When I read insomnia forums, reddit, or just talk online to people who have trouble sleeping, I notice that an insane amount of people have done sleeping pills. These people are constantly talking about their daily dose of Benedryl, zzzQuil, Lunesta or whatever. And often, these people are still as anxious about their sleep like they were when they weren’t using them.
And then suddenly, the pill stops working. And what happens then? They freak the hell out.
OH NO WHAT NOW!??? I NEED TO SLEEP HELP ME MY PILLS DON’T WORK ANYMORE! I’M GONNA DIEEEEEE!
And then they’re off again to their doctors, demanding some new kind of magic pill. Which helps, for a while. And the cycle continues.
Let me tell it to you clearly people: SLEEPING PILLS DON’T WORK!
All sleeping pills do is knock you out. Maybe you should just bang your head against the door. It’s cheaper, and I don’t think banging your head ever stops working. (okay, there’s the brain damage, but hey, a small price to pay for good sleep, right?)
Okay, seriously. I get it. You have insomnia and you are desperate. You can’t sleep and don’t know what to do. You lie awake anxious all night long, and no one seems to understand your problem.
When you tell others about your plight, people just reply ‘Just go to sleep already, it’s not that hard’.
As if you’re not sleeping on purpose.
And in such a situation, a pill that causes you to fall asleep seems like a great solution.
Only, the thing is, sleeping pills don’t really cause you to fall asleep. Sleep is a specific biological process, in which your brain goes through a certain amount of sleep cycles, like REM sleep, in which memory is consolidated. And another part of sleep is spent regenerating the cells in your body from the stressors it underwent during the day. Rejuvenation.
Now, when you’re taking sleeping pills, this doesn’t happen. There aren’t any sleeping cycles. There is no healing. You just kind of lie there, unconscious. And your body is missing out on all the restorative benefits of real sleep.
But it’s not that I don’t understand people who take sleeping pills. These pills remove the time spent awake anxious in bed, which is one of the worst things about not being able to sleep. So sleeping pills are more of a kind of ‘remove the worry’pills. And they make you think you really slept, which takes a load off of your mind.
But is this really a valid long term solution? Do you want to keep taking these pills all your life, until the day you die or until insomnia magically will go away on its own? (which will never happen unless you change your lifestyle habits, believe me)
Let me tell you one thing: modern Western lifestyle habits are fundamentally incompatible with good sleep. The human body is regulated by a hormonal rhythm. These hormones tell your body what to do at any given moment in a day.
Therefore, if you give your body the right signals, the right input, this hormonal rhythm will be strengthened, and your body will get the right signals at the right time. And then, it won’t be a matter of not being able to sleep. No, it will be a matter of not being able to stay awake.
When your body dumps these powerful sleep hormones in your bloodstream, you will feel sleepy automatically.
A common Western attitude is also that pills help cure everything. This is called the allopathic approach. But no pill currently existing is able to induce this hormonal rhythm. Only the right environmental signals can.
That is why you need to dump those pills. All they do is create an illusion of sleep. I would say, if you think pills can really make you properly sleep, you’re living in a dream. Or no, not a dream, more of a nightmare.
Sleeping pills are an easy way out. They’re not the right way.
Sleeping pills are snake oil cures. Nothing more than that.
How hard it may be: stop taking sleeping pills, and work on good lifestyle and circadian habits instead. If you don’t know what kind of habits you should adopt: keep reading this blog.
Before you go yelling: ‘I can’t do that, my life will suck without those pills, you don’t know what it’s like!’;I had insomnia for years, it was hell, I took a lot of supplements, but never sleeping pills. You can survive without addictive chemicals, believe me.
Your health problems aren’t caused by a deficiency of benzo’s. Nor will using them get rid of them.