Everyone knows the benefits of a good night's sleep. But for some, sleep does not come easily. As we get older our normal sleep patterns change. Most people (but not all) find that they wake earlier than they did when younger and get tired earlier in the evening. This can lead to unnecessary concerns, which may result in seeking help to sleep, usually in the form of taking sleeping tablets.
Unfortunately, using sleeping tablets on a long-term basis produces problems, such as dependency, increased risk of falls, confusion and difficulties with driving.
Research has shown that taking sleeping tablets for more than 10 nights in a row can make sleeping difficulties worse.
The following hints may help you get into better sleeping habits.
If you are in the habit of taking sleeping tablets on a regular basis, ask your doctor about ways to help you stop taking them. It may be necessary to stop taking them gradually, taking several weeks to stop completely.
Last Reviewed: 21 May 2002