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Sleep Medications

Tips for a better night’s sleep without relying on medication.

It is not uncommon to experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Medications may be helpful in the short run, but relying on them to sleep every night is not a good practice. You can become tolerant or even addicted. Dangerous side effects can include dizziness, forgetfulness, and loss of balance.

Did you know that many sleep medications—including Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), Restoril (temazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam)—are not approved by the FDA for long-term use?

Recommendations for better sleep hygiene:

  • Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. If you like a warm drink in the evening, try chamomile tea.
  • Refrain from smoking. If you can’t manage to quit, limit your late night smokes. Nicotine is a stimulant!
  • Enjoy a modest evening meal. Too much alcohol and overeating will harm the quality of your sleep. Lay off the late night liquids, too, unless you enjoy stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Exercise? Great! Do it earlier in the day so your body has time to rev down.
  • Get outside. Exposure to sunlight helps stimulate your natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes and do not nap after 3 p.m.
  • Is your old mattress letting you down? Consider a new one that offers better support.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. No eating or watching TV in bed!
  • Go to bed and arise at around the same time every day.
  • Some people find that lavender aromatherapy helps them relax.
  • Chill out to some soft, recorded nature sounds such as the patter of rain, ocean waves, or a babbling brook.

Talk It Over

If you are experiencing sleep difficulties, speak with your doctor about it. There may be a medical reason for your sleeplessness that can be addressed. Don’t just assume that more sleep medication is the way to go.

The CDPHP Care Team provides you with specially trained professionals who can give you information on a variety of health issues, help you monitor your health needs and work more closely with your doctor. Call toll-free 1-800-365-4180.