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Insomnia > Working With Your Doctor: Insomnia

When, Where, and How to Find Help for Insomnia

You should seek help if your sleeping difficulties have become a pattern, or if you often feel tired or not well rested during the day and it interferes with your daily life. Many people have brief periods of difficulty sleeping (for example, a few days after starting a new job). But if your sleeping difficulties last longer or have become a regular occurrence, you should ask for help.

What to do if insomnia doesn’t go away on its own

You should seek help if your insomnia has become a regular occurrence. Options may include: healthy sleep habits, relaxation training, sleep restriction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and/or taking medicine. It’s important to take your sleep seriously, so don’t put it off—talk to your doctor about ways to manage your insomnia.

Start by calling your doctor or bringing up the topic of sleep at your next checkup. If your doctor is knowledgeable about sleep disorders, he or she will guide you through the next steps, which may involve an assessment and further sleep testing, or a referral to a sleep specialist. Your doctor may also start by giving you some basic information and resources about healthy sleep habits—these behavioral tips may help certain people with insomnia—or discussing potential medical treatment options to consider.

If you don't feel satisfied after your conversation with your primary care physician, ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine or consult other available resources. It's important to find a doctor who has the proper knowledge and training to treat your insomnia.

Many cities also have sleep centers and clinics (sometimes connected to a hospital) that offer assessments, testing, and treatment. An Internet search will help you locate the nearest center.