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Taking zopiclone for insomnia. Do sleeping pills reduce the sleeping span?

i am a 69 year old female and have been taking zopiclone for over 2 years with great success for stubborn insomnia . However, I would really like to quit as I am worried about all the reports on how dangerous sleeping pills are and they shorten your life span. The first time I tried I went 60 hours without sleep and am taking them again because I felt horrible by the third day. How long does the rebound insomnia usually last ?? Thank you,
Asked On : Sun, 17 Feb 2013
Answers:  2 Views:  147
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Psychiatrist 's  Response
Hi there, thanks for asking. It is a great step that your chronic insomnia is controlled with zopiclone (for some people it is not controlled with even medication). The next step is to change a little your style of living in order to be able to gradually discontinue the medication. It means you should read thoroughly about sleep hygiene (this is a link from University of Maryland which has mentioned the important point: I am sure that you know about most of them, but it is good to have a review. The next step is to use behavioral methods which are stimulus control and bed restriction (not to stay more than 20 minutes in bed whenever you are awake, in the middle if the night or in the morning). About two third of people find the ability to decrease gradually zopiclone after two to three months of practicing sleep hygiene points and behavioral methods. One third of people need to take advantage of cognitive therapy for insomnia and eventually find the ability to wean off the medication. It could be done by a therapist who knows about CBT for insomnia or even any other psychotherapist. I wish you a good health.
Answered: Sun, 17 Feb 2013
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General & Family Physician Dr. Shoaib Khan's  Response
Hello and welcome to HCM.

The best way to get rid of dependence on sleeping pills is gradual weening. Another technique I adopt with my patients is to mix their prescription of pills with a placebo (a drug totally unrelated to the condition) which would not have any side effects in the individual. Slowly increasing the number of placebo drugs in their bottle of medications, to an extent to which they are taking most of the placebos and finding relief.

I understand this is psychological and will be difficult for you to do on yourself. But, try discussing the same with your doctor.

Or else, gradual weaning is the best option.

I hope I have succeeded in answering your query. Feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications.

Best wishes.
Answered: Sun, 17 Feb 2013
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