Sleeping Pill - Is it just a sedative?

Sleeping Pill - Is it just a sedative?

Have you had trouble sleeping? If you have, has someone prescribed a sleeping pill to you? Have you ever wondered what the active ingredient in a sleeping pill is and whether it does more harm than good?

Millions of people around the world are taking sleeping pills. Disturbed sleep could easily qualify as the most prevalent pandemic of our time. 

Strangely, we don't even notice; we've become so used to it being part of our routine. But how is the sleeping pill helping with sleep? 

Most sleeping pills are sedatives. 

Take diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or doxylamine. Both are sedating antihistamines. 

 Benzodiazepines are medications that slow down the activity of your brain and make you feel like you are sleepy. 

Zopiclone, eszopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem are 'Z-drugs' used to treat insomnia. 

All of these medications have one thing in common: they treat anxiety. Anxiety, which I am simplifying for effect, occurs when your brain finds itself in a hyper-active state. 

So, these medicines try to slow down your brain, thereby promoting better sleep. 

But you might ask: Why are they trying to slow down your brain to make you sleep better? Isn't there a simpler way to do the same thing?

Here are a list of things that slow down your brain. 

First, slow breathing. Breathing slowly regulates the SA node in your heart, slowing it down. A slower breath and a slower heart have already slowed your brain down significantly. 

Next, low lighting and the avoidance of stimulation. I know many people who watch grotesque, macabre movies while trying to fall asleep. 

Stimulation such as this is going to activate your defence mechanism, acting like a stimulant, the exact opposite of what you need. 

The same is true for late night meals, staying out late or being exposed to loud music. Alcohol, by the way, plays the same role as that of your sedative. 

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