Transitioning Off Sleep Medication: How I Kicked the Habit


"I couldn't actually visualize myself falling asleep without taking something" (1:55)
When Laura, 36, stopped taking sleeping pills, she learned behavioral techniques that help her fall asleep naturally.

The decision to stop taking sleeping pills wasn't easy for Laura, 36. The marketing professional had lived with sleeping problems for as long as she could remember, and full-blown insomnia since her early 30s. She used prescription medication every night for several years, and for a long time was happy with the deep, refreshed sleep it gave her.

But thinking about her future, Laura knew it was time to wean herself off the drugs. She didnt want to worry about chemicals in her body if she decided to have children down the road.

Laura visited a sleep specialist who began cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, focusing on sleep hygiene. (Watch Laura discuss her no-television rule.) To help ease the transition, he also prescribed a lower-strength sleeping pill.

Now shes focusing on practicing better bedtime habits and creating a better sleep environment. (Watch Laura discuss how her bedroom affects her sleep.) Getting to sleep naturally has been challenging, but shes encouraged by her constant progress.

“A year from now, Id love to be able to go to bed because I actually feel sleepy,” she says. “And take a nap; Ive never been sleepy enough to just take a nap. I feel like Im missing out on something really great.”

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