Why Is Insomnia A Problem
If you have insomnia, you won’t get enough good quality sleep and will be tired during the day. This can lead to poor work performance and an increased risk of car and work accidents. It also makes it harder to concentrate, remember things, make decisions and solve difficult problems.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help your sleep and reduce your risk of being affected by problems caused by insomnia.
If A Sleeping Tablet Is Prescribed
If your doctor prescribes a benzodiazepine or Z drug as a sleeping tablet for you, it will usually be only for a short time . This is to help you get over a particularly bad patch. Sometimes a doctor will advise sleeping tablets to be taken on only two or three nights per week, rather than on every night. This prevents either tolerance to or dependence on the tablet from developing.
Types Of Sleeping Pills
There are different types of sleeping pills, but most of them work by slowing down your brain. This can help you relax and fall asleep. The two main types are:
- Benzodiazepines These medications include drugs such as Valium and Xanax. They work quickly to make you sleepy and have been around for a long time. However, they can be addictive if taken for a long time, and they also carry the risk of overdose.
- Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotics These medications dont have the same risks as benzodiazepines, but they may not work as well for some people. Zopiclone is an example of this type of drug.
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Risks And Side Effects Of Sleeping Pills
All prescription sleeping pills have side effects, which vary depending on the specific drug, the dosage, and how long the drug lasts in your system. Common side effects include prolonged drowsiness the next day, headache, muscle aches, constipation, dry mouth, trouble concentrating, dizziness, unsteadiness, and rebound insomnia.
What Is The Alternative To Sleeping Tablets
Try to work out the reason for your sleeping difficulties. Where possible, correct this.
Your doctor or nurse may give you advice on how to tackle poor sleep naturally. They may also refer you for a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy . CBT is a type of brain-training, which aims to teach your brain how to fall asleep.
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Insomnia
A type of short-term counselling called cognitive behavioural therapy can help you to improve your sleep by teaching you how to manage anxiety and negative thoughts that keep you awake. A special form of CBT that focuses on insomnia, called CBTi, helps you learn how to calm your mind when youre trying to sleep. CBT can be done by your doctor, a sleep therapist or through online CBT programmes. Online programmes include:
Your Primary Care Physician May Or May Not Manage Sleep Issues
The primary care physician is usually considered a generalist who will refer patients with specific medical conditions out to specialist for disease management however, many of these doctors are now managing many medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension themselves without referring to a specialist. This also applies to sleep.
Some physicians will manage the sleep issues of their patients. Some doctors will screen all of their new patients for sleep issues and incorporate sleep assessments into their new patient intake forms . This doctor will ask how your sleeping. Better yet, she may ask your bed partner how youre sleeping. Are you snoring? Gasping for air at night? Do you stop breathing during the night? These are all signs of sleep disorder. This doctor will then order a sleep study . After your sleep study, she will receive the results and contact you to discuss next steps. If you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, this may include ordering CPAP therapy to treat your disease .
With this type of doctor, you wont need to see a specialist. Its worth asking your primary care physicians office staff if he or she manages sleep disorders. If not, you may wish to ask for a referral to a specialist or find one on your own .
Now well talk about which specialists will manage sleep issues.
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They Can Be Habit Forming
For many people, benzodiazepines and Z-drugs can be habit forming. This means that if you take them on a nightly basis, your body can become dependent on them to sleep. It can be very difficult to stop taking them if youve been on them for a while. You can have withdrawal symptoms like vomiting and sweating when you try to go without them. You can help prevent yourself from becoming physically dependent on these medications by taking them only when needed or only for a few weeks at a time.
Because they are habit forming, these medications are considered controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Agency . Controlled substances are medications that have special restrictions on how they are prescribed. For example, you normally have to see a provider in-person before receiving a prescription for a controlled substance. But since these restrictions have been temporarily relaxed during COVID, its now possible to get a prescription for a controlled substance online.
is considered among the strongest OTC sleep aids in the anti-histamine category available on the market.
- Doxylamine succinate 25 mg
When it comes to safety, Doxylamine doesnt require you to increase the dosage every night. It also doesnt cause problems with addictions like many prescription sleep drugs do. This is an effective option is you are looking for a way to overcome a period of bad, interrupted and disrupted sleep.
How You Can Treat Insomnia Yourself
Insomnia usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.
Watching television or using devices such as a smartphone right before going to bed can result in poor sleep. You should also avoid smoking, or drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed.
- go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- relax at least 1 hour before bed for example, take a bath or read a book
- only go to bed when you feel tired
- make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable
- exercise regularly during the day
The following might also contribute towards a bad nights sleep:
- eating a big meal late at night
- exercising at least 4 hours before bed
- napping during the day
- driving when you feel sleepy
- sleep in after a bad night’s sleep stick to your regular sleeping hours instead
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Saying No To Help Patients
Assertiveness is a skill that hasnt come naturally to me. It has been one I have needed to develop over the years. I like to please people, and if I am not keen on prescribing, it really is because I truly believe it is not the right thing to do. I sometimes feel quite stressed by these consultations, often because the patients can be rather cross and displeased. I know my role as the GP is to do the right thing though, not to be liked, but that really takes strength, and some days I dont have it.
Please understand and dont get cross with me I really do have your best interests at heart when I decline your request for sleeping pills.
What Are The Potential Risks Or Complications Of Prescription Sleeping Pills
Some prescription sleep medicines may bring on parasomnia. This disruptive sleep disorder can cause dangerous behaviors while youre still mostly asleep. People who take Z-drugs, in particular, may sleepwalk or eat, take medications, talk or even drive, all while unaware that theyre doing these things. You may appear to be awake, but your brain is not fully alert. Most people dont remember doing these things after they wake up.
Benzodiazepines can be addictive and lead to substance abuse. To lower this risk, healthcare providers only prescribe these sleeping pills for short-term use. Youre more likely to get a prescription for Z-drugs instead.
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Can A Doctor Prescribe Sleep Medication
It is possible for your doctor to prescribe medicine to help you fall asleep and stay asleep in some cases. Sleeping pills can be prescribed to improve your sleep. In addition to eszopiclone , zolpidem , and zaleplon , there are also several others. There are side effects associated with these medicines.
Medications That Help You Fall Asleep
Most insomnia medications are better at helping you fall asleep, rather than helping you stay asleep. As a result, this kind of insomnia having trouble falling asleep is definitely easier to treat with medication. There are several options available, as outlined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
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Classes Of Insomnia Drugs
Over-the-counter drugs for insomnia contain antihistamines. They take advantage of being a side effect. This can help for occasional problems, but they are not for long-term use. Even with prescription sleeping pills, doctors generally only recommend them for a few weeks. However, some prescription options have approval for long-term use.
Classes of prescription insomnia drugs include:
When To See Your Gp
Make an appointment to see your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life particularly if it has been a problem for a month or more and the above measures have not helped.
Your GP may ask you about your sleeping routines, your daily alcohol and caffeine consumption, and your general lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise.
They will also check your medical history for any illness or medication that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Your GP may suggest keeping a sleep diary for a couple of weeks to help them gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns.
Each day, make a note of things such as the time you went to bed and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, and the number of times you woke up during the night.
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Recommended Supplements For Chronic Insomnia
In the guidelines, there are three dietary supplements included melatonin, tryptophan, and valerian. They are not recommended for treating insomnia. However, they can alleviate some of the conditions symptoms. Doctors warn patients to keep in mind that most sleep supplements are not regulated as strictly as drugs. That makes it rather hard to recommend them with certainty.
In most cases, melatonin supplements dont even contain melatonin, while valerian supplements dont contain valerian root. When it comes to tryptophan products, they supposedly contain another substance that stimulates the production of tryptophan. Before buying a sleep supplement, check which ingredients are listed on the label.
If you want to use natural sleep aids, it is best to consume it its natural state. For example, drink valerian tea or eat tryptophan-rich foods.
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Is Insomnia Considered A Mental Illness
Insomnia, on its own, is typically not considered a mental illness. Insomnia may be the symptom of another mental health condition or illness, or may be related to lifestyle-related causes. Consult a doctor to learn more about how insomnia is diagnosed and what insomnia treatment options are available.
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Can A Doctor Prescribe Sleeping Pills
Z drugs are non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills that are used to treat insomnia . Generic names for these drugs begin with the letter Z, which is why they are called Z drugs. Currently, zolpidem and zopiclone are licensed for prescription in the UK.
What Are The Best Brands Of Sleeping Pills
Top 5 Sleeping Pills In 2021: What Is Your Best Choice? Melatrol. Melatrol supports your body by regulating your sleep cycle. Unisom SleepGels. Unisom SleepGels is good for people who are first timers in taking sleeping pills. Alteril. Alteril is mainly made up of natural extracts and substances. Natrol Melatonin. Natrol Melatonin solely relies on melatonin to promote better sleep. Luminite.
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In Our Online Sleep Clinic Our Sleep Doctor Can:
- Treat you from the safety of your own home without increasing your risk of COVID-19.
- Explain your sleep apnea test results to you, review the diagnosis, and recommend treatment.
- Provide prescriptions that require a sleep apnea doctor: our doctor can prescribe CPAP, BiPAP, and ASV machines, CPAP masks, oral appliances for sleep apnea, Inspire, remed® iNAP, Bongo RX, exciteOSA, Somnera, and ULTepap.
- Manage your CPAP machine, analyzing the data and making the necessary changes to ensure that you are fully-treated.
- Treat more advanced sleep breathing problems like central sleep apnea and hypoxemia.
- Treat insomnia online with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and non-controlled sleep medications including the following: trazodone, Vistaril , Silenor, gabapentin, Remeron, and Rozerem.
- Treat restless legs syndrome by prescribing medications such as Mirapex, Requip, Neurontin , Sinemet and Horizant.
- Treat circadian rhythm disorders such as delayed sleep phase disorder, advanced sleep phase disorder, and jet lag.
- Treat diagnosed narcolepsy with WAKIX or Strattera.
- Sign job-related and insurance-related documents related to your sleep disorder.
- Why wait? Book an appointment with our sleep medicine doctor today!
Or let us contact you to give you more information or help you schedule a consultation. We will reach out to you within one business day:
Requirements for an online sleep doctor consultation:
All you need is an Internet connection and one of the following:
What Is A Sleep Specialist Called
Smogenologist is the formal name for a sleep doctor from the root somnus, which means sleep. Founded in 2002, the American Sleep Association provides information about Dr. Sleep. You can find out more about sleep doctors, sleep psychologists, sleep dentists, and other sleep specialists by visiting the ASA Ask the Sleep Doctor Section.
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A Good Night’s Sleep Without The Hangover
The older classes of sleep medications, particularly the benzodiazepines — think Valium and Xanax — do more than just help you sleep. They affect how you sleep, altering your actual “sleep architecture,” says Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Kettering, Ohio.
“They tend to decrease the amount of time spent in certain stages of sleep, particularly stages three and four ,” says Arand, who serves on the boards of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Insomnia Association. “People also complained of hangover effects from these medications.” That’s because they tend to have a longer “half-life,” which is the length of time the drug stays in your body.
- They have a relatively short half-life, so you won’t wake up groggy the next day. “There are minimal reports of ‘hangover‘ effects with these new drugs,” says Arand.
- They are less likely than the older sleeping pills to cause addiction, withdrawal symptoms, or a buildup of tolerance .
When Should A Person Use Sleeping Pills
The best time to take melatonin will depend on the nature of the sleep problem:
- Sleeping pills for insomnia: A person with insomnia should take a sleeping aid, which includes valerian and sedative antihistamines, just before or at bedtime.
- Sleeping pills for jet lag: Melatonin is a good option if tackling jet lag. Take melatonin several hours before the intended bedtime every day throughout the trip and a few days afterward.
- Sleeping pills for shift work: Melatonin may also be the best option for people managing shift work. Taking melatonin at the end of a shift can help prepare the body for bed.
People taking sedating antihistamines should follow the directions on the medication or the advice of a medical professional.
When to take valerian depends on the type a person uses. Generally, people can take valerian an hour before going to bed. People should follow the recommended dosage for supplements.
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Best Prescription Sleep Pills For Insomnia
In some cases, doctors will prescribe medications to treat insomnia. All insomnia medications are taken shortly before bed. It is strongly recommended not to drive after taking prescribed insomnia drugs because the medication makes you feel sleepy. Also, to avoid sleeping pills side effects, you should always take them as your doctor recommended it. For best effect, all prescription drugs should be used in combination with healthy sleep practices.
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How Is Insomnia Diagnosed
Insomnia is diagnosed primarily based on your medical and sleep history. Your doctor may ask you:
- Questions about your sleep habits, including when you go to bed and when you get up
- What medicines you take
- About events or problems in your life that may be upsetting you
- How long youve been having insomnia
- If you have any pain, such as from arthritis
If you have a bed partner, your doctor may ask him or her if you snore while you sleep.
If the cause of your insomnia isnt clear, your doctor may order a blood test. He or she also may ask you to wear a small monitor while you sleep. The information may help your doctor determine the cause of your insomnia.
Your doctor may suggest you keep a sleep diary. For a sleep diary, you record:
- What time you went to bed
- How long you were in bed before falling asleep
- How often you woke up during the night
- What time you got up in the morning
- How well you slept
- The time and length of any naps.
- How you felt during the day
- What you drank
- When you exercised
Take your sleep diary to your next doctors appointment. A sleep diary may help you and your doctor identify patterns and conditions that are affecting your sleep. Your doctor may also do a physical exam. This will help him or her rule out other medical problems that could be causing your insomnia.
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