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How to Help Someone With Insomnia: (Support Guide)

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Insomnia can essentially ruin someone’s life, which can be difficult and frustrating to see in someone close to you.

Unfortunately, while you can often help a bit, your options to support them are fairly limited.

Let’s go through the best things you can do when you want to help someone with insomnia.

Figure Out What’s Causing the Insomnia

There are many potential causes of insomnia, and each cause needs to be treated in its own way.

Before doing anything else, you need to communicate with whoever you’re trying to help and let them know that you understand that they’re having trouble sleeping, how frustrating it is, and that you want to help.

Together, discuss if there’s an obvious cause, like:

  • A new source of stress
  • Having trouble quieting their mind at night
  • A new diet, supplement, or medication
  • Weight gain
  • Pain that causes chronic discomfort
  • The sleeping environment is unsuitable (e.g. too hot or cold, bed is uncomfortable, noisy, bright)

If you genuinely can’t identify anything, the person with insomnia needs to see a doctor, there could be underlying conditions that are causing the sleep issues that need to be addressed.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of people refuse to see a doctor with sleep trouble, because it impacts your health in so many ways.

Are You Contributing to Sleep Problems

Hopefully you’re able to help the person clearly identify the root cause that needs to be tackled.

Most of the time it won’t involve you directly, but sometimes it can. For example:

  • They could have trouble sleeping in the same bed as you
  • They might be anxious or stressed about a fight you had or your future
  • You might be a great baker but keep making unhealthy food (even chocolate can cause sleep problems) that’s impacting their sleep (okay this one isn’t very common)

These are the easiest problems to solve because you can take direct action to correct them.

There are often multiple solutions you can try as well. You can get a new larger bed, turn down the temperature lower, use fewer blankets, or use multiple sheets (to separate skin).

The best way to proceed is to once again communicate with the person you’re trying to help and suggest different solutions to proceed with.

What Else Can You Do To Help Resolve Insomnia At This Point?

What if the insomnia is caused by something that has nothing to do with you?

For example, maybe they’re stressed about something at work or their financial future?

At this point, you’re pretty limited in what you can do to help. In situations like those, you could offer to:

  • Meditate or do yoga with them
  • Offer a spa day or something else relaxing
  • Try to help them plan out their career goals

In most cases, you are once again going to need to communicate with them.

It’s not about what you might think would help, it’s about what they feel will help. Some people will find a spa day relaxing, while others will feel it’s a waste of time and money.

At the end of the day, insomnia is something that most people need to deal with by themselves (and with the help of a doctor). The best thing you can do to help someone with insomnia is simply to help them feel understood and offer to support them in whatever ways you can.


Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.