Are you someone who falls into bed each night to surrender to the bliss of perfect sleep only to wake up each morning wide-eyed, refreshed and happy to be alive or do you stumble through each day half spent, like a bloodshot-eyed zombie eager for his next fix of blood (or coffee!).
Maybe you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the world who believe that the only way you can sleep is by taking sleeping tablets.
Now this is certainly a subject close to my heart! I spent too many years trying to aid better sleep through using sleeping drugs. I know the temptation of the quick and easy fix that we have been told will help us to gain good sleep and make us feel better the next day. However not only do I now have personal experience that this claim is bogus it also doesn’t mention the terrifying side effects that come with these tablets.
According the Telegraph
People taking higher doses of commonly-prescribed prescription drugs are almost five times more likely to die and a third more likely to develop cancer
This is according to a study published in the journal BMJ Open that analysed 10500 people taking a wide range of sleeping tablets, including temazepam and diazepam and compared people taking sleeping tablets with those who were not using drugs but had similar lifestyle and health conditions. Here is the study.
From my own experience I know how much these pills can affect you the next day. I rarely woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and needed a host of other crutches such as caffeine and alcohol to get me through the day. On top of that I found that after taking sleeping tablets I would often be knocked out for some hours which at the time was very welcome but it was not what I would now call quality sleep. This is because sleeping tablets negatively affect our ability to enter the correct phases of sleep in the correct quantities that our bodies need to regenerate and that our minds need to feel refreshed.
As a result although we are sometimes knocked unconscious after taking pills (which when massively sleep deprived is more than welcome!) we are not actually sleeping. Sleeping is an incredibly complicated and important process and conditions have to be right in order to enable this.
There’s nothing more natural in the world than to sleep and if left to its natural devices your body will sleep. It has to. If it doesn’t you will literally die quicker than if you went without food.
The trick is to engineer your day to day life around allowing for this process to take place naturally. Sleep is a natural byproduct of a life well lived so it has to be prioritised if you want to be as happy and healthy as you can possibly be. For me that has meant giving up pharmaceutical drugs and having a period in which I gave my body time to get used to sleeping naturally. For me that meant severe insomnia for a short period but I had faith in my bodies desire and ability to sleep naturally and now my health is better than ever physically and mentally.
lthough the The British National Formulary recommends that:
- hypnotics should not be prescribed indiscriminately
- hypnotics should be reserved for short courses in the acutely distressed
- hypnotics should be used to alleviate acute conditions after their cause has been established
- hypnotics should be avoided in the elderly due to their greater risk of falls if they become confused
I personally recommend learning to sleep without them. To do this you may need some help.