Does sleep medication work?

I take 150mg of Amitryptiline every night and this helps prevent me from awaking during the night and gives me eight hours sleep. If I do not take it I can lose up to three hours sleep. It may be that I convince myself that I will lose sleep if I do not take it but I believe that it works for myself?.

Posted 10 Mar 2011 at 4:19 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    My doctor said no about CBT so I went over them and asked work to refer me, who are now funding me to have 6 sessions of CBT. Might be worth asking as I've learnt the waiting list for CBT is 16 months on the NHS!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi wildape and welcome. My sleep pattern before sleepio was similar to yours – lots of wakings and unable to get back off, active days and never taking naps. Have you found any improvement since doing the course? Graduating is not the finish – keep going, things should continue to improve if you do. Try and experiment with the different tools. It might also be worth moving your sleep window to see if that makes a difference. One thing I've found is that if I get lax and let myself doze in the mornings it increases the sleeplessness during the night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    When my insomnia started becoming more entrenched, my GP would put me on short courses of zopiclone or temazepam, and tell me not to take them every night. The effect was catastrophic; I simply slept every second night, since I was trying to keep the GP's advice.

    For me the zopiclone worked, but it very swiftly created dependence. Of course there is a chemical component to it, but personally I feel that the psychological dependence is a huge problem, since you convince yourself that you can't sleep without pills.

    I have long suspected that the drugs have a placebo effect; because you no longer try to sleep and trust in the drug to do it for you, this in itself also helps send you off. If you could somehow recreate that sense of trust that sleep will happen, and stop 'pushing' it, then you might not need the drugs so much.

    A few people have mentioned melatonin. This isn't a “light” version of the sleeping pills. It is a hormone, with the potential, as andymoir has pointed out, for serious side effects. Personally I took it for a few weeks and found that it gave me horrible nightmares, made me very depressed in ways I could not recognise in myself, while conferring little improvement on falling asleep. My mood improved as soon as I stopped it.

    @mysticalfairy: I am not sure where you are based but, here in London, It was, eventually, possible for me to get CBT-for-insomnia treatment through my GP, though it was tricky. Since my GP's knowledge about insomnia did not extend beyond sleeping pills, I had to read up on alternatives myself, discover CBT-I, unearth the only NHS insomnia clinic in London that provides this (at the Royal Hospital for Integrated Medicine), and ask for a referral. (I was initially referred to other hospitals, only to discover that they only deal with things like apnea, RLS etc. and not chronic insomnia.)

    Even once that was arranged, I had to wait, and push, for several months, for a place on Dr Hugh Selsick's CBT-I group. Dr Hugh Selsick is an extremely knowledgeable man, and the syllabus in his group is very similar to sleepio's.

    As a final word, I have found that it's important to look specifically for CBT-for-insomnia, and not general CBT, as that could just mean a bunch of general counselling sessions with no relation to insomnia.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I found out about CBT from a colleague at work after I had a break down before one of my lessons. She said her husband had been for some and found it useful.
    My doctors is in North Derbyshire and when I went to ask about this I was told and I quote “there's no point sending you to someone who is capable of CBT because all they can do like us is give you medication”. I was so appalled at them that I just went over them and asked work instead. I don't think there's enough education amongst doctors about Insomnia and sleep issue. I've a friend who had sleep apnea 20 years before it was finally diagnosed! I plan to take some leaflets etc into my GP so they have that resource there for other people.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi and sorry to hear your GP was so negative about CBT , obviously you need a CBT course that is tailored around whtever your specific problem is, I had CBT for depression some time ago and for me it worked 100%, I have never heard of a councillor prescribing medication.

    You are right most Doctors dont know enough about Insomnia and sleep issues, as far as they are concerned they would rather give you sleeping tablets than get to the root cause, I too have sleep apnea and was seeing my GP for ages re; snoring and all I got was shrugging of the shoulders, it wasnt until I spoke to a new doctor was I given a referral for a sleep clinic where I was diagnosed with acute OSA.

    Thank god we have our own sleep experts and the CBT course on here, its about time insomnia was a recognised ilness….good luck Andy

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello, new to this program, on my fist week. i take a very low dosage of Trazadone to help me fall asleep, but does not keep me asleep. If I don't take I will wake up 3 times average per night. Should I try to get off (with Dr. ok) for working this program? I am willing. Right now I am doing my first week diary sleep, but I am taking the Trazadone, so my baseline will be based on the use of Trazadone. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi terrico. I started the course on Zopiclone and I'm still on a very low dose. It was
    Puzzling me at first but I eventually learned from the Community that I needed to go through the programme and develop the techniques and tools before tackiling the pills. Having graduated I feel ready to do that now-very slowly.

    You could look at the thread called “coming of sleeping pills” for more answers on this topic.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Terico -sorry. Should have said thread is “sleeping pill dependence – how to wean off”. Listed with older topics.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Thank you for your response. Best wishes to you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi I am just starting out with sleepio. I sometimes take an imovane if i can't get to sleep. Must I stop taking it now that I am starting my first week?

    Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Arni, No, I don't believe you need to change any medications when starting Sleepio (although, when filling out your Sleep Diary, it might be helpful to add a “tag” of nights you take Imovane). I think it would be best to consult with your doctor about weaning off of any sort of medication. The idea is that Sleepio will give you tools that will help you to perhaps not need sleep medications for the long term. Good luck!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Arnie. Have a look at the discussion thread “sleeping pill dependence- how to wean of…” It's most helpful..
    Good luck with Sleepio. You can always get help and encouragement here.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Renee. So sorry to hear of your problem with zopiclone but I can offer you lots of ecouragement. I don't know the difference between addiction and dependence but I know the effect is the same!
    I had insomnia for 4 years and ended up on zopiclone 3.5mg. I found that half of one was enough to drop me off to sleep but nevertheless, I became totally dependent on that very small dose.
    Itook the advice of Sleepio members and completed the 6 week programme whilst still taking my pills. Only when I had ALL the tools and techniques under my belt (or rather in my head

  • Sleepio Member

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    Rennee, so sorry,
    Post continues…
    (In my head), did I start to reduce my pills. I think you have absolutely the right approach to coming off. But i would wait until you have completed the programme.
    And only then very slowly, slowly star to reduce them. Be in no hurry. don't cut further until you are used to your current level. That way it almost imperceptible.
    You will have established good habits, have strong techniques and tools, hopefully have confidence and a positive outlook and learned a lot about sleep.
    I see you live in a very isolated community. Well from now on as far as your sleep is concerned, you are now part of a very supportive community, always ready to listen and reply to you.
    Let us know what you decide to do about when to stArt your pill reduction.
    Can I recommend to you a book by Nerina Ramlakhan, Tired but Wired. Very helpful alongside Sleepio and well regarded here.
    Good luck

  • Sleepio Member

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    It sounds like those pills really are addictive. I can't believe my neurologist told me that this is so just in “very rare and extreme cases”. And that those pills in general work very well.

    I am very sorry Rennee, that you have to go through withdrawal. All the best with it, I am sure you can do it!

    I took Noctamid a long time ago only once and it didn't make me sleep. I could hardly believe it – this is supposed to totally knock me out, no? I had never taken anything like it before. My neurologist subscribed Zolpidem which I understand works on the same receptors. I took it last night. It's supposed to kick in after 15mins – not in my case. I fell asleep after an hour or so, but awoke after another 2.5 hours. Today I feel totally numb in my brain, can't think and my short term memory is seriously disturbed.

    This was supposed to be an emergency remedy when I can't bear staying awake any longer. I am really disappointed. I'd really like to have some kind of drug to take once in a while when I can't take it any more – something that just makes me sleep some hours and doesn't mess up my brain.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 4

    I don't take any sleep medication, but the medication I do take for Fibromyalgia obviously has some effect on my sleep. The problem is I'm constantly tired all the time and I just need some refreshing sleep. I also think I may have sleep apnoea as I stop breathing regularly during the night and I wear a teeth guard because I clench and grind my teeth. :(

  • Sleepio Member

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    where do I find that topic…sleeping pills how to wean off?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Wonder Woman,
    You can look at “using medications while doing the Sleepio course” on the discussions page. Also checkout “Sleep aids” in the Library. You might find some helpful info in both those places.
    Angie

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Wonder Woman. Just put “sleeping pills” in the Sleepio search box and you will get there. It's a good source of informative discussions on the topic. Don't forget to look at older posts as well.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am new to this. About Do Sleep Aids Work, the answer based on my experience is yes and no. These aids are all over the map and some times they work and other times they don't. Most of us have tried a variety of meds, some Rx, some not. It's indeed scary to me that we are the experiment, since no person has the same problem nor does he or she react the same way to the med. In my case, I am trying a non Rx med at the same time I have just started this program. I can see this is not going to be resolved in just six weeks. I am going to stay committed to the program and have the support of my doctor. It does amaze me how many of us there are and how detailed are the comments that I see. That tells me that people spend time doing this because they find it helpful.

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