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Restless nights tossing and turning is a daily routine many people face. Many people have different methods for solving this issue such as drinking tea before bed, drinking alcohol, or even simply staying up. However, probably the simplest and easiest method is over-the-counter sleeping pills. These little pills can be stored at the bedside and easily taken when needed. Although the effectiveness of these is uncertain, what is certain are the underlying side effects and health issues that correspond. People who do not struggle with sleep deprivation or lack of sleep will never know the how bad it can be. They offer simple yet ineffective solutions as to what the problem can be. “Just close your eyes and fall asleep” or “watch t. v and fall asleep”, if only it were that easy. Instead of sleeping pills, everyone who has trouble sleeping should smoke marijuana and that should make them sleep like a baby. Marijuana shall be delivered every day with your daily mail even on Sundays and shall be paid for through taxes. Once this plan goes into effect, everyone in America will get plenty of sleep and be productive citizens as well as at their job; making America great again. Wouldn’t that be great? The answer to America’s sleep deprivation problem is a plant.
Too bad it would not be possible, not with all the “atrocious” things the news stations feed to you about Marijuana. However, they hardly inform you about the side effects of over the counter drugs, such as sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are effective, but nothing is 100% effective. They are convenient and get the job done somewhat, but what else does it do to your body? Those full-of-chemicals-and-additive pills can be habit-forming and cause the user to be reliant on them in order to sleep and have been found to be ineffective in providing lasting relief. As humans, we strive for good sleep; good quality sleep has been shown to improve cognitive performance, memory, mood, and even vigilance. With insomnia affecting millions per year, the need for easy, convenient drugs are necessary. However, when was the last time you checked the side effects? The chemicals used? Probably never. So long as you get your eight hours of sleep, nothing else matters. People feel the urge to take these pills and suppress the issue rather than deal with it. Sufferers take sleeping medication because of everything they hear on the news and t. v. , “insomnia is a thing of the past” or “can’t sleep? Try this” Yet, these ads hardly inform you about side effects or risk with taking the medication. The big pharmaceutical companies care about one thing and one thing only and it is not your well being; all we are is money in their deep pockets. Sufferers fear for their lives; they do not want to die of a vicious blend of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. Big pharmaceuticals push constant fear to insomnia sufferers that lack of sleep is seriously bad for their health and action is needed as soon as possible. Like everything we do in our daily lives, there are pros and cons for just about everything.
One specific con of relying on sleeping medication is the fact that they can become habit forming and cause the user to become addicted. The medication makes the user constantly rely on suppressing the issue. The user is basically trading their overall well-being for sleep. On top of being habit forming, the constant doses of medication increase the risk of cancer, particularly skin cancer; the chemicals in the pills are clastogenic, meaning they can break down chromosomes and the breaking of chromosomes are known to cause cancer. Another reason why these sleeping medications are so popular is that of their low cost. The pills sell for about $5 a pop and can be found in just about every kind of store. The user gets to sleep at the little cost of only $5. Amazing! $5 and a couple years off your life! No big deal. Before you go driving to your local stores, know the potential danger you pose to yourself. One specific type of sleeping pill is Melatonin pills. Melatonin pills are quite popular, mainly for children to help them sleep and to combat jet lag. The kids do not know any better the reply on the adult to make the right decision for them and they are failing them by relying on melatonin pills as a way of putting children to sleep. A study from 2014 found that the effectiveness of melatonin as a way to prevent jet lag as “weak”, basically, melatonin pills are as effective as turning 180 degrees in bed.
Another type and perhaps the most popular type of sleeping medication is Ambien. Introduced in 1993, it was thought to be a miracle, as it seemed to promote sleep without any known side effects. The war on insomnia was about to be won and people everywhere would be able to sleep again: only if it was that simple. It was later found out the Ambien causes some users to do strange things at night, such as acting out dreams, eating food with no memory, even driving and having sex with no recollection the next day. There has yet to be an effective, yet relatively safe sleeping medication, so use at your own risk. Forget short-term effects, what about in the long term?
Sleeping medications are ineffective in providing lasting relief from insomnia. After a few months, the effectiveness begins to decline; resulting in taking higher doses to get the same result. However, the higher dosages build your tolerance and a higher dosage is needed to produce the same results. If the constant need for high doses persists, the user can expect to be taking pills every day and always be dependent on it. This can become a major problem as the user is so dependent on drugs to sleep that he/she can not sleep without it. If large doses are constantly needed, it is safe to say that being punched in the face and knocked out is better for your health than taking all those pills. The dangers of taking sleeping pills are endless and as research continues people should expect to hear more about potential dangers. A new study found that people over 65 who have taken the sleeping drug Ambien had a 50% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and that they are five-times more likely to die sooner than someone who has not taken it. With all these risks and dangers, people would expect to see results. WRONG! Actually, it is not totally wrong, a study by the US National Institute of Health found that patients taking sleeping pills fell asleep on average 12 minutes faster and stayed asleep only 11 minutes longer than someone who had not taken any medication. Are twenty-three minutes of sleep worth your health? Is insomnia all in your head? It may be. Possibly the only pro in taking sleeping medications is that it is easily accessible and provides temporary relief, but what if it is actually all in your head?
According to a study done by researchers from the US and UK, half the benefits from taking sleeping pills comes from the placebo effect – where people are able to sleep even though they were given a “dummy” drug. So after all, the so-called miracle pill may very well be a scam. Sleeping pills have been shown to help people fall asleep faster, but by mear minutes. Do not risk your well being for mear minutes. Newer sleeping pills like Ambien promise to make you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. However, Ambiens’ effectiveness was called into question and as of last 2014, it was no longer considered a reliable option for chronic insomnia. Sleeping pills have always been a topic of debate: the benefits they pose have always been questioned as well as their effectiveness. The truth about sleeping pills is that they provide little to no benefits and a whole lot of problems whether they be short term or long term. Interestingly, sleeping pills have been found to also have next-day dangers. A recent study has found that taking sleeping pills the night before may cause lingering drowsiness the next day, which leads to a higher number of car accidents by as much as two times. If you are going to use sleeping pills, at least know what can happen – how it can affect you. Big pharmaceuticals do actually tell the consumers the risk because they do not want to deal with lawsuits, but they say it so fast it is basically impossible to fully be understood by the naked ear, basically making the warning useless.
With all the dangers we face in our daily lives, why add on more by taking sleeping pills? Are we not in enough danger as it is? The minimal benefits of sleeping pills are heavily outweighed by the overwhelming risk. The fact that numerous studies have found the pills to be ineffective should be reason enough to stay away, but if that does not keep you away, the potential to become addicted, the increased risk of cancer, and all the other dangers should. There are many other ways to get sleep without the harmful effects of drugs. The reason why these drugs are so popular is that people only want fast and easy relief. Little do they know that they may be making it worse by not properly treating the problem. Maybe one day they will come out with a truly effective and safe pill, but as of now no matter what you see on t. v. or hear in the news, there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ pill.
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