceutical drugs so that the risk of side effects is eliminated.
Simple techniques, such as
relaxation training to improve sleep

Several weeks of treatments are required
Availability is fairly limited
Recommended only for those who are having sleep issues for
less than 3 weeks

Pharmaceutical Medications

b) OTC sleeping tablets
Over the counter sleeping tablets which are available at

Available without prescription
May be useful if used very occasionally

Not recommended as a long term solution
Effectiveness is limited
Underlying cause is not tackled but only masked the
Side effects such as drowsiness can be occurred and
continued to the following day

c) Benzodiazepines

A short-term based treatment for insomnia
Symptoms of severe or persistent
of insomnia can be eased

Not recommended as a long term solution
Can become less effective overtime
Can lead to dependency
Wide range of side effects such as drowsiness, difficulty
concentrating and feeling emotionally numb

d) Z- drugs

A short-term based treatment
Helpful for time-limited problems (i.e. sudden shocks or

Clumsiness, drowsiness that continues to the following
day, confusion in the night and diarrhoea can occur
Can lead to dependency and increased risk of falls in the

e) Melatonin (Circadin)

Effective for elderly people
Can be used for up to 13 weeks at
a time

Available only on prescription
Only licensed for those who are
more than 55 years old
Side effects such as headaches,
cold like symptoms, back and joint pain can occur