What should I do if I cannot sleep even with sleep medication?

This question was asked in Evansville, Indiana on 01/04/2013.
I'm a 46 year old woman who has insomnia and who cannot go to sleep without prescription medications that I have built up a tolerance for. I was taking Zanax and ambien but became very tolerant to those medications very quickly. Is there any therapy for this problem?

Doctors Answers (3)

Jana P. Kaimal, MD, FCCP
Answered on: 1/11/2013

There are some behavioral changes that can be made in an effort to help. It is best to contact our office to schedule an appointment with our board certified sleep specialist. A full evaluation can help us determine the root of the problem.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 1/11/2013

Patients generally do not become tolerant to Ambien but it does happen. What we usually do, in this instance, is alternate Ambien with another sleep aide. Take Ambien for a few nights and another sleep aide a few nights. Xanax is used to treat anxiety; it is not a sleeping pill. Anxiety can, of course, cause or aggravate insomnia. Tolerance is an issue with Xanax. There are ways other than medication to treat insomnia. These would include a review of sleep "hygiene" rules and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which includes such techniques as imaging, biofeedback and relaxation.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 1/7/2013 5

Thank you for your question. It is easy over time to build a tolerance to these medications and that is very frustrating. Depending on your situation, there are long term medications for Insomnia. The most important first step is for you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gibson. During that appointment, you and he would discuss and try to identify if Insomnia is the original problem or secondary to another sleep disorder. At that point, you and he would discuss a treatment plan and the best way to obtain your goal. WHICH is to sleep. Dr. Gibson is experienced and Board Certified in Sleep. Please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gibson.