How can I fall asleep without using sleeping medication?

This question was asked in Caldwell, New Jersey on 10/02/2012.
I think I have insomnia. How can I get to sleep and stay asleep without taking Ambien?

Doctors Answers (2)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 10/8/2012

Insomnia is defined as being unable to sleep when all conditions are conducive to sleeping plus on the following day there are consequences. In other words, if you only sleep for two hours and feel and function normally for the next 22 hours you don't have insomnia. Most persons sleep without a sleep aide such as the Ambien you have taken. I am assuming that you have no issues which, if corrected, would result in normal sleep. (Pain, anxiety, depression, undesirable environment, for example). This type of insomnia responds to what we call cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy includes biofeedback, imaging and relaxation techniques. CBT often allows a person to phase out sleeping pills. Ambien is one of several FDA approved sleep aides. You are encouraged to stick with FDA approved sleep aides and avoid over the counter agents which often adversely affect sleep architecture and stay in the system too long. A CBT therapist is generally available through a board certified sleep doctor.

Marjorie Yong, M.D.
Answered on: 10/3/2012

Have you been evaluated for your insomnia? That is an excellent question that can be addressed by a full laborary evaluation of your sleep to see what is causing you to have problems with staying asleep. I agree with your intuitive thought that perhaps not taking Ambien is important. Ambien is putting a band-aid on a potentially dangerous problem.