Insomnia: Non-medication treatment strategies

In this 2-minute video, Dr. Tricia Woo talks about non-medication strategies to treat insomnia.


What's the bottom line?

There are several things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, including:  

  • Have a sleep schedule that includes going to bed at a set time each evening.
  • Create a soothing environment that is quiet, dark and relatively cool.
  • Exercise during the day. Exercise, or excessive exercise, late in the evening can be counterproductive.
  • Get adequate amounts of sunshine to help regulate your sleep cycle.
  • Check your medications to look for side effects. Some may be stimulating, and other medications, such as diuretics, may cause you to wake up to use the bathroom during the night.
  • Consider cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (iCBT) if you have ongoing issues.

Learn more about insomnia, including what health conditions are associated with sleep problems and what medication strategies are effective in improving sleep, by watching the full-length video.

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This work was supported through the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and funds provided by the Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.