Sleep – I can’t get no sleep!


Trying to come off sleeping tablets and get to sleep naturally

It may officially be spring (somewhere) but it still seems like winter to me until at least the clocks go back. It is dark and dreary, and I am thinking about hibernation and sleep. This is not a coincidence.

I am coming off sleeping tablets that I have been on for more years than I would like to remember. I went on them after a burglary which set of memories of being burgled a few years before 3 times in 5 weeks. I left that house but as I had bought this house that wasn’t possible. So I ended up at the doctors on sleeping pills. They were great. For the first time in my life I had no problem sleeping. I had always had a problem getting off to sleep. Not so much staying asleep but falling asleep in the first place. Sleeping tablets seemed like the answer. I knew they were addictive, but I had managed to cut down my dose by half so what was the problem?

Every time I went to the doctors they told me I should come off the pills. They didn’t offer any real advice about how to do this apart from to stop taking them and suggesting an NHS leaflet. Not very helpful, especially as I had read so many books and articles about sleep, so after a couple of attempts that left me with nights of no sleep at all I gave up. But the last time I went the doctor was much more insistent as she was afraid that as I got older I would be more likely to fall.

This time I  actually felt I wanted to stop taking these pills. I have been feeling that I don’t really want to put these chemicals into my body unless I really need them. I may have had problems with sleep but before I went on the sleeping tablets I did manage to sleep, so surely I could learn again. I already have strategies in place for those nights I can’t sleep even with pills they involve getting up and having a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate (sometimes with a nip of brandy!)  Then flipping through a magazine, nothing to stimulating, recipes or something like that, or watching reruns of Red Dwarf. These often work and I go back to bed and fall asleep.

I also think that it will be easier as it is still dark in the evenings. Initially I thought that it would be better to wait until spring but after reading a really interesting article on winter and hibernation I realised that this is probably the best time.  There is something quite calming and cosy about lying in bed when it is dark outside, and the rain is lashing upon the window pain. The wind is howling through the trees and rattling anything not pinned down, but you are all warm and cosy in your bed. I have decided to avoid any articles that tell me that not getting at least 8 hours sleep or more is going to kill me. I am going to try and find my own sleep pattern, how long I need and when I need them. What is best to send me off to sleep and what will help me go back to sleep.

This is what I will do to start it off.

  1. I agreed with my doctor to lower my dosage again and try taking them every other night.
  2. Visit a homeopath.
  3. Take a look at the website and leaflet the doctor suggested.
  4. Go to bed at the same time every night. (If possible)

I will let you know how I get on in a later post. Wish me luck!  Judith xx