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Insomnia Sufferers May Want to Consider Alternative Techniques Before Taking Common Sleeping Pills - Sleep Disorders are Common

March 4th 2006

Insomnia Sufferers May Want to Consider Alternative Techniques Before Taking Common Sleeping Pills - Sleep Disorders are Common

Sleeping Pills

Sleep is incredibly important and untreated sleep disorders can lead to daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease of failure.  Insomnia is a very common condition that can rob an individual of their daytime alertness.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that 25 percent of Americans report a problem with sleep and as many as 10 percent of the population have chronic insomnia.  Insomnia is a condition characterized by a difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.  Sufferers may have difficulty falling asleep, or may often wake up during the night having trouble falling back to sleep.  They may also wake up too early in the morning or feel tired upon waking.

The tired feeling upon waking has been called sleep inertia in a recent study and may actually be normal.  Researchers have characterized this sleep inertia as similar to being drunk.  It is not unusual to be groggy for 10 minutes or so after waking, but a tired feeling all day is not normal.


There are several reasons why a person may experience insomnia, including asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn, pain, medication you are taking, or a substance consumed like alcohol.  Treatments for the these conditions may help alleviate insomnia.

The use of sleeping pills is on the rise.  The ABC News program, World News Tonight, ran a story about the new drugs including Lunesta, Ambien, and Sonata. These drugs are supposed to have few or no side effects, according to the report.  Since there have been no long term studies on these drugs, no one really knows about the long term side effects.


More Americans than ever are taking the new sleeping pills.  There were 42 million prescriptions filled last year, up almost 60% in the past six years.  Some claim that the sharp increase in the use of sleeping pills is the result of marketing.  Drug companies spent 300 million dollars last year in their marketing efforts.

There are other options you may want to try before popping the pills.  The NBC News program, Today, recommended removing such things as your TV and Computer from your bedroom.  The bedroom should be used for sleeping exclusively.  There are also breathing and relaxation exercises you can do.

You may wish to seek the advice of a sleep specialist.  Insomnia could be caused by other underlying diseases such as depression.  The NIH says that alternative methods could reduce the need for sleeping pills in 91 percent of patients.     


Some experts have recommended that if you are unable to sleep after 20 minutes, to get up and leave the bedroom.  Read a book or perform some other activity.  If you find yourself lying awake because of worries, it may help to make a to-do list before going to sleep.  One of the most famous books on the subject of worry is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.  Carnegie suggests developing a written plan to deal with your problems.     

There are many sleep disorders besides insomnia.  Sleep Apnea, snoring, narcolepsy, hypersomnia, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, sleep-related eating disorders, circadian rhythm disruption, parasomnias and psychotic sleep disorders, could also rob a person of their “good nights sleep”.  Visit our special sleep disorders section for information on sleep.
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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books to help you Sleep

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM