She freed herself from sleep medications
I respect the urge to take sleep medications.
Still, most people who take them would rather not – perhaps because of their short- and long-term problems, or simply for feeling dependent on them.
And some are upset with themselves that they have trouble sleeping. . . it should be such a simple thing to do.
I wasn’t upset when I couldn’t sleep the other night, though I was frustrated. I was sick with an irritating cough in my throat – poking me what seemed like every few minutes, like an itch demanding my attention.
I managed to rest and kinda-sorta-maybe sleep (the fever helped). But I couldn’t wait until the dosing window was done for the ineffective cough syrup I’d taken, so I could take the heavy-duty stuff. That time, resting just wasn’t enough to get me well.
But too many people feel they need to take medications to turn off for the night. This, despite the fact that they interfere with their body’s sleep brainwave function (whether they notice it or not).
So I was happy last week when my client, Jessica, said she had completely tapered off her lorazepam.
The last step is the hardest
People fear they’ll be stuck in nights of insomnia hell if they don’t take something to help. They manage to taper down, but that last step of being free is often the hardest.
To finally, really stop, Jessica had to trust that she could travel the seven paths to rest, that she could manage her:
- Relationship with sleep
- Relationship with her body
- Isolation and connection to something bigger
- Alignment with who she was in the world
Jessica learned the paths, practiced the tools, and had self-compassion for any bumps as she found her way. I also give her credit for bravery to finally let go of an old habit (it helped that she was on vacation for the last step).
She started her path by tapering.
But first, the first steps
The first step is to get some medical advice. I’m not a medical professional and I’m not advising anyone to stop taking medication that’s been prescribed. However, when you’d like to stop using your sleep medication, make sure you are in conversation with your medical professional about it first.
My best guess is they’ll instruct you to taper slowly (moving to smaller and smaller dosages, including cutting the pills to reduce in increments).
I’ve known people who inadvertently stopped meds in the wrong manner – i.e., too quickly, or without consideration for other medications they were taking – causing serious problems.
Nanoseconds of rest change your nights
When you’re tapering, pay attention to your reactions. Are you automatically vigilant, feeling more tense even before you turn off the lights?
Take a longer, slow exhale. . . or three or four. . . to reset your body and mind. It’s a good time to review and practice Restful Insomnia tools, as they can guide your path to rest and welcome sleep – even if you’re not riled up.
But if you do get piqued, here are some things to try: Name random animals, cars, and/or plants; play a mental puzzle; or tell a story about an imaginary vacation. These keep your conscious mind occupied with non-consequential problems, so your body can rest.
If you happen to become obsessed about the amount of sleep, focus on returning and relishing nano-seconds of rest. That could be by:
- Another few long exhales
- Relaxing a tense part of your body just 5 or 10%
- Putting one hand on your heart and the other on your belly
Whatever helps you for nanoseconds, when you keep returning (to it or another tool), they build into seconds, minutes, and moments of rest, opening the door to natural sleep.
It’s not always easy, and does take some practice. Be gentle with yourself. And remember the first principle: Don’t chase sleep.
Reducing or eliminating meds – it’s the path of many clients
Jessica is not the only client who has reduced and stopped medication. But each time that happens, I get a rush of joy. Joy that I helped someone get free of dependency on medications, to trust themselves and the ability to tap into their renewal at night.
If you’re curious (or know someone who might be curious) whether I can help them as well, just sign up for a free assessment. We can get to know each other, see if it’s a good fit for each of us.
And maybe you, too, can be free of medications at night.
Wishing you light, joy, and rest,
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