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A Question about How Long Guided Imagery Takes to Replace Sleeping Pills

01 Dec

We got this question from someone who ordered our Healthful Sleep imagery as a way of getting herself off medication for her chronic and longstanding insomnia. She basically wanted to know how soon before she could toss her sleeping pills out.

Hi, Belleruth,

Wanted to ask _ how long do you think I would need to listen to this Healthful Sleep CD to get any positive results. ie, not needing sleeping aids.
I will continue to take a sleeping aid initially. How long before you think I can stop, if ever?




I wish I could give you a simple answer, Marie. But it varies so much, person to person. Take it at the pace you need. A good number of people really do go off meds entirely, usually gradually and over the course of several months, with ups and downs.

But some people really do get off them immediately.

Some just end up not needing so much, and reduce the dosage, and therefore also have less of a morning "hangover".

Let your own body be your guide for this. I'd recommend starting out with a gradual approach. If you've lowered your dosage too early, you'll know it, because you'll not be sleeping, in which case, you can go back on the meds and take more time with it.

We really do get emails like this one:

"At the recommendation of my therapist, Dr. Kathleen B., I purchased a guided imagery tape to help with sleep.... I had been taking 10 mg of Ambien every night for the past 15 years (I am surviving chronic depression, chronic pain and PTSD from sexual abuse). After one night of listening to the imagery, I threw away the Ambien and have had peace-filled sleep every night since then -- something I thought I would never have, either with or without medication! I especially like the idea of guardians surrounding me with love and all good things in my life. I also like the idea of 'relaxing my heart'."

But you can't assume this will happen for you. (But I hope it does!) I know this answer is inexact, but hopefully it's useful to you anyway.

All best,


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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.