Sleep: 5 Tips To Stop Taking Sleeping Pills
Since the health crisis, the consumption of benzodiazepines has not stopped increasing in France. But these drugs are not without side effects, such as memory loss or fatigue during the day. Moreover, treatments that facilitate sleep are only effective for a few weeks, after which our body gets used to them and we have to increase the dose to obtain the same effect. That's why experts say you need to wean yourself off them quickly. To help you through the withdrawal period, here are 5 tips for quitting sleeping pills.
1- Get help
The first of our 5 tips for quitting sleeping pills is to get help from a doctor.
This is because when benzodiazepines are stopped, unpleasant symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty falling asleep or nightmares are likely to occur.
These difficulties appear in particular when one exceeds the maximum recommended duration of intake which is one month for the hypnotic molecules like zolpidem and zopiclone and three months for the anxiolytics.
As with quitting smoking or alcohol, getting help from a doctor increases the chances of success.
If you are not being followed by a psychiatrist or sleep specialist, you may want to talk to your general practitioner.
But, if you are experiencing symptoms such as anxiety or depression, it is recommended that you turn to a psychologist or psychiatrist instead.
In addition, if you want to make this withdrawal in the best conditions, you can also realize a spa treatment in particular at the Thermes de Saujon.
Not only are the thermal treatments relaxing, but they are accompanied by psychological care and physical activities that allow nearly one out of two curists to put an end to sleeping pills for good.
2- Take the time to wean yourself off gradually
The second of our 5 tips for quitting sleeping pills is to not go too fast or too hard.
Indeed, it is not possible to go without these medications overnight, without exposing yourself to a rebound effect, with a worsening of sleep disorders.
To avoid this, withdrawal should be gradual and should preferably begin during a vacation or weekend.
Consult your doctor to establish a step-by-step withdrawal schedule.
The principle is to decrease your doses little by little, by cutting your tablet into pieces. For example, you'll cut it in half the first week, then in quarters to take only a quarter the second week.
Another method is to alternate taking the tablet every other day, then every third day, etc.
But in any case, you have to take your time to get off the drug without too much trouble. Withdrawal can take several months in total.
3- Learn to let go
Probably the hardest part about wanting to stop taking sleeping pills is re-learning how to fall asleep naturally.
Unlike sleep induced by these drugs, falling asleep naturally is not immediate. It takes about 20 minutes to fall asleep.
But to achieve this, you have to manage to let go and stop worrying that you won't sleep.
In short, during the period of withdrawal, you have to accept to spend less good nights, provided of course that they are not sleepless nights!
If you have trouble falling asleep without your pill, one trick to try is to go to bed 30 minutes later than usual, in order to get back to feeling sleepy.
Wait until you are able to fall asleep easily again to gradually return to your usual bedtime schedule.
4- Pamper your lifestyle
Another of our 5 tips for quitting sleeping pills is to adopt a better lifestyle, with more regularity and more physical activity.
In fact, to get back to a natural sleep that is sufficiently restorative, it is advisable to go to bed and get up at a fixed time.
To put all the chances on your side, you also make sure to :
- maintain a temperature below 20°C in the room
- avoid screens (TV, tablet or smartphone) in your bed
- do some physical activity during the day, but always before 6pm.
5- Do not hesitate to use alternative methods
The last of our 5 tips for quitting sleeping pills is to seek help from relaxation methods or alternative medicine.
In particular, with your doctor's approval, you can take herbs known for their hypnotic action, such as valerian and passionflower in the form of herbal tea, tablets or standardized fluid extract.
You can also ask your doctor to prescribe melatonin or use homeopathy, in particular Gelsemium or Ignatia granules.
Other alternative therapies such as hypnosis can help you reduce your stress and make it easier to fall asleep.
Moreover, in case of night wakings, it is good to use relaxation methods such as body scan, cardiac coherence or meditation to fall back asleep more easily.