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Self-help program

How is insomnia treated?

Self-help program for independent work

Sometimes the way we think or behave is harmful to our health. If this is the case, it is important to recognize these harmful thoughts and behaviors. Once you know what the problem is, you can address it.

Learning to change your thinking patterns and behaviors is central to this self-help program. You will also learn about mindfulness and a range of relaxation techniques.

You can use this self-help program

  • independently
  • while you wait for a referral
  • alongside other therapies
  • to maintain the results of previous therapies

Professional help

Professional help for insomnia mostly consists of psychosocial treatments. Psychosocial treatments are evidence-based and scientifically proven. Examples of interactive psychosocial treatments that are delivered by professionals include psychotherapy and other counselling therapies.

Psychotherapy and other counselling therapies

Psychotherapy and other counseling therapies are mostly based on talking through difficult issues. Exercises that help to identify and modify behaviors that trigger symptoms can also be used.

Short-term counselling therapy is available from, for example, primary health care providers such as nurses and doctors.

You can also find your own psychotherapist if you are able to pay for the costs privately. If you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder that significantly interferes with your work or studies, you may be entitled to rehabilitative psychotherapy sponsored by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA). Some public health care providers also issue service vouchers for short-term counselling with a psychotherapist.


Sleeping pills are often effective in getting you to sleep, but the sleep they deliver tends to be light and non-restorative. Sleeping pills are also often addictive.

Short-term use of sleeping pills can be very helpful in many situations, but sleeping pills can quickly become less effective over time. The use of sleeping pills can therefore also contribute to insomnia.

With this comes a risk that a higher dose of sleeping pills is needed to achieve sleep or prevent early-morning awakenings. The medication can also cause drowsiness and grogginess the following morning. Many long-term users of sleeping pills are looking for a way to come off the medication, as they do not find the sleep that it gives them refreshing or satisfying.

Coming off medication

The first step in coming off sleeping pills is to make a conscious decision to stop. It is also a good idea to talk to a doctor before stopping. Coming off sleeping pills is an easy process for some, but others encounter unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can last a long time. It is nevertheless important to remember that withdrawal symptoms are temporary and will pass eventually.

This concludes the first section of the Self-Help Program for Insomnia. Well done for getting this far!