What should I do if I have to take more sleep medication to fall asleep?

This question was asked in Atmautluak, Alaska on 12/12/2012.
I've had sleeplessness since my daughter suddenly died in 2003. First I turned to alcohol but then later changed to sleeping pills. and now I have to have at least 6 to sleep. What should I do?

Doctors Answers (3)

Jana P. Kaimal, MD, FCCP
Answered on: 12/20/2012

It is best to come in an speak with our board certified sleep specialist. There are many solutions out there besides sleeping pills.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 12/17/2012

You have made a significant improvement by substituting sleeping pills for alcohol to induce sleep. It is normal to experience sleeplessness following an event such as the death of your daughter. It is also best that this insomnia be treated rather than being ignored. FDA approved sleeping pills are those which have been studied in clinical trials for safety. They are designed to be out of your system by the next morning (although some persons metabolize medications more slowly than others). Over the counter agents often leave you with a hangover and adversely affect sleep stages. Combining sleeping pills with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may allow for the eventual discontinuation of the sleeping pills. CBT is a combination of relaxation and imaging techniques and biofeedback. Therapists are trained in CBT.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 12/13/2012

I cannot imagine what it would be like to loose a daughter. I am so sorry of your loss. Grieving is a long process and grief/depression can cause insomnia. I would make an appointment with your primary care doctor OR find someone you can talk to in an attempt to find the root cause of your insomnia- a sleep doctor or psychiatrist.. It may be that a sedating antidepressant would help.