Getting off sleep medication is tricky; once you believe you need to take it, it is hard to convince your brain otherwise.
A good start to giving up the pills is figuring out why you thought you needed the medication to begin with and making sure all other possible causes of sleep problems you can address have been taken care of.
Practice good sleep hygiene, stop taking any other unnecessary medications, and send the pets to their own beds. Hit the hay sometime between 10 and 11:30 p.m., which is the average turn-in time for most people.
Read a relaxing book and then give yourself 30 minutes to fall asleep. Try to avoid stressful, restless thoughts, such as without the sleeping pill you won’t be able to sleep.
Start experimenting without sleeping pills on weekends when you don’t have to get up early or be sharp for work.
Over a period of three to five days, most people will get a minimum of five to six hours of sleep a night and realize the medication was not really helping them that much.
At that point you are free. You no longer depend on the sleeping pill.
People who don’t have trouble falling asleep but wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts can try taking something to relax.
Keeping a sedative like Valium or Ativan on the night table and taking it when they awaken will help improve continuity of sleep, but this should not become a regular practice.
If you would rather a drug-free alternative, take magnesium and L-theanine before bedtime and make sure your hormones are well-balanced.
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