Sleeping Pills : Science’s Answer To The Sandman’s Magic Dust?

There’s a song that goes, “Mister Sandman, bring me a dream.” Do you remember the folklore that old people used to tell kids to lull them to sleep? It’s about this mystical person that brings sleep by sprinkling magic dust into children’s eyes. Enter Sandman.

Sleeping disorders have become more and more prominent over the ages. More than 60 million American adults encounter difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping well. Stress and environment also contribute to sleep disorders. Stress causes sleep disorder in such a way that the brain is active as the person thinking about things such as finances, marital problems, health issues and extreme boredom to name a few. Environment also plays a role in such a way that a noisy neighborhood can disrupt your sleep if not stop you from getting your well deserved rest. Living in a loud environment, working on the night shift, excessive consumption of caffeine-containing products, these may cause you to lose sleep.

The three most common of sleeping disorders are: sleep apnea (snoring), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and insomnia. The term apnea was derived from the latin prefix a- for absence, and the suffix -pnea for breathe. Snoring starts when the air passage is not fully open and it air is forced through it. Those with RLS feel a strong urge to move their legs, it is characterized by a tingling feeling in the legs while sitting or lying still as if something is crawling on the legs. Worst cases of RLS prevents a person from falling asleep. Insomnia, being the most common among the three disorders listed, is the inability to fall asleep, remain asleep or sleep restfully through the night; this may include constantly awakening too early.

There are several ways to work around insomnia. Regular exercise, especially during the afternoons or early evenings have proven beneficial to getting a good night’s sleep. Engaging in relaxing activities such as reading, watching TV, or taking a warm bath is also helpful to induce sleep as it calms the mind and body. In cases where hunger is the reason for having difficulty sleeping, a light snack might help. Resisting the urge to smoke before bedtime also helps as nicotine is a kind of stimulant that may keep you awake for the rest of the night. The best way to get around it is to establish a regular bedtime until the body has been accustomed to sleeping at a specific time of day.

If all else fails, take a sleeping pill. Sleeping pills are sleep-promoting medications that are generally used to establish a sleeping habit when all other natural means have failed. These medications are closely related to sedatives as is a mild form of sedative. Heavy doses are prescribed for people with anxiety disorders. It is only effective if difficulty sleeping is still on its early stage. Once insomnia has been on-going for a long while, it will prove to be less helpful as no sleep-inducing medication should be used as long term treatment.

According to recent surveys, health professionals have decreased prescribing sleeping pills. Only when the sleeping disorder proves to be hazardous to a patient’s health do they advise the use of these pills. Over the counter sleeping pills are available in the market, though it is advised that sleeping pills should never be taken if it isn’t prescribed by a doctor as side effects might emerge.

Side effects of sleeping pills being used for long periods of time include increased mortality rate. Research shows that people who use it long term are more likely to die early than those who smoke. Sleeping pills doesn’t cure chronic insomnia, but continuous ingestion of the medication may cause chemical dependency to it. It may also affect short-term memory, giving you a sort of hangover effect. Sleeping pills intensify certain neurotransmitters that stop the lungs from firing up, causing asphyxiation. People with sleep apnea must not use sleeping pills because it will increase the number of pauses and lengthen the pause time in breathing which may cause serious brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

Sleeping pills, however convenient it is to use, isn’t a cure for any sleeping disorder. It cannot be used to treat insomnia’s underlying causes, it can only give you temporary relief by giving you the rest you need at the moment. It is best to exhaust all natural means of getting through sleeping disorders as their effects are longer lasting than that induced by sleeping pills.

Leave a Comment