Although sleeping pills can be very helpful in the short term, in that they initially cover up the symptoms of insomnia, they are not a cure for insomnia. Sleeping pills can become a problem when they are used every single night, or on most nights, for a number of months or even years. A few of the main problems which develop are:
Most sleeping tablets reduce slow-wave, or deep sleep. That means, while a sleeping tablet may help you to get some sleep, it will be reducing the amount of sleep thatyou get, and therefore worsening your sleep quality.
Your body develops tolerance towards the drug over time. That means over time you need more of the medication to get the same effect and eventually the medication stops having any beneficial effect at all.
Further, once people try to come off sleeping tablets they experience withdrawal symptoms from the drug, causing them to have even worse sleep on the night without medication. This withdrawal effect is what causes many people to believe that they need the sleeping tablets to sleep well, not aware that their poor sleep without medication is caused by the withdrawal effects of the medication, and not an "unmasking" of their natural insomnia.
Coming Off Sleeping Medication
Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2006;295:2851-2858) has shown that CBT is more effective at treating insomnia than sleeping pills. It is vital that you do not stop taking any sleeping medication without speaking with your GP, and it is especially important to not stop taking any medicines abruptly. Trouble Sleeping offers a consultation process for you, in collaboration with your GP, to take you through the process of stopping taking sleeping medication. Once you are free from medication, any remaining sleeping problems can be addressed either by cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia or in a number of other ways.
Please contact us if you are interested in this service.