For my next medication post I’m going to look at zopiclone (Imovane), a sleeping pill that I rate pretty highly. It actually does what it’s supposed to do! Standard warning: all the information given here comes from my personal experience of zopiclone. It may work differently for different people.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had issues with falling asleep. With therapy I’ve come to realise that it’s because when I was young my Dad would pop his head round my bedroom door and check on me before he went to bed, and I couldn’t fall asleep until he’d done that; I didn’t like the idea of him judging/looking at me without me knowing. The upshot of that is that it usually takes me an hour or two to get to sleep, and if I’m particularly stressed or low it can take a lot longer.
When my depression/anxiety began to attract medical attention in the ‘crisis days’, my psychiatrist decided my safety could be improved short term by giving me something to help me sleep. I left my emergency assessment with a rather optimistic prescription for 6 half dose pills (3.75mg each), intended to last me at least three nights. 3.75mg didn’t really do anything for me so I took the standard dose of 7.5mg, and that was perfect. I was asleep within half an hour which was a real novelty, and I slept deeply for at least eight hours. After the first night of using it I felt mildly drowsy the following morning, but I haven’t had that problem since then.
Unfortunately zopiclone is thought to be quite addictive, so I’ve only ever been given a maximum of a weeks’ prescription at a time, and the longest period of continuous use I’ve been allowed was three weeks. When I stop taking it I immediately revert back to having my age-old difficulties with falling asleep, but I don’t find them to be any worse than they were before. I also haven’t found zopiclone to become less effective with continuous use which is a definite plus compared to Nytol (diphenhydramine), which is effectively useless to me after a day or two unless I seriously ramp up the dose.
Doses (nightly): 3.75mg, 7.5mg
Positive effects: Definitely helped me fall asleep significantly faster than usual, and almost guaranteed a deep, uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Negative effects: Left me a little drowsy the morning after I first used it.
Conclusion: I love zopiclone!! It’s just a shame it’s only prescribed as a temporary/short-term sleep aid.