Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) should be tried before sleeping pills for people with insomnia, according to new U.S. guidelines. Health specialists say the psychological therapy, which helps us consider and change links between how we think and behave, is more effective, with fewer side effects.
The side effects of prescription sleeping pills are much like their benefits. At night, we usually want our brain cells to stop working, and sleeping pills make the brain less active. But, if the sleeping pill is in the blood during the day, it will also make the daytime brain less active and less functional. So, if you might imagine sleeping pills help you to work better, think better, or function better the next day, this is deceptive. With very few exceptions, sleeping pills make your performance worse on the following day, or have no effect on performance. The problem is that no sleeping pill remains in the blood all night, impairing consciousness, and then suddenly evaporates at the moment of awakening.
To take the more natural and effective option ask your GP for a referral to a cognitive behavioural therapist. Alternatively teach yourself some techniques. I recommend: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Teach Yourself by Christine Wilding; and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies by Rhena Branch.