Do you need sleep Meds?

If you receive my newsletter and have followed my blog, you know about my own “pity party” for sleep issues. My husband’s great advice is to “just put your head on the pillow and you fall asleep”. Who knew?

According to the Canadian College of Family Physicians it is estimated that insomnia plagues 5% to 30% of the Canadian population.  It’s a big problem!

On my journey towards better sleep I have tried several sleep meds that I would love to review. I am not a medical person, but I love to pretend. So remember this is just my personal experience.

Amitriptyline

Originally developed to help with depression, long term use can help with chronic pain reduction and it has been rumored to help with restless legs. Another benefit is as a sleep aid. It is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant. It targets and works on the chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced if you suffer from depression.

I give this one a 4.5 out of 5. It almost always works for sleeping. It doesn’t make you feel like a zombie, at least I didn’t. BUT, I had to take a really small dose or else I did not wake up.

Trazadone

Trazodone is usually prescribed as an antidepressant and is part of a group of drugs that are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These groups of pills are usually thought to be safer and to have fewer side effects than other anti-depressants. The magic of this pill is that the side effect is sleep. If you don’t get the side effect that it won’t help you.

Non addictive and reported to have few side effects, this drug comes highly recommended. It is not recommended for occasional use but to use regularly. It is recommended that you take it several times before the drug can have its optimal affect. On a scale of 1 to 5 I give it another 4.5. I liked how I felt on this drug when I tried it. I didn’t have the sleep “hangover” as much. It did however interfere with one of my meds so I stopped taking it.

Zoplacone

Wikipedia told me that Zopiclone is molecularly distinct from benzodiazepine drugs and is classed as a cyclopyrrolone. But, it increases the normal transmission of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid in the central nervous system, influencing benzodiazepine receptors in the same way that benzodiazepine drugs do. Hmm, that sounds worrisome.

Zoplacone is popular with shift workers. It starts to work right away and leaves the body quickly, which is great. I used it and found that the effects lingered and I was groggy driving to work. It also seems to interfere with the memory and that is one place that most people who are sleep deprived want any interference. On a scale of 1 – 5, I give it a 3. It doesn’t always work and the way I felt after was not so great.

I am a big believer that if you need meds you should take them. I am also a big believer that insomnia does not have to be a lifelong sentence and you can get to a point where you don’t need meds. I’m at that point now so I know that it can happen. Don’t give up trying and don’t give up hope.

Sleep is very important to our wellbeing and when we don’t get it we are at risk to becoming unwell medically and emotionally. If you are at a point where you need sleep meds, I hope this mini review has helped.

 

Would love to get your feedback. If you need to reach out, please send me an email at nancy@daracounselling.ca

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