The delicate helpers – Sleeping pills
Tablets help through the night – but they ruin the structure of sleep and addictive: whoever starts once, can only stop bad. Experts therefore advise against the medication.
The book has been read out, the hot milk drunk, the last sheep counted: It is already late – but sleep still does not want to come. You become impatient and swallow a sleeping pill. Finally you are dimming away. But the next morning you feel only moderately rested, rather dizzy. Nevertheless, the fatal travel companion comes to mind again the next night. The day after it presents itself as blurry as before – you take the drug again. And so on.
Sleeping pills are delicate. They only make for better nights in the short term, but they can not solve the sleep problem . In addition, they harbor a great danger: dependency. Even if no physical addiction develops, the mind can quickly get used to the medication. Because the conviction that you can not sleep without a tablet causes only new insomnia.
This risk is borne by all chemical sleepers – including natural products such as valerian or hops. Therefore, you should not take sleeping pills without consulting your doctor. Sometimes, medics recommend the medication as a temporary solution in stress situations, such as before an exam or a crucial session. Although the search risk for the new drugs is not as high as for old ones, you should not take the drugs for more than two weeks in a row. The shorter, the better!
The chemistry manipulates the brain
Sleep pills are so-called psychotropic drugs: The substances act in the brain and adjust some control circuits there. Conventional sleeping pills, for example the so-called benzodiazepines, strongly affect brain chemistry. Who has swallowed the drug, inevitably falls away.
Modern medicines do not enforce sleep, they only stimulate it: it is easier to fall asleep. These substances also interfere with natural sleep chemistry. When we are awake, the brain is running at full speed. To fall asleep, it has to shut down . Responsible for this is mainly the body’s brain messenger gamma-amino-butyric acid, short GABA. Modern sleeping pills increase the effect of GABA. Doctors today usually prescribe the so-called non-benzodiazepines. They are not as fast addictive as conventional sleeping pills.
There are various medications that are – depending on the type of sleep disorder – differently good. For example, if you are unable to fall asleep well, your GP will prescribe you tablets that your body can quickly degrade. If you can not sleep through the night, or you wake up too early in the morning, substances that work for more than five hours help.
But long-term chemistry has side effects: the next day you may feel dizzy and sleepy. Your ability to respond may be limited, then you should not drive a car. You should also expect the consequences if the doctor prescribes you a low dose of antidepressant for a restless night. These drugs, originally developed for the mentally ill, can cause sleep, but have more side effects than new sleeping pills .
Sleeping pills inhibit sleep
Such an artificial, like a natural dream, is never artificial. For chemicals worsen the sleep architecture . Benzodiazepines suppress a particularly quiet deep sleep , and REM sleep phases — bright times — become shorter. Antidepressants, depressants, only shorten REM sleep, they do not change the deep sleep that is so important for learning . Since sleeping pills can destroy the structure of sleep and addiction, experts advise against it.
Therefore, the doctor prescribing the drug for you should talk with you for half an hour. He should make sure that your insomnia has other reasons than, for example, coffee in the afternoon or alcohol in the evening. Maybe your problem is depression. If the doctor gives you a prescription in five minutes and no questions asked, you should be skeptical. This also applies if he does not offer anything else on this issue, such as relaxation exercises or more healthy living and sleeping habits .
If you have been taking medication for a week, you should talk to your doctor again. If it works well, there are side effects, maybe another medicine would be better, the right dose? Older people, for example, with less sleeping pills, because their metabolism is slower. Benzodiazepines should not be taken: these substances relax the muscles strongly, so there is a risk of falling.
If you are taking sleeping pills, you should not drink alcohol. People with liver disease should know that drugs can cause them great harm. Taboos are substances for pregnant women who are breastfeeding and for people who have ever had addiction problems. Even if you stop breathing at night , you should not swallow pills. Otherwise, you will suffocate even worse when you sleep.Sleeping pills is poison to many
If you want to stop using the medicine, you should not do it all of a sudden overnight. Slowly reduce the dose, otherwise you may suffer from abstinence syndrome, which can be alleviated only by starting again with pills. This so-called rebound effect is characteristic of drug addicts. It can be prevented by walking in small steps. The longer you take the medicine, the longer will be the withdrawal.
Nature’s benefits: sleeping pills like hops, valerian and lemon balm
For people over 55, a drug containing melatonin has recently been approved . This substance makes our body itself. It releases the hormone in the dark, so we get tired in the evening. Synthetically produced melatonin is probably not addictive, but you should not take it for a long time.
Whether valerian promotes sleep is not yet proven. Many swear by the grass. One thing is certain: valerian does not destroy the architecture of sleep and does not make one dependent. In any case, its physical effect unfolds only in a few weeks. Only if you firmly believe in the benefit of nature, you better sleep before. Because sleep is a matter of expectation and relationship: if you firmly believe that valerian, hops and lemon balm help, then you sleep well with it.