Unfortunately, poor sleep seems to be an epidemic in this country. In fact, nearly 31 million people admit to having trouble sleeping during the week. So, what do they do about it? A large percentage of those individuals turn to sleeping pills. The truly devastating part about these statistics is that the medication that is meant to help them sleep can actually be depriving them of the rest that they need.
It has been known for quite some time that sleeping pills can deprive an individual of an adequate amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is the deepest period of sleep. It is also the period of time when the brain is overtaken by dreams. Too little REM sleep can cause many of the same symptoms as too little sleep overall – impaired thought and memory, fatigue, and depression, among other things.
In addition to robbing the body of the necessary REM sleep, sleeping pills have been tied to lymphoma, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, memory loss, and odd sleeping behaviors – sleep walking and sleep eating, for example. Sleep itself is encouraged with the taking of sleeping pills, but the outcome is a great deal of time in the four stages of non-REM sleep and very little time spent in the fifth stage of sleep. Any drug used without abiding by the manufacturer recommendations is a danger to the body. Sleeping pills are not meant to be used for prolonged periods of time. Doctors prescribing in this manner are endangering their patients.
Sleeping pills can be helpful and even necessary in certain instances, but they should only be taken as prescribed. A person should avoid over-the-counter sleep aids unless absolutely necessary and they should not be taken for prolonged periods of time. The side effects are considerable and dangerous. If you or a loved one were injured or suffered as a result of taking sleeping pills, contact a personal injury attorney regarding your rights.