Sleeping Pill 101

By: cathy

Sleep deprivation affects millions of people around the world. Long-term lack of sleep can lead to very serious health problems. A 2000 study conducted by the University of California in San Diego showed that the activities of the brain's prefrontal cortex increased due to sleep deprivation. The research also indicated that the brain region called temporal lobe, which is responsible for language processing, is activated during a verbal learning session among respondents who were well-rested. Those who lacked sleep showed little activity in this brain region. The Harvard Medical Institute also published its research in 2001 about the possible links of sleep deprivation to heart disease.

Clearly, to avoid the hazardous effects of long-term sleep deprivation, a person must do one thing: get some sleep. A person who suffers from lack of sleep or even insomnia often resort to the use of sleeping pills. Others take sleeping pills when traveling since the difference in time zones cause jet lag and the alteration of sleeping patterns.

Lack of sleep, apparently a very common malady in different parts of world, has become a source of enormous profit for the drug companies. Pharmaceutical companies have made millions by catering to the strong demand from a tired, weary, sleep-deprived market. Their products now occupy a niche not only among the insomniacs but also in people with serious emotional problems. Many over the counter sleeping pills are now bought and used to control anxiety and fear. These over the counter sleeping pills come in many shapes and sizes, with each product commanding its own price based on its popularity or “signature drug” status.

Among the most commonly prescribed medications to induce sleep include over the counter sleeping pills such as: Valium ( Diazepam), Unisom, Stilnox, Calm's Forte (herbal products), Compoz, Sominex, among others. These drugs are considered safe and have gained wide public acceptance as a commercial product.

But not all sleeping pills can be purchased over the counter or in your local pharmacy. To purchase some types and brands of sleeping pills, a medical prescription from a doctor is required. These prescription sleeping pills are made from a variety of active ingredients and sold by different drug companies. Since these products do not have the same ingredients and dosage, it is important for a person to consult a doctor before using any sleeping pill.

Research shows that the known side effects of sleeping pills may be very uncomfortable to some individuals, or worse, can even be dangerous to others. The usual side effects of sleeping pills include drowsiness, loss of memory, poor coordination, and slurring in speech. The lethargy that may tend to slow down a busy homemaker who used a sleeping pill may be potentially life threatening to a worker using an industrial-grade chainsaw who is experiencing the side effects of sleeping pills.

Therefore, it is important to have the right and adequate information about medications that induce sleep. Whether these drugs will be used as a means to get some sleep or to control anxiety, one must always consult a doctor before the actual use of these drugs. Aside from medications, a person who has a hard time getting to sleep should also do regular exercise, have a balanced diet, and lead a healthy lifestyle.

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