Best sleeping tablets to replace Zopicione !!

Due to my anxiety , stress recently.... resulting in me not been able to sleep which I don't mind to much, but lying there having turns and increasing the anxiety and stress and things run round my head in the middle of the night, my GP prescribed Zopicione...yes they are working and having better sleep than I have had in years...I am aware of the addictive aspects so want to get off them asap...talked to the GP and prescribed Amitriptyline ... which looking up is an anti-depressant which I don't want to take.... is there anything else I can take to help me sleep... don't really want to go on the meds the GP is prescribing, especially as I am trying to sort out other issue with Thyroid / Adrenals and they don't have a clue or listen to what they are being told. Thanks :-)

46 Replies

  • Hi Yvette65,

    He has suggested Amitriptyline because it can have a sedative effect on some people, I take it for migraines and they don't make me sleepy, what dose of Zoplicone are you on ? If on 7mg try halving them for a while then into quarters, I'm only on 3.7mg and even quartering them helps me sleep now, good luck 🐶

  • Hi Mydogdaisy1, thanks for the reply, currently on 7.5 mg .... looking to reduce to 3.75 mg and give that a try... but want to come off them.... but looking for something better than taking Amitriptyline for helping the sleepy eventually hopefully once get the adrenal/thyroid issue in check will have sleep without taking anything

  • Hi Yvette65,

    I've been hypo for 20 years, there are months when I sleep like a baby and months were I don't sleep at all, that's when I have to go on the Zoplicone, don't worry too much about having to take them needs must, so as long as you keep reducing the dose down you will sleep on your own, just knowing you have them for back up often relieves the worry about not being able to sleep good luck 🐶

  • You can become dependent on them but that's not the same as addiction. Addiction is having to take larger and larger doses of a drug in order to get the same effect. This is common with opiates like codeine, oxycodone, morphine, heroine, opium. Not common at all with Zopiclone although there are people with drug abuse issues who will take large doses with alcohol. I can't figure out what on earth they are 'looking for' by taking 10 Zopiclone tablets.

    Zopiclone is good because even after using this drug since 2001, it is effective and I don't need to take a larger dose than I did 15 years ago. There's all this blabla about people dying from taking this sleeping pill but quite frankly, I don't think if it is used responsibly and if there's not some other 'issue' going on like morbid obesity and sleep apnea, or severe alcoholism or mixing and matching drugs that cause respiratory depression, the drug is not dangerous. It will make sleep apnea worse.

    It's also, at least for me, the best muscle relaxant available. Baclofen is close to useless. Flexeril has a too long half life and results in being groggy next day. Zopiclone lasts for 6 hours. Other medications usually used for anxiety and as sedatives also have a much longer half life. Ativan, Diazepam, and other benzodiazepines stay in the blood for so long that multiple doses over time cause a buildup and tolerance.

    There is another sleeping pill on the market that only has a 3 hour half life. It's mostly for people who can't get to sleep but then once they are asleep they are fine. Zopiclone is good for people who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

    The biggest problem with Zopiclone is the amnesia it causes. But then again, other medications can do the same thing.

    I really hate it that people are offered something that really helps but there's all this fear about taking that medication. Because of pain I barely slept more than 4 lousy hours per night for at least 4 years. It took quite some time after starting to take Zopiclone before I felt better. I'm not going to stop taking it until I'm willing to 'experiment' with next to zero sleep.

  • Well said gabkad, I had a doctor once actually say to me "do you know taking Zoplicone makes you an addict " I actually only took 1 quarter of a 3.7mg hardly laying there with an intravenous drip, never went back to that doctor again 🐶

  • I don't like taking prescription meds and have gotten rid of 95% of my anxiety and 95% my sleeping problems by taking 5HTP, and Melatonine / homeopathic medicine before bed. So there are more natural alternatives out there, should you want to try it. I hope you feel better soon! Bad sleep sucks! Hugs xx

  • Hi Amazon07, thanks for the reply what is the homeopathic medicine that you are taking ?

  • Hi Yvette65, I use Passiflora Co 30C strength, or Fast Asleep from Dr Bach's Friends for life range It is very effective and gentle enough to be used even by babies. Doesn't counteract with other meds. xx

  • 5-HTP is what I was going to suggest too.

    I was suffering depression quite badly after a fall out with my siblings a few weeks ago and my husband suggested I took some St.Johns Wort. So I bought some only to find out from the leaflet that they can't be taken by anyone with a thyroid problem.

    I rang the company (Natures Best) and spoke to their nutritionalist who was lovely. She refunded me fully and suggested 5-HTP as being a very good substitute. It is natural in origin and works in the same way, but has no contra-indications making it very safe to take.

    I take one half an hour before going to bed, and as well as getting me back to feeling happy again, I'm sleeping better and having the most fabulous adventure dreams, they are so good that it's a nuisance having to get out of bed. Lol

    Who needs the flicks when you have your own in house production company? 😉

  • Which 5-HTP brand do you use ?

  • Natures Best ( it's their own brand Yvette.

  • When taking the 5-HTP before bed , did it have an affect on the 1st night or take a number of time before you saw the benefits... also have you taken 5-HTP during the day ?

  • As far as I remember it was a couple of nights, I haven't taken any during the day.

    My husband took one the other night because our old cat wakes him at dawn and he hadn't been sleeping well lately. He never complained the next day so I think it must have worked for him, but everyone is different aren't they?

    Why not give them a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Hi Ellie-Louise,

    Many thanks will give the 5-HTP a go... out of interest do you take it with a small snack of the evening or just straight.

  • 5-HTP is an odd supplement in one way - there is no standard dosage and the dosage people need varies wildly. Some people need no more than 50mg in the evening. Some people need 100mg, three times a day, or 300mg taken just before bed. There is simply no consistency.

    I would definitely recommend starting on no more than 50mg, even if you end up taking more later.

    I take 50mg 5-HTP every night, and have done for over 5 years. It has been a life-saver for me. However, any attempt to increase my dose makes me anxious and jittery.

    The problem (for me) is that the majority of 5-HTP supplements are sold in a 100mg dose. I've even seen some that are 200mg. The 50mg are a little bit harder to come by, but they do exist. So bear that in mind when finding a supplement to buy.

    Another thing to consider... 5-HTP is an anti-depressant which increases serotonin levels. It is not a good idea to mix anti-depressants of any kind (including 5-HTP) because there is a risk of something called Serotonin Syndrome.

  • I'm sorry, I've only just seen your question.

    I just take it on its own with some water, nothing to eat because it's always in the early hours when I go to bed anyway.

    If I've eaten anything previously it's only been a snack size Mars bar while I had my game on. (GTA5 or AC Unity). :)

  • On that note have you tried hop pillow and valerian.

  • I was told to use antihistamines instead of zopliclone by consultant. It works most of the time.

  • I wouldn't use the drowsy anti-histamines as a long term solution. They cause problems in the long term :

  • I have Hashis and stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

    If I were you I'd get off your GP prescribed meds. Not good to take those.

    I don't sleep well and having read a lot about it on a Magnesium forum took Mag Glycinate last night for the first time. I slept from 10pm to 5am without waking up! That's brilliant for me! I've read a lot about how stress depletes magnesium in your body. I've also tried magnesium oil spray which helped but Mag Gly seems to be a lot better.

    Look up Magnesium protocols...interesting!

  • I take Nitrazepam , I am also full of anxiety and find it so hard to turn off my busy mind and sleep. I wish I hadn't started taking them as I now take two tablets 10mg, some nights I try and take less, I would love to stop but feel I am now dependent on them.

  • I am now taking Lloyd's pharmacy max strength sleep aid 50mg tablets no prescription required and I find they work just a well as zopiclone.

  • I think the tablets you take have a main ingredient of diphenhydramine hydrochloride which is actually an anti-histamine of the type that makes people drowsy. They aren't good for people long term, sadly :

  • Have you tried all the sleep remedies at a health food store? Some were mentioned here. There are so many to try and many have been around for centuries. They come in capsule or liquid form, and many people find them helpful. Also mentioned above, is antihistamines and they occasionally help me. I took zopiclone every night for 9 months after not being able to get any sleep - as in being awake for days and days. I did become physically addicted, but stopped cold turkey when I felt ready, and I think taking it was the best thing I could've done for my body. During that 9 months my body did so much healing and I went from being borderline Addison's to needing no steroids at all. Having said that, I completely understand your concern as I often worried about what type of damage was occurring to my brain with a drug that causes a form of amnesia. However, if I could turn back the clock and do it again, I definitely would. Also, I still occasionally take them if I don't get enough sleep for a week or so. I'm tweaking my thyroid dose now, and I find that if my hormones are extremely out of balance (too high or too low), nothing (not even zopiclone) will put me to sleep. So maybe the first step is to see if you're thyroid hormone replacement dose needs to be changed? Or maybe you need to change the type of thyroid hormone you're taking? I had bad insomnia on T4 only, and it improved on NDT, and improved further on T3. Sleep is so important so I really hope you find a solution that works for you and you are comfortable with. Good luck.

  • Hi Bunnywhisperer were you on zopiclone for 9 months solid, did you have any issues with the GP repeating the description ?

  • I didn't. He told me from the start that sleep was so important that he had no issues prescribing it for me. However, I know that is very controversial and understand why many GPs wouldn't do that. Since you said yours stated that it will be short-term, do you have a back-up plan if you decide to go with it, then s/he stops prescribing it?

  • Hi Bunnywhisper, many thanks for the replies.... admit got no back up plan but managed to get another round out of the GP, but was actually begging.... seems to be the only thing that makes me sleep, tried HTP5, Seriphos,Melatonin etc.... but no success.. Whilst you were on Zopiclone for 9 months did you have any side effects from them..thanks Y

  • Oh, I feel for you. Sleep deprivation is awful. Yes, I tried absolutely everything. Even went to cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnosis, every herb you can think of, etc. Nothing worked apart from zopiclone, and now being on the right dose and the right thyroid hormone replacement. When I was on it, I felt quite down and often sad. I'm not sure if it was the zopiclone, or because of my situation that made me so blue. I lost my life and health, so I should've been sad. But maybe the zopiclone made it worse? I'm not sure. Sorry, I can't remember: have you tried various thyroid meds? For me, it was the key to getting sleep.

  • All, many thanks for the replies good to know there is help and support out there.... ref other things tried, have tried Kalms and Night Kalms but no affect in helping sleep. Other than that not tried anything else than the Zoplicone but looking to try others

    Also to mention it is the rush feel of hormone being release that is keeping me awake and preventing from going to sleep.

    The GP is stating the Zoplicone is only short term, and doesn't want to prescribe me anymore, as this is the case how would I get more Zoplicone ?

  • Just thought I'd mention that if my thyroid hormones are too low, I also feel kind of like there is a rush of hormones. For me, that's because without enough thyroid hormones, my body produces some adrenaline to compensate. Thus, the insomnia.

    Another thing I thought of after I replied is that I too tried Amitriptyline. In the beginning it worked and I slept fairly well. But slowly, the sleep decreased and I started to feel awful. I can't remember exactly why now, but I found out that people with thyroid issues shouldn't take it. However, I'm quite sure many people on my thyroid support groups have used it with no issue :-)

  • Hi you're situation sounds very much like mine, I take zopiclone 7.5 mg two at night and 20 mg of amytripiline also 8 tramadol 50 mg a day for the pain and if the pain is really bad I have oralmorph.. Any way that's just a few meds of which I take every day, I have just found out I have thyroid condition, a small growth on my pirtruatary gland luckily its benign. And a under active thyroid, and take levothyroxine 150 micro grams a day, its just soul destroying, plus I have 2 meacanical heart valves. From 1995 I am only 48 years old. But still keep trooping on. So I can relate to you're problem. Be strong and take care, try to get into a routine every day and you should sleep better, and try tamazapam 10 mg. Good luck .

  • Hi

    Sorry to hear about the sleeping problems. For me it is the biggest issue I faced all due to undiagnosed thyroid issues that went on too long and have caused irreparable damage.

    In my work I treat many people some with addictions and believe me taking zopiclone to aid sleep is not an addiction. We are all reliant on something be it t3/t4 and vitamins.

    Antihistamine should not be taken for long as it can cause thickening of the mucus and sinus issues.

    The new drug of choice is amitryptaline but at the end if the day it is no different to taking zopiclone - just no cash incentive to surgeries with the later.

    Everyone is right thyroid/ adrenal gland issues cause the body to undergo massive stress and they need to be optimal first. That said some people survive on very little or poor sleep and no matter what herbal remedies they take nothing works. If one 7.5 dose of zopiclone works then me personally I would stay with it. So long as it does not need increasing regularily / stops being effective then I would enjoy sleeping.

    Everyone is different but we need sleep. Without it we can be v Ill or even die.

    On a cautious side people I know who have reduced meds then hit a bad run of not sleeping may not necessarily get back tablets they have weaned themselves off.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

  • Thanks.... at the moment Zopiclone is working for me only take 1 x 7.5 mg pill and do have a full night sleep and do feel better in myself the next day. Last night I tried 3.75 mg , got to sleep ok but then was waking from 3 am onwards... and feel worse and struggling today. Would prefer to stay with the Zopiclone, but the trouble is getting the GP to repeat the prescription. At the moment I have only been on Zopiclone a few week, 1st prescription of 10 tablets... now just starting my prescription of a second lot of 10 tablets.

  • Sorry messing around I have just seen your reply.

    Zopiclone used to be easy to buy some 2 yrs ago now very difficult. I imagine the amitryptaline route is in their minds as they have been told it is not addictive. Hmm it's just a different tablet which is by the way not licensed for sleep.

    I understand you can still get it on the Internet but cannot recommend a source as most no longer supply it.

  • I was on zoloft & sleeping pills for several months (3) and I dropped them quite quickly from few days now. Due to my insomnia, I was on nitrazepam(quite strong) and for couple a day's I tried also zopliclone. I have sever sleep apnea for 3 yrs, luckily I find that my auto-cpap it is vry helpful for me.

    After I got rid of them now I have some strange symptoms. I wonder if it possible that Sertraline or nitrazepam can cause this strange feelings.

    Now I don't know(feel) if I sleep or not, I have no dreams and sensation of deep sleep. My perceptions can be of having been awake, but other clues(like cpap graph) indicate that I must have been asleep at least part of the time, but can't tell for how long. Another problem is that my brain is numb, something like that. I was very sensitive to drugs, especially on T3. Now when I take my T3 and levo i didn't feel anything(nor in my braib or my body). Maybe have to pass a period of re-adjustment, or did something wrong happened with my brain i don't know. Now for sleep I take some herbal medicenes and seems to helpbut I still feel like I'm not sleeping.

  • Hi Yvette have you had a 24hr cortisol test done for your adrenals. I was exactly like you couldn't sleep then when I drifted off I woke at 3 to an all mighty rush of cortisol and when I eventually fell asleep again when I woke felt like I had never slept at all. Did a cortisol test and have high cortisol all day. I had all the anxiety aswell as shakes, palpitations low blood sugar etc. I take ashwaganda and holy basil twice a day and phosphatidylserine to lower my cortisol just before bed and am having the best sleep in years doc is trying to figure out what is causing the high cortisol. Would recommend the 24hr cortisol test as you could have high or low cortisol as they can give similar symptoms.

  • Hi Collie_S , thanks for the reply, currently awaiting the 24hr cortisol test to arrive this week. Currently taking ashwaganda and holy basil , also take nutri advance AdrenoMax , which phosphatidylserine do you take and how much ? Out of interest when do you take ashwagandha and holy basil ?

  • Hi Yvette,

    I'm using the swansons triple strength softgels although I did order the capsules by mistake and didn't notice any major difference between the two but am sticking to the softgels. They are pricey at nearly £20 for 30 but I definitely find they help. I take the ashwaganda and holy basil in the morning and evening and the PS as I call it as I can't pronounce it for the life of me before bed. I have noticed an improvement in sleep and muscle fatigue and pain on it as it reduces cortisol through I believe its affect on the brain and acth production. Just make sure your cortisol is high as I don't think you would want to take it with low cortisol. Hope this helps.

  • Yvette65

    I have the same problem and I can't take antidepressants or anything similar. A young Dr suggested that I take a Piriton but only on very restless nights and not regularly. It works really well and she said that if the small dose didn't work then take the stronger one.

    Once I've had a good nights sleep I find it easier to get off. x

  • Exercise & fresh air.

    Seriously, drugs aren't the answer. I used to take Diazepam, then Zopiclone. Both worked (needed 14mg of Zopiclone), but just made me irritable next day. Tried Amitriptyline on 2 occasions. Gave me horrible vivid dreams. I felt irritated that my wife was even near me...scary stuff. They were flushed down the toilet.

    Just 1/2 hour hard exercise a day & I sleep.

    Another question though is do you snore? I thought I was an insomniac for years, yet family members complained I shook the house. I never believed it, because I "knew" I'd been awake all night. CPAP has helped a lot & will have a deviated Sceptum fixed soon.

    ...anyway, try get a sleep study rather than pills and do whatever exercise you can manage.

  • Hi knackersyard, thanks for the reply, hard exercise would increase cortisol levels which could be causing my ability to sleep if they are already high , currently awaiting a cortisol testing kit... in my job I do about 13 miles walking a day so should be sufficient snoring problems

  • Yes, 13 miles a day should be plenty.

    Maybe you need to slow your head down. Have you tried yoga & breathing exercises?

  • If I can stick my five pence worth in, having suffered from insomnia for years my old GP put me on zopiclone, and the only thing I got addicted to was actually being able to sleep.

    I was originally on 7.5mcg, but now I have 3.75mcg occasionally. Usually when I am stressed out and my brain won't switch off. I couldnt take amitriptyline because even on a tiny dose I was like a drunkard next day. For some reason they dont recommend splitting zopiclone tablets.

    The argument against sleepers is that research suggests they cause mental problems. My argument has always been that in my case sleep deprivation could cause homicide!

  • Hi Mrs Raven, thanks for the reply , how long was you on the zopiclone and did you have any issues with the GP prescribing it ?

  • I have been using it off and on for maybe 30 years. I went for a very long time with hardly any sleep. My then GP refused to prescribe anything, but one of the practice partners felt the need for sleep outweighed any possible risk. When he retired the zopiclone was stopped, with no reasons given. I changed practices and the new practice gave it back to me.

    I dont use it often, maybe once a week to ensure I get at least one nights reasonable sleep.

  • The dose prescribed for sleep issues is tiny compared with the dose for use as an antidepressant. I've been on Amitriptyline for 15 months. It also helps with migraine (and has an antihistamine effect which has been useful for me as I have urticaria/angioedema and raised tryptase). I was on 20mg, I've just cut back to 10mg and I'm going to try a break.

    If you do try it, be aware it can cause weight gain (so you have to watch the carb cravings!)

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