Sleeping pills are not a long term solution for insomnia. Behavioral changes are often far more effective (and non-addictive).
To illustrate this point, I want to bring your attention to a 1999 study.
In this study, 78 individuals over the age of 55 who had been suffering from chronic insomnia for the past 15 years were divided into four groups.
One group was given a sleeping pill (Restoril aka temazepam - a benzodiazepine), one group was given cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), one group was given a combination of CBT and the sleeping pills and the final group was given a placebo.
After 8 weeks, researchers interviewed the participants and found that those who were given the sleeping pills reported the most dramatic improvements in the first few days of the study.
Those who were treated with CBT reported improvements a few days later.
After two years, researchers got back in touch with the test subjects and asked them about their sleep.
Those who were taking the sleeping pills reported that their insomnia returned as soon as they stopped taking the sleeping pills.
Most of those who underwent CBT reported that they were still enjoying an improved quality of sleep, two years later. 
The author of this research conducted another study in 2004 to determine whether CBT can help insomnia sufferers reduce their dependency on sleeping pills.
76 adults with chronic insomnia who had been taking benzodiazepines for an average of 19 years were split into three groups.
One group was placed on a 10 week benzodiazepine withdrawal program, one group was given supervised withdrawal alongside CBT, and the final group underwent nothing but cognitive behavioral therapy.
85% of the patients who received the medication withdrawal alongside CBT were drug free after 10 weeks. 
So here's the conclusion.
Sleeping pills may work great in the short term. However, they are not a permanent, long term solution. They also come with a number of risks and potentially dangerous side effects.
Behavioral techniques such as CBT have been proven to be more effective than sleeping pills when it comes to improving sleep and curing insomnia.
Access to cognitive behavioral therapy is not as easy as it should be.
However, professional intervention is not always necessary.
The core components of cognitive behavioral therapy include stimulus control, sleep restriction and sleep hygiene - all of which are covered in my free sleep training course.
Last updated: September 11, 2013