Are Sleeping Pills Dangerous?

Can’t sleep? Well you may want to reconsider prescription drug use to give you the helping hand you need to get to sleep, in fact after checking the literature it seems there is no disputing that sleeping pills, should fall into the category of “user beware” or at least – user be warned!

What Is The Research Telling Us?

A study by The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, tells us “Where possible, physicians should systematically consider possibilities for nonpharmacological treatment of sleep disturbances and anxiety.” The reason for this is that the journal, goes on to tell us that there is a small but significant increase in mortality risk with sedative drug use!

Another study by the British Medical Journal in 2012, states “hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increased hazards of death even when prescribed <18 pills/year….”

In May this year a paper by Daniel Kripke states “Almost every month, new information appears about the risks of hypnotics (sleeping pills). This review includes new information on the growing USA overdose epidemic, eight new epidemiologic studies of hypnotics’ mortality not available for previous compilations, and new emphasis on risks of short-term hypnotic prescription. The most important risks of hypnotics include excess mortality, especially overdose deaths, quiet deaths at night, infections, cancer, depression and suicide, automobile crashes, falls, and other accidents, and hypnotic-withdrawal insomnia. The short-term use of one-two prescriptions is associated with greater risk per dose than long-term use. Hypnotics are usually prescribed without approved indication, most often with specific contraindications, but even when indicated, there is little or no benefit. The recommended doses objectively increase sleep little if at all, daytime performance is often made worse, not better, and the lack of general health benefits is commonly misrepresented in advertising.”

SLEEP HOUSEKEEPING

So we know sleep is important, actually very, very important but before we reach for the sleeping pills make sure that you have ruled out common and easy to rectify issues that may be interfering with your sleep, you can check out how good your sleep hygiene is here.

ALTERNATIVES To Pharmaceutical Drugs!

Before I ever hand out even a herbal or nutritional sleep aid I always check sleep hygiene! Because it makes sense to address the underlying cause, this is a far more sustainable solution. Only then is it sensible to reach for a supplement, if that is needed there are so many very effective treatments. They may include herbals which relax the central nervous system  (nervines) or support the adrenal system (adaptogens) or herbs which have a sedating effect (hypnotics), or they may include nutritionals such as magnesium, gaba, tryptophan, 5 hydroxy tryptophan, just to name a few – the list goes on and on. If required this is a very individual process and requires professional guidance.

 

References

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