Sleep medication is not good for you — your brain, your memory or your health. They are addictive, could be toxic, and in the long run are of no help.
A CBC News report stated recently that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been accumulating information for over 15 years that shows over-the-counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM are of no significant value to patients, and “The data suggests the combination products are statistically better than a placebo but not by much.”
More than 56 million Americans in 2008 filled prescriptions for sleeping pills, and another $600 million was spent on over-the-counter sleep aids. According to research, these medications may be causing more harm than good, and probably are not of any benefit at all — except to the companies that make them!
A 2007 study on sleeping pills, financed by the National Institutes of Health, found medications like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata only reduced the average sleep time by just under 13 minutes when compared to placebos. That certainly isn’t much of an improvement! The subjects, however, actually thought that after taking the pills they had slept up to an hour longer.
The fact is, taking these pills could actually make it more difficult for you to get a natural good night’s rest, and could greatly increase your risk of memory loss and dementia!
Any medication is risky. Most of them treat the symptoms and not address the problem. You may feel comfort from the symptoms for a short time, but taken over time sleeping pills can become addictive. Trying to quit could cause withdrawal, which is much worse than insomnia.
The following problems could occur with continued use of sleeping pills:
- Need to increase dosage over time. After taken sleeping pills for two weeks your system could become immune, or used to the dosage, and if you continue you will need to increase the number of pills taken — which could result in an overdose.
- Snacking and weight gain. You could find yourself hungry while tired, and snack too much, or get bizarre cravings like raw bacon and buttered cigarettes.
- Safety. There is the risk of falling asleep at the wheel of your car, if you take the pills and then decide to drive. According to some state toxicology labs, among the top 10 drugs found in the system of an impaired driver is the sleeping pill “Ambien.”
- Risk of injury. Walking around while sleepy, especially for the elderly, could run the risk of falls and injuries.
- Still drowsy when waking up. You could wake up feeling drowsy, even after the medication has worn off.
Safe and natural solutions can be found that will work at least as well, if not better. It is necessary to address the underlying reasons for your inability to sleep, and not just the symptoms. Consulting a doctor if the sleep problems continue is necessary for them to evaluate the problem and help you come up with a solution that will actually get you some sleep.
A good night’s sleep in essential for you. It helps you to unwind and de-stress, and it and allows your brain to catch up and process information you have picked up during the day.
A study conducted at Stanford University Medical School study found that moderate to intense exercise program in the evening, as long as it is not right before going to bed, can help you get to sleep faster.
You can also try doing calming activities such as journaling, meditating, sipping herbal tea, washing your face or reading a book. Stress is the biggest reason people have trouble getting to sleep. Keep your surroundings quite — turn off TV, radio and lights. Wear an eye mask, and use room-darkening curtains.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at BrainAthlete.com.
Psyorg – Common drugs linked to cognitive impairment and possibly to increased risk of death: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-06-common-drugs-linked-cognitive-impairment.html