In general, sleeping pills are either statistically dangerous, or lacking enough data to prove safe.
The reasons why sleeping medication are still prescribed: 1) Sleep medication is a multi-billions dollars industry 2) People became dependent on the addictive pills 3) Dangers of sleeping medications are often suppressed.
Any patient who takes sleeping pills from the list below has an increased chance of developing cancer (source)
For medications that are not on this list, it does not mean they are safe, but it only means there are not enough studies to prove either ways.
For patients who take more than 132 pills a year, they have 35% more chance of getting cancer than average people within 2.5 years, and the chance is much higher for long term usage because the chemicals accumulate in the body for a longer period of time.
In general, regular users of sleep aids have a 4.5 times chance of early death. "Regular users" are people who use only more than eighteen times per year!
Now before you panic, I want you to know there are natural sleep aids that actually works, without the side effects. Here is a typical amazon.com review for natural sleep aid: "I have used this now for a couple of weeks and I can definitely say that it seems to have helped significantly with my sleep. I fall asleep without that drugged feeling I don't like from prescription sleep aids and without the drying effects of allergy medication."
Let me go on a little bit more on the evil of OTC sleep pills before I get to natural sleep aids that are safe!
All sleeping pills tend to lose their effectiveness after a few weeks as the body develops tolerance. In one study, the patients only slept 30 minutes more in the first two days of taking flurazepam (Dalmane) or triazolam (Halcion). At the end of five weeks, they were sleeping no better than people who don't take sleeping medication.
The problem is once the patients start taking the pills, they couldn't stop without suffering withdrawal insomnia. They ended up sleeping less than the control group when they stopped taking the pills.
Most purchases of prescription sleeping aids are made by chronic users. They had to keep using not because the drugs help, but because they had horrible withdrawal if they stop. Studies on zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta) produce the same results.
In the worst scenario, withdrawal can cause death.
What I mentioned so far are not the only symptoms. For example, people who stop taking barbiturates and benzodiazepines can experience shakiness, seizures, anxiety, panic, rapid heart rate, and of course, death.
Sleeping pills generally impair cognitive performance of the users during daytime. It leads to more car accidents and falls. It also causes early awakening, or hangover.
Many over-the-counter sleeping pills simply make you forget how poorly you slept. Therefore, the patients think the aids help. In fact, the medications have very little or no sleep-inducing ability.
The pills make the patients feel invincible and immune to punishment. In one case, a patient murdered his sister while under Halcion-induced sleep walking! Like anti-depressants, these drugs tend to make users aggressive and reckless.
Rather than reducing depression, sleep aids actually double the rate of depression of users.
Sleeping pills numb fears, impair judgement, and cause memory loss, which make the patients ignore harmful side effects of the sleeping pills. Side effects make you forget the side effects!
Sleeping pills make sleep apnea worst because it reduces nerve activity of breathing muscle. Sufferers of sleep apnea suffer longer pause of breathing in sleep when they take pills. It can cause sudden death.
I used to wake up for 24 to 36 hours before I could fall asleep. One book changed my life- the Adrenal Reset Diet. Click the link to see my story. The idea is very simple- your meal plan is a switch to your sleep circle.
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All the news and info you need to mitigate or cure most sleeping disorders and conditions that make it hard to sleep well.
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