Humans have always had trouble sleeping – nearly 70 million people in the US alone have some form of insomnia. Science tackles sleep issues with medicine, which is designed to help us sleep and stay asleep… but there’s a shocking truth about sleep medicine we should all know about.
Many of us turn to sleep pills when insomnia grips us at night; it’s understandable when you’re dead on your feet day after day – being able to fall asleep is what we desire, and chemical sleeping aids can deliver that magic but are there downsides to taking sleep medication?
The short answer is yes. If you’re not convinced by the short answer, read on.
Insomnia & Sleeping Medication Side Effects
There are a surprising amount of side effects with many of the most popular sleep medicines that those who are taking them aren’t aware of, and if they are, completely ignore.
Some of the numerous side effects can include something small – like dizziness, lightheadedness, and ‘cotton mouth’, or a thirsty mouth that’s hard to wet.
Other, more serious effects can include addiction (See below), being tired throughout the day, decreased productivity, heart problems, blood problems, clotting, heart attacks, stroke, and sometimes even death.
If you’re thinking, ‘well, so many people consume these medications, and no one ever gets hurt.’ That’s not true – do you think these big pharma companies want you to know about the dangers?
Sleep Medication Addiction
An unspoken worry amongst many of those prescribing and taking sleep medicine is the threat of addiction. Like a giant black cloud looming over, if you’re not worried about it, you should be.
Dependency on sleep medicine is widespread, even if there is no prior history of addiction. The feeling of being able to sleep freely, without worry, and going to sleep instantly can be very satisfying, if not powerful.
However, after a while, the body adjusts to being told to ‘go to sleep’ by medicine. So much so, in fact, that it has a hard time going to sleep without it, even when it’s tired enough to sleep!
Groggy and Asleep
Do you enjoy waking up refreshed, feeling great, completely alert and on the ball? Well, with sleep medicine, don’t expect it – why? The most frequent complaint among those who take pills to induce sleep is that they have issues feeling awake when the alarm goes off.
You see, the problem is that you get ‘sleep’ but not good sleep! Your body and mind shut down, so to speak, but it is not the natural healing sleep that you need, so you don’t get the full effects that you should, and hence wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed!
Others complain that instead of getting 7-8 hours of sleep with their medication, they get 9-10, which can be unhealthy and taking up a lot of your time.
Natural Sleep & Relaxation Supplements
Natural sleep is naturally the best; if you’re staring at the walls to the early hours most nights, then it’s well worth trying a natural supplement to aid sleep. This natural sleep support from brainmd.com combines 4 key ingredients – melatonin, GABA, L-Theanine, and 5-HTP and is gaining traction with very positive feedback from users on their website. If you head over to their website, it may be worth checking out their Overcoming Insomnia Course, designed to enhance your health, optimize brain function and teach evidence-based sleep strategies to sustain better sleep for the rest of your life. They include a 30 day from signing up guarantee and will promptly refund 100% of your money, no questions asked if for any reason you decide you want a refund. You’ve nothing to lose but a good night’s sleep!
We’re big advocates of massage for pain relief and prevention at backpainsleep, but massage is also a fantastic way to relax and unwind at any time of the day, in your own home and at your own convenience. A massage on demand can prep you for a good shot at getting to sleep.
What are the Main Causes of Insomnia?
Insomnia is the inability to sleep, and it can take many forms. You might get into bed tired and exhausted at the end of a long day, thinking that you’d fall asleep in a moment, only to find yourself awake hours later. Or you might wake up several times through the night, despite being able to fall asleep as soon as you get into bed. It might also be that you wake up early, say at 4 or 5 a.m., and can’t go back to sleep again, although you’re fully aware that you don’t have to wake up till 7 a.m. The fact is all these symptoms point to different forms of insomnia.
There’s no need to despair because you’re not the only one. 50% of all Americans have insomnia at some point in their lives, and a good percentage regularly experiences it.
Insomnia broadly refers to trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or staying asleep for the duration required to make you feel refreshed. Insomnia, being a secondary sleep disorder, is a symptom of some other physical, emotional, behavioral or environmental problem that affects your sleep. It is usually characterized by frequency and the duration of time for which it occurs. Some of the causes of insomnia are given below:
- Transient or temporary insomnia is usually caused by stress or emotion. It may last for one day or a few days.
- Intermittent insomnia is caused by stress or anxiety and may occur on and off for an extended period of time.
- Chronic insomnia is caused by one or several medical conditions. It frequently occurs (every night) and can last for two weeks (at least).
Causes of secondary insomnia
Secondary insomnia is usually caused by emotional, neurological or medical disorder. It could also be a result of another sleep disorder.
Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the emotional disorders leading to insomnia. Simultaneously, neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease may be responsible for secondary insomnia.
Some of the causes of insomnia are the following diseases:
- Arthritis or headache disorders which result in chronic pain
- Asthma or heart failure results in difficulty breathing.
- Overactive thyroid
- Gastrointestinal disorders. E.g., heartburn
Secondary insomnia could also be the result of a sleep disorder such as restless legs syndrome. It could also occur as a side effect for certain medicines or frequently used substances such as:
- Stimulants such as caffeine
- Products containing nicotine, such as tobacco
- Sedatives, such as alcohol
- Some medication is taken for allergy and cold or asthma (theophylline).
- Medicines used to treat heart conditions (Beta-blockers)
Causes of primary insomnia
Primary insomnia isn’t dependent on medical or emotional conditions and usually occurs for at least a month. It is still unclear if some people are born with a greater chance of having insomnia. Some causes of insomnia that are triggered by lifestyle changes are:
- Significant or long-lasting stress or emotional upset
- Factors that disrupt your sleep routines, such as travel or work schedule.
Insomnia may linger even after these factors go away. This happens because of the habits that people form while trying to deal with insomnia. These typically include taking naps, going to sleep early or worrying about sleep.
Sleep medicine has a benefit – you get to sleep not long after taking a pill, and that can be very appealing. But look at the issues they come with.
That’s not to say there will never be a good sleep medicine on the market. But right now, there are many downsides with only one upside… an upside that you can get without pills.