Medicating to sleep

Medicating to sleep is firmly rising. More than 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are given each year in England, but medication only offers short-term relief. Having said this, there can be short periods full of desperation, stress and other health problems when sleeping pills provide justified support and aid. Before choosing to use sleeping pills, it’s recommended you learn a bit more about them. Longer-term use of sleeping pills can cause physical and mental dependency problems and hence longer-term use is almost never recommended.

In general, sleeping pills and sleep medications are most effective when used sparingly for short-term situations, such as traveling across time zones, recovering from a medical procedure or managing a period of extremely high stress. Sometimes sleep aids and medications are used briefly at the beginning of behavioural treatment for insomnia, especially if the sleep deprivation has been severe. If sleeping pills are used over the long term, they are best used “as needed” and only occasionally to avoid dependence and tolerance. In case of longer-term use of sleeping pills working closely with your doctor is essential.

Non-drug treatments for sleep

Non-drug treatments have been under-used, but many sleep experts say that they offer the best long-term solutions to chronic sleep problems. Professor Kevin Morgan of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre says that sleeping tablets treat the symptoms of insomnia, not its causes. Sleeping pills also break the natural, inbuilt confidence to fall sleep: we feel unable to asleep without any aid.

SensitiveSleepers encourages poor sleepers to take responsibility of their own sleep by paying attention to balance of life and the many other natural aids and alternative treatments described in the ‘treatments’ section of this website. The key is to learn to rest and relax (and worry) during the day. However, the problem is that sometimes we are too tired, too anxious, too stressed and otherwise limited by our life conditions to take bigger life changes on board. We first need relief to gather the strength to deal with issues related to change. Changes, whether small or big, are always demanding. We need to have strong personal motivation and mental & physical balance to get started but it’s all worth it – without any doubt.

Between a third and half of all Americans have insomnia and complain of poor sleep. Statistics show a pretty similar tendency in Europe.  A sleeping pill may be effective at ending our sleep problems short-term (and preventing them from turning into chronic insomnia). But it’s important to make sure we understand everything we need to know about sleeping pills. That includes knowing about sleeping pill side effects to avoid misusing these sedatives.


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