Many people around the world are taking sleeping pills to help fight insomnia. The use of sleeping pills has increased considerably since the economic crisis. Americans purchased more than 60 million sleeping pills in 2011 and more than 10% of citizens in the United Kingdom admitted to using them.
Why You Should Come Off of Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills can be effective for treating insomnia in the short-term but they become increasingly less effective as people build up tolerances to them. The developers of most medications feel that sleeping medications define long-term use as 30-60 days. The biggest risk with sleeping pills is that people tend to become dependent on them. They can also cause permanent damage to your internal organs.
Here are a few strategies you can follow to get yourself off of sleeping pills without worsening your insomnia
Speak With Your Doctor
Most people can wean themselves off of sleeping pills and still overcome their insomnia. However, they may have other problems that the sleeping pills were masking.
You should speak with your doctor to see if you have any other problems that may have gone undiagnosed. They may want to prescribe an antidepressant or antianxiety medication for you. You may need to address these emotional problems before you will be able to sleep well.
Try Tapering Off
Most health professionals suggest that you taper yourself off your sleeping pills gradually. This can help you reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
Be Prepared for Temporary Sleeping Problems
Many people suffer from sleeping problems again when they give up sleeping medications. They often revert back to their old sleeping medications when they have trouble sleeping. This only prolongs the dependence and makes it even harder to give up the sleeping medications for good.
Your new sleeping problems can be problematic, but they may not be as devastating if you know to expect them. They usually start to get better after a few days to a few weeks. You may want to consider starting to wean yourself off your sleeping medications on weekends or a vacation. That way the worst will be behind you.
Start Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
You will also be able to make changes to improve your sleep hygiene to minimize the effects. Many people are less likely to make decisions that improve their sleep habits when they use sleeping pills as a crutch.
You may want to consider doing the following:
• Exercise more frequently
• Attend a yoga class
• Eliminate caffeine from your diet
• Change the time you go to sleep and wake up
You may still have some sleeping problems after making these changes, but they will probably be less pronounced.
Making key changes in your life can be difficult. Weaning yourself off sleeping pills can be one of the hardest things you ever do. However, those changes can be worthwhile if they allow you to remove sleeping pills from your life and allow you to improve the quality of your sleep.
About the Author: Kalen is a health and wellness writer.