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Question
Posted by: Zombie | 2004/01/16

Sleeping Plills - Can one develope tolerance?

Hi CyberShrink
Me again, sorry.
Thank you for the helpful and educational reply to my query on sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
Last night I took 1 x 10mg Stilnox at 8pm, fell asleep at 12 mid-night and awoke at 01:30am (triggered by an itching mosquito bite) and henceforth slept restlessly and finally got out of bed (on the wrong side, as usual) feeling unrested at 06:00am.
Is it possible that I may be developing a sort of immunity to Stilnox that is rendering the drug being less effective?
If so, what now?
Zeena has 30 per month and sounds content – lucky gal.
Thanks again for your time, Doc.
(Oh, I thought your “Dunno” reply to ol’ Lefty was hilarious. Thanks for the occasional laugh – it really proves to be a great catalyst for the Aropax).

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Zombie,
Dunno. Aw, well, maybe I do. One can get tolerance to most sedative substances ( alcoholis a superb example of that) --- so that one looks for a higher dose to get the same effect as before. But this ought to be less so with a milder and short-acting drug like Stilnox. I wonder ( check my prevous dealings with this topic in the Archive ) whether you are doing everything possible on the other non-chemical aspects of sleep, which some folks call "Sleep Hygiene" ( which to me sounds too much like what the Schol Nurse might talk about ) --- e.g. taking care to run down one's engines towards sleeping time, avoiding stimulating movies, conversation, arguments ; exercising earlier in the day but not within 4 hours or so of one's sleep time. Avoiding chemical stimulants. Reading a great dull book ( heavy Russian novelists convince me they never needed Stilnox ) ; and keeping the bed just for sleep --- if you haven't fallen asleep in 10 minutes, get up, sit in the lounge, have a warm milky drink ( which provides some sleep-useful chemicals ) , and return to bed when you feel drowsy.
Take lessons from a cat ( they're champion sleepers ). And when all else fails, maybe try the paradoxical method --- go to bed and try very hard to stay absolutely awake. If you notice you're feeling a bit drowsy and tired, try harder to stay awake. And when the urge to sleep gets overwhelming, give up, and let it overwhelm you.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Zeena | 2004/01/16

May the career insomniac add a word here? Dear Zombie, I do get used to Stilnox! I find, for example, that if I am upset when going to bed -- for whatever reason -- I could just as well take a sugar pill. Then Stilnox has no effect. What the Doc said is right -- you MUST try and wind down for the few hours before bed. Avoid arguments, heavy food, violent TV, upsetting phone calls. A hot bath in which you lie back and let your muscles relax, helps. And yes, a book that is enjoyable but will not cause too much excitement, helps. Try those books about people moving to another country and their hilarious battles with other ways of life, like "A Year in Provence" (Peter Mayle) or "Under the Tuscan Sun" (Frances Mayes) or one of the Bill Bryson travel books.

I also try not to take Stilnox every night. I am extremely worried about all the pills I swallow in order to get some sleep. I take tranquillisers (which yes, you get used to, too!) and sometimes I take a Syndol instead of Stilnox. And STILL I have sleepless nights, or nights of broken sleep and bad dreams. (Sometimes the bad dreams are the worst, and I wake up with palpitations).

I would flush all pills down the toilet tomorrow if I could find out how, like when I was young, I could get a night's normal sleep. It is a blessing to be able to sleep without pills. My husband puts his head down on the pillow and apart from going to the bathroom half asleep, sleeps easily and deeply and rarely even snores!

No, I am not happy with my 30 Stilnox, but will not ask for more. I already feel like a junkie. Try camomile tea before bed. Try taking Naturelle's Passion Flower insomnia and anxiety tablets as well. I don't care whether it's perhaps not "clean", as the Shrink has explained -- all I know is, it seems to work. <Deep sigh>.

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