At Sleeboo we support local efforts in Zürich focused on fighting the dependence on sleeping pills and sedatives. To support this mission we share information provided by Offices for Addiction Prevention in the Canton of Zurich. Read on below to learn how to cope with your sleeping problem without the aid of sleeping pills.
If you are concerned about an addition to sleeping pills or sedatives we strongly encourage you to contact your doctor or Offices for Addiction Prevention here.
How you can help yourself
There are no fool proof remedies for a good night's sleep. But there are some things you can try!
🌅 During the day 🌅
→ A regular rhythm helps the body to regulate the body clock. Therefore: always get up at the same time - even on weekends. Natural light also regulates the sleep-wake rhythm: 30 - 60 minutes outdoors every day is recommended - in winter, a light therapy lamp works well.
→ Exercise every day does the trick. It keeps you awake during the day and improves sleep at night.
→ A nap before 3 p.m. gives you energy. But it shouldn't be too long: set the alarm for 10 to 20 minutes at the most.
→ If stress keeps you from sleeping: Relaxation techniques can help. Apply them during the day. Try to address the cause of stress. To do this, seek out a conversation with a trusted person. Or seek psychological counseling if you feel severely stressed for a long time.
→ Caffeine disturbs sleep. Depending on your disposition, for 8 to 14 hours. Whether coffee, energy drinks, black or green tea, drink little of it and only in the morning. Nicotine also stimulates. Perhaps you can use your sleep problems as an opportunity to quit smoking. And: Medications can also have a sleep-disrupting effect. Ask at the doctor's office or pharmacy if this applies to your medications.
🌆 In the evening 🌆
→ Create a buffer zone between everyday life and sleep. Do something quiet that makes you feel positive. It is not recommended to lie down or doze. Why?It refreshes you and makes it harder to fall asleep. Some people find it helpful to write down positive and negative thoughts.
→ Exercise in the evening keeps many people awake. Observe whether you sleep better if you don't exercise in the evening.
→ Alcohol sometimes helps you fall asleep, but it always interferes with sleeping through the night. Therefore, drink infrequently and refrain from alcohol two hours before going to bed.
→ A full belly does not sleep well. Neither does a full bladder. Therefore, eat something light in the evening. Drink only 1-2 dl after 6 pm. However, do not go to sleep hungry or thirsty.
→ Do not go to bed until you are sleepy.
→ Use the bed only for sleeping. This way, your body "automatically" associates the bed with sleep. Short reading before going to sleep and sex are exceptions to this rule.
🌃 At night 🌃
→ Do not spend more than 8 -9 hours in bed.
→ Set the alarm clock out of sight. Knowing what time it is at night increases stress levels.
→ If you wake up at night: Stay in a relaxed position. If sleep doesn't come: get up and do something soothing. Avoid bright light and the light from screens; it will keep you up. And don't eat. Your body will get used to it and make you wake up at night feeling hunger.
→ Find out what is the best sleeping environment for you. A quiet, cool room between 16 and 18 °C and airing before bed helps many people.
Good to know: Sleep changes over the course of life. As we age, we sleep more superficially and awaken more frequently. So if you don't sleep the same as you used to, there's no need to worry. However, bring it up at your doctor's visit if you suffer from prolonged fatigue.
Understandably, many older people experience lighter sleep as uncomfortable. All of the tips mentioned here will help as you age.
Special mention for the following matters:
→ With retirement, the daily rhythm changes. What improves sleep: getting up at the same time every morning, being active during the day and going outside every day.
→ Older people are more sensitive to prescription sleeping pills. In particular, the risk of falls increases.
If your sleep problems persist for a long time: Seek medical help. Behavioural therapy measures and sleep training are suitable for treating sleep problems. If initial treatments and behavioural changes have no effect, or if you suspect a breathing or movement disorder during sleep: Seek a referral to a specialist in sleep medicine.
Prescription sleeping pills should only be used in exceptional cases
The vast majority of prescription sleeping pills can become addictive after just a few weeks. They are therefore not suitable for the treatment of longer-lasting sleep problems. In the case of highly stressful events (e.g. a death) that massively disrupt sleep, short-term use for a maximum of 2-4 weeks may be helpful as an exception.
The leaflet "Sleeping pills and sedatives. Avoiding dependence" provides in-depth information about prescription sleeping pills. You can download it at suchtpraevention-zh.ch. There you can also obtain additional copies of this information leaflet and find the address of the addiction prevention center in your region.