Quit taking sleeping pills!

Quit taking sleeping pills!

If you’re currently taking sleeping pills on a regular basis because of insomnia, I really don’t recommend it. Sleeping pills are dangerous. I haven’t taken any sleeping pills in years, and I feel great. I have no side effects I have to deal with on a daily basis. But it’s important for you to get proper medical advice before starting any drug withdrawal program. If you currently take a sleeping pill every night, particularly if it is a benzodiazepine or a Z-drug, then you must speak to your doctor first about giving it up. I may know about the psychology of insomnia, but I have little professional or personal knowledge about the chemical and physical side-effects of withdrawing from your particular drug. Don’t take a risk, get advice.

You should rediscover and rekindle your own natural ability to sleep unaided, and the taking of sleeping pills is in direct opposition to this approach. So it is essential that you are actively taking steps to reduce or stop taking medication in order to avoid sending contradictory and confusing messages to your unconscious.

If you take a prescribed sleeping medication, make an appointment to speak to your doctor about reducing your dosage. Resist any encouragement to trying a different, or a ‘new’ kind of pill unless it is prescribed specifically as part of your withdrawal program. There is, at present, no new type of pill which works in any substantially different way to your current medication. Until a drug is developed which somehow induces real, natural sleep rather than simply doping the patient into a drugged stupor, this will remain true. Similarly, if you are regularly self-medicating using alcohol, you will need to take steps to reduce your consumption with a view to giving up altogether. This does not mean that you can never again touch a drop of alcohol. The rule is that you do not use alcohol in order to help you sleep. This is essential in order to instil the ability to attain natural, delicious sleep, without hangovers or come-downs, which can occur after drinking alcohol or taking medication. If you only occasionally take a sleeping pill, or regularly take over-the-counter medications such as Nytol or Sominex, you can stop taking them immediately.

As your recovery from insomnia progresses, you will quickly reap the benefits of natural sleep. But to start with, there is a good chance that your insomnia will worsen for a time. This is the well-documented ‘rebound insomnia’, which is a common side-effect of giving up sleeping medication. If this happens to you, you have my every sympathy, but do your best to see it through. Sooner or later, you will begin to sleep again. Your first night’s sleep with reduced medication will be a triumph, a success — proof that you are on the road to recovery. Every night that you sleep with reduced medication, or without medication at all, you send a powerful message to your brain; “I am getting better”. So, at some point, when you are no longer taking a nightly sleeping pill, you will need to make a commitment: I will never again rely on sleep medication. Making a commitment like this is a very empowering act. It implies that your insomnia is no longer running the show. You are back in control, of your insomnia and of your life.

At the end of the day, it is really up to you whether you decide to give up your medication or not. This is not a decision which should be taken lightly and must be made with the collaboration of your doctor. However, if you want to be free of dangerous side effects, then you will need to take steps towards giving up the pills. If you are not willing at least to take steps towards reducing the dosage of the pills that you currently take, then your health will be in danger. A combined approach that’s drug-free will give you something far more trustworthy and powerful than any pill. You should strengthen your belief in yourself, rediscovering your own inborn ability to sleep. In my opinion, anything less is unacceptable. Being able to sleep naturally and unaided, waking refreshed in the morning is the dream of every insomniac. This is true recovery from insomnia. Every night you sleep with reduced medication is a step on the road to a longer life span.