Reducing Sleep Aids: A Slow and Steady Approach
Insomnia is a common problem among Americans, and many resort to taking sleeping pills to help them fall or stay asleep. However, most patients want to get off their medication but are hesitant to try. If you’re one of these patients, don’t lose hope. There are ways to reduce or get off sleeping pills safely and effectively.
No Single Approach to Reducing Sleep Aids
Sleeping pills come in different types of drugs with varying modes, durations of action, and discontinuation challenges. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reducing or stopping such varied agents. Practical considerations also vary from medication to medication, making it essential to work closely with your doctor to determine a safe rate and method.
Ways to Prepare to Reduce or Get Off Sleeping Pills
Before you start tapering, know what you are medicating. It’s not good to remove a pill if you don’t have suitable treatment for the underlying sleep condition. There are many instances of undiagnosed restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, depression, or other conditions that result in poor sleep. Sleep physicians are excellent at sorting out diagnoses.
Steps to Stop Using or Reduce Sleeping Pills
Here is one way to taper gradually if your doctor approves:
1. Establish step sizes and milestones. Decide whether you want to reduce by one-eighth of a pill at a time or one-fourth or some other fraction.
2. Gradually increase the number of nights per week that you take the milestone dose vs. the full dose.
3. Spread out the lower doses.
4. You can repeat weeks.
5. Once you have reached your first milestone, that dose becomes your new high dose, and an additional step down becomes your new low dose.
6. Slow the taper toward the end.
7. Map out what you are going to take each night on an editable calendar to keep track of where you are and to maintain your resolve.
Remember to go slowly, minimize withdrawal, and develop sleep skills to replace the medication. You should feel in control, and the goal is trust in your ability to weather the hard times. You set the pace.
In conclusion, reducing or getting off sleeping pills is possible with a slow and steady approach. Work closely with your doctor, know what you are medicating, and follow the steps to taper gradually. Don’t give up; there is hope for a good night’s sleep without medication.