Many people struggle with getting enough quality sleep each night. Many techniques exist to help people deal with these problems, and one of the more popular modern approaches entails using sleep medications.
These treatments are usually immediately effective at removing people’s symptoms, but they pose many long-term health risks that are often ignored.
They are often prescribed by sleep specialists who emphasize a pharmaceutical approach to medicine rather than a more holistic perspective on health.
Why You Should Avoid Using Sleep Meds if Possible
In this article, we discuss 3 cons of using sleep aid medications, emphasizing how various lifestyle adjustments are often more effective at curbing sleep problems.
Going with holistic methods are usually a more permanent solution and will give you better rest in the long term.
Sleep Meds Can be Very Expensive
Before we even dive into the science of sleeping medicines, it should be noted that these aids aren’t free, unlike lifestyle changes.
Depending on the drug that you are prescribed and the insurance plan you have, you might have to pay a slight copay for each bottle that you buy. While this might seem insignificant at first, it will add up over time, especially if you take the medicine every night.
Over the course of a lifetime, that could easily mean thousands of dollars lost. In fact, its predicted that in the US alone, sleep medications are a 50-billion-dollar industry.
Just think of all the ways we can redistribute that wealth!
Sleep Medications are Unsustainable in the Long Run
Even if the sleep medicine costs you nothing, it still costs the insurance companies something, and that means someone has to pay for it.
This reflects the costs of producing the medicine, which is often done by large corporations who engage in unsustainable processes to maximize profit. By using a sleep medicine, it is very likely that you are supporting unsustainable production methods that can harm our environment.
Also, taking sleep medicine is unsustainable on an even more personal level.
Whenever we become dependent upon something for health, it actually ends up interfering with our health over time.
True health, it is often said, entails complete liberation from attachment. It means relying upon the body’s natural wisdom, not the mechanisms of a foreign drug. Sleep medicine is unsustainable unless you plan on taking it for the rest of your life.
The body should be self-sufficient. Our internal circadian clock developed in order to facilitate wakefulness and sleepiness at the appropriate times. Thus, when its dark out, we begin to produce melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep cycle.
Yet, when we take sleep drugs, we introduce a foreign compound into our body that induces sleep. We no longer rely on the wiser continuum of our evolution, and instead rely on a modern drug with at most 50 years of research.
Potential for Addiction and Abuse
The most significant drawback to taking sleeping medicine is how addictive these substances are.
Benzodiazepines, one of the most commonly prescribed forms of sleep aid, carry a high potential for abuse, and many people report needing more per night over time.
In addition, sleep medicine often focuses solely on undesirable symptoms rather than the underlying causes of our problems. Thus, by ignoring the actual root of the problem, they cause an imbalance in the body. This leads to various side effects, like depression, anxiety, and excessive sleepiness.
Thus, relying on sleep medicine might help you fall asleep at night, but it might not give you the outcome you ultimately desire, which is a state of perfect health and energy.
Once people using sleep aids realize this, they often deal with the undesirable side effects by abusing the sleep aids even more. This creates a vicious cycle of dependency that exacerbates symptoms and causes long-term complications like heart problems and diabetes.
Our Final thoughts on Sleep Medicine
While sleep medicine is certainly effective at inducing sleep, we think that sleep health entails more than just falling asleep. In particular, sleep health entails falling asleep according to our natural rhythms, and this is disrupted when we use sedative drugs that are fast-acting.
More importantly, sleep difficulties are often combined with other disorders like depression and anxiety. Thus, using a pharmaceutical drug will only address one element of the problem, which could potentially exacerbate your symptoms.
If you can’t sleep because you are depressed, then you will remain in a state of imbalance until the underlying depression is addressed, regardless of how many pills you pop.
Thus, we recommend that people considering sleep medicine really reflect on what is causing their sleep difficulties. This kind of honest evaluation could be beneficial in the long-term.
Ultimately, it is your birthright as a human to experience healthy, restorative, deep sleep.
As long as you focus on being as healthy as possible, you shouldn’t need sleep medicine. Even though sleep medicine will make you fall asleep, the sleep is of a much lower quality and will not provide you with energy and balance.*
*”The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment and diagnosis.”
Feature image via American Sleep Medicine