Insomnia medication falls into three categories- there are the over-the-counter products which can be easily bought. These often contain antihistamines. Then there are the prescription medications- benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Using prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids to catch up on your sleep should be avoided. You should consult your doctor before taking sleep medication. You should also avoid taking them for more than 2 or 3 nights in a row, as prolonged use can cause ‘rebound’ insomnia.
Sleeping pills are generally bad news as they will break down your body’s natural sleep cycle and make sleep very difficult in the long term. It may also affect the amount of deep sleep you attain during the night as most major sleeping pills interfere with normal brain wave patterns. Without deep quality sleep the body skips the vital stages of sleep that are required for restoration.
You may find that you wake up feeling groggy, drowsy or tired this is because most sleeping pills take time for the body to break down. In fact sleeping pills do not improve daytime performance whatsoever; they only help tackle the symptoms. Even so, in studies it has been shown that insomniacs that rely on sleeping pills took on average 45 minutes to sleep. This destroys the belief that sleeping pills help you sleep faster.
Sleeping pills may help you get to sleep but with continual use your body will build tolerance, and you may find that you need to ‘up’ your dose to attain the same affect. Since they do not tackle the root cause of insomnia, many users become dependant and even worse ‘chronic users’. Taking sleeping pills is definitely not a long term solution to insomnia.
So if they don’t improve daytime functioning and they do more damage than good including; reducing brain activity in the day, affecting memory and judgment as well as being highly addictive, then why are they being relied upon by millions of adults?
Many sufferers feel powerless and simply do not know how to tackle insomnia effectively. An insomnia patient who seeks advice from their doctor week after week can leave the doctor feeling desperate to help and more likely to resort in prescribing sleep medication.
With only 10% of doctors rating their sleep knowledge as good in a recent survey, we can assume that the general public knows significantly less in terms of sleep education. Sleep medication can seem the only way to get a night sleep.
However insomnia medication is not a long term solution. They will only worsen the condition. With this in mind it’s best to seek alternative therapies and medicines.