Sleeping Pills – Helpful or Harmful Sleeping Aid?

Written by ClinicTrip on June 22, 2017

This article was submitted by a ClinicTrip user.

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How many people have trouble sleeping at night? Do you toss and turn, read a book, watch a movie on your iPad or computer, or drink a glass of warm milk to try and sleep?

Do we have too much on our minds or too many problems at work?

You’ve tried a sleeping pill and still can’t sleep. The morning comes fast and your brain is in a fog from not enough sleep or the sleeping pill is still working on your brain. What is wrong?

A good night’s sleep keeps your brain healthy and in top form – ready for the day. How do we attain this?

Here are some things to consider. Sleeping pills may raise your risk of permanent memory loss according to studies. Cognitive behavior therapy may be more effective than sleeping pills. Also, the quality of sleep may be more important than the number of hours you sleep.

Nearly one third of people over the age of forty take sleeping medications. Thirty-three percent take over the counter medications for a better sleep. According to an AARP Survey, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for older or younger adults. In a 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who underwent CBT for insomnia fell asleep about 20 minutes faster and were awake nearly 30 fewer minutes at night than those who didn’t undergo therapy.

2016 Consumer Reports found that people who take over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids made dangerous dosage errors. Long term use (60 days or more) caused memory problems in older adults and is linked to an increase in dementia. Taking the meds for 60 days or more caused memory problems in older adults, according to a 2013 study in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

How do we change our sleep patterns to avoid taking medication?

  • Go to bed only when you feel drowsy. If you work late into the evening, your brain does not have a chance to relax.
  • Physical activity promotes better sleep. Instead of working in the evening, take a walk or go for some exercise.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.
  • Cut back on the food and alcohol three hours before going to bed.
  • Turn off the TV and relax with a good book in a quiet place instead.

If you find these steps hard to do, make changes slowly and relax. Limit those tense phone calls in the evening and take them in the morning when your brain is rested.

It’s worth a try and you will be healthier and more active during the day for the jobs at hand.

Happy Sleeping!