Don't take them.
Melinda Beck, in today's Wall Street Journal, suggests hiding car keys, unplugging the phone, preparing for impending disaster. That's if you must take the new-generation of sleeping pills.
She's referring to the NBZs the nonbenzodizepines, especially Zolpidem (Ambien). Ambien knocks most people out like a 2 x 4 at the back of the head. But some people, under the influence, do things they regret.
There are documented cases like this one: A person takes a pill, has a beer, then decides to go out for cigarets, forgetting to open the garage door before backing out the car.
So we might suggest, too, as Ms. Beck does, don't use these drugs with alcohol.
Obviously some people need sleep medications and I'll be the first to suggest a medication evaluation from a medical doctor. When I say, (above) Don't take them, it's really you, initially, who has to determine if you're in the Some People Really Do Need Them category. If you think you are, a medical doctor still has to agree with you.
It's a medical decision, prescribing medicine.
I would still urge you first to try Ms. Beck's alternative advice before you nag your pri-care for a script.
She recommends, on the front page of WSJ's Personal Journal, First try exercise, stress reduction, and avoiding caffeine.
And for sure, get therapy.
As long as we're adding, let's go for it.
Develop an evening wind-down routine. No more eating or drinking after dinner, except for a cup of tea or another hot liquid, maybe soup, but nothing too creamy. Sugar arouses us and everything we eat breaks down into sugars.
Call your mother, father, sister, brother. Or friends.
Undress, bathe. Read. Learn something. Create something. Creating really tires you out.
Watch television, the great soporific, but not too late.
If you go out, don't stay out to late.
Dispatch anything work related to the recycle bin. Oh. Can't do that?
Have sex.* Make love. Discuss love. Embellish the meaning of love.
And if you're still unable to sleep, plan a cat-nap on your coffee break the next day. And skip the coffee altogether, if possible. Maybe, since that may be impossible, unfeasible, a ridiculous suggestion, strategically plan one cup. And eat really light.
You'll make it through the day.
*Sex, as you know from previous posts, (did I post on this?) is the natural tranquilizer.