Sleeping pill next to bed
Research report
10 January 2018

Choosing Wisely - Insomnia

Sleeping pills aren’t a dream solution for chronic insomnia.

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Neil B.
28 Jul 2018
Something to consider...

I had chronic insomnia after a medical issue. Once the issue was resolved, I still could not get to sleep very easily and could not stay asleep for very long. A good night was 2 or 3 hours.

I tried a variety of things including Cognitive Behavourial Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) and supplements, but nothing was working. In fact, CBT-i made my insomnia much worse.

With my doctor I subsequently discovered I had low serotonin, but I did not have the depression or anxiety that often comes together with low serotonin.

I am now using a variety of non-aggressive methods for increasing my serotonin and sleep has been slowly improving over the last 2 weeks.

If you have chronic insomnia it is worth considering if you do have a physical issue. Insomnia is not always just 'in the mind'. Even if it starts in the mind, it can cause real physical issues such as low serotonin which can be a difficult cycle to break out of.

Kevin M.
05 Feb 2018
have a cuppa (Herbal)

If I can't sleep I get up make a cuppa, maybe watch TV or read a book for 30 mins and bingo, problem solved. It beats sitting in bed for hours whilst your head spins....

Margaret D.
03 Feb 2018
Understanding Insomnia

May I recommend the book 'Why We Sleep' by Prof Matthew Walker? It describes sleep and its astonishing effects but also insomnia and factors that contribute to keeping us awake. Published in late 2017 it is based on the latest discoveries. There are comprehensive reviews and videos online. MMD.

Previous member
22 Jan 2018
re: insomnia. Why haven't you mentioned Melatonin?

Melatonin seems to work for many people.
Particularly in slow release form (Circadin).(via prescription from GP in NZ but OTC in USA), This naturally occurring hormone assists some people to fall asleep without forcing you to stay asleep as sleeping pills do,
often that can make the difference to finding deep sleep.
Some generic - often less reliable products are available too. Kids with ASD often find melatonin helpful it seems.

Previous member
23 Jan 2018
Re: re: insomnia. Why haven't you mentioned Melatonin?

Hi Regan,

Thanks for your feedback. There are different kinds of medications prescribed for insomnia: hypnotic drugs such as zopiclone, sedating antidepressants, sedating antipsychotics, as well as melatonin.

Melatonin is a bodily hormone and can help with secondary insomnia, for example the sleep issues of shift workers. However, there’s not a lot of evidence that melatonin is effective for primary insomnia (beyond the placebo effect). On top of this, scientists believe the hormone does more in the body than simply regulate sleep and the effects of long-term use aren’t well known (https://bpac.org.nz/bpj/2015/august/melatonin.aspx).

Because of this, melatonin is like other types of sleeping pill – experts recommend a patient should try a non-pill approach like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) first. Therefore, adults using melatonin may want to try a course of CBT or discuss this avenue with their doctor. I hope this has helped.

Kind regards,
Olivia - Consumer NZ writer

David H.
03 Mar 2018
Melatonin works for me

Melatonin has been working well for me. Thanks for the link to research. I guess I will have to discuss it with my doctor at some point.

Neil B.
28 Jul 2018
Melatonin didn't work for me

I tried melatonin (Circadin) and whilst initially it helped a little bit (not a lot), subsequently I found it made my insomnia worse because it actively kept me awake due to strange feelings in my sinus area.

Whilst melatonin works for some people, it is possibly better used for realigning circadian rhythm rather than insomnia.