The Daily Dose -March 5th - The Dangers of Sleeping Pills & Herbal Remedies for Sleep
The dangers of sleeping pills and herbal remedies for sleep
Good sleep is crucial to our health and many people have a trouble sleeping. During good, quality sleep our bodies are able to use energy to repair tissue, regenerate and rest. We are told that 8 hours per night is needed. Studies show that we do not necessarily need those 8 hours in one go, as long as we get them throughout the day. There is some truth to this, although anytime we sleep, the nature of sleep that does us good is deep sleep and that only comes after a sufficient period of REM sleep. Supposing 8 hours were enough, what happens if you sleep poorly or just not enough for an extended period of time? The reality is that we accumulate a sleep debt over time and when we do not get enough sleep we do not get enough repair time and we age quicker and get sicker more often. Based upon surveys this is a worldwide issue. Statistics show that 20% or 1 out of every 5 people in the US and UK, get only 5 hours of sleep a night. This means that in an average week these people are accumulating a 21 plus hour sleep debt with obvious consequences for their health. The consequences of a lack of sleep are not only physical but also mental and emotional with people becoming more anxious, depressed and irritable. Cancer rates among those who lack sleep are 30% higher than those who sleep well. Diabetes and heart disease also increase markedly in those who do not get sufficient sleep. Not surprisingly the incidence of earlier mortality is much higher in those who do not sleep well.
When it comes to solutions for poor sleep, sleeping pills have become the norm, with many adverse consequences, ranging from irritability and mood swings to higher rates of chronic disease. On a personal level, my wife has spoken to me of colleagues at work who have gone sleep walking on a common sleep aid Ambien. One of her colleagues fell in a drainage ditch and dies. Another was found walking stark naked in public areas of a hotel, while others almost burned their apartment down. Some good commonsense natural solutions for sleep that work are the following; avoid computer work and TV watching in your bedroom, eat 3 hours before bedtime, drink plenty of water but stop a couple of hours before sleep, keep your room dark because light stimulates hormone production that keeps us awake. Certain herbs are very beneficial for sleep such as passionflower, linden flower, chamomile, valerian root etc… Follow this advice and your sleep should improve markedly!