Got insomnia? Here! Take a sleeping pill – it will help you sleep better. You’ll wake up refreshed and invigorated – but at what cost?
Without a doubt, prescription sleeping pills can help you get that much-needed slumber. Popular brands like Ambien, Sonata, Silenor, and Lunesta increase sleep time. Benzodiazepines like Valium, Ativan, Restoril, and Valium can not only induce sleep but also prevent night terrors as well. It also has the ability to control sleepwalking.
You can even take common over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl for your insomnia. They produce sedative effects and cause you to feel drowsy and sleepy.
While these drugs help, you should know that they also carry some risks. They may work for a while, but eventually, you’ll develop tolerance and will need a higher dose. You’re also increasing your risks of developing medical problems.
Your body needs at least seven to nine hours of sleep. After all, it is during sleep that your body starts healing and recovering from stress and illnesses. But if you can’t be on long-term sleeping pills, what then can you do to beat insomnia?
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
If going one night without a proper sleep makes you groggy, tired, and irritated, just imagine what chronic sleep deprivation will do to you in weeks or months?
According to the National Institute of Health, sleep deprivation causes physical, mental, and emotional problems.
You feel tired and sleepy during the day. It’s also very common for you to experience micro-sleeps. These are brief and temporary episodes of falling asleep while you’re awake. They typically last a few seconds to a couple of seconds. Micro-sleep episodes are dangerous. It increases your risks of getting into an accident since it slows down your reflexes, concentration, eye-hand-coordination, and alertness. It also affects your reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving skills.
Prolonged sleep deprivation also has a negative impact on your mood. You’re easily irritated by little things. You become quick-tempered, grumpy, and snappish. All these can cause relationship problems with your loved ones and at work. Sleep deprivation also makes you more prone to depression, anxiety problems, and paranoia.
If your sleep problems aren’t addressed, you increase your risk of developing chronic health problems. Your hunger increases, so you binge on unhealthy foods. This then increases obesity, diabetes, and hypertension risks. If these factors are not controlled, it can lead to heart diseases and stroke.
Sleep deprivation also compromises your immune system. You become more susceptible to common infections like colds and flu. A weakened immune system won’t be able to properly protect you from diseases and illnesses.
What are the side effects of sleeping pills?
Taking sleeping pills for a prolonged period of time produces adverse side effects. It causes changes in your appetite and bowel movement. It can also cause motor problems such as incoordination and uncontrollable shaking and trembling of one part of your body. Prolonged use also produces tingling and/or burning sensation in the extremities.
More worrisome complex effects include increased sleep problems such as parasomnias, allergic reaction to the drug, dependence, and kidney as well as liver problems.
Are there safer yet effective alternative ways to beat insomnia?
There are actually several prescription-free ways to beat insomnia. However, it will take self-discipline and determination to control your sleep problems.
- Cut down on your alcohol and caffeine intake, especially before bedtime.
Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster at first. But it also easily rouses you from sleep. Once awake, it can prevent you from going back to sleep.
Caffeine, on the other hand, is a brain stimulant that can keep you up at night.
- Reset your internal clock.
This means avoiding daytime naps and developing a proper sleep routine schedule.
If you’re used to taking naps during the day, you need to stop the habit. Instead, skip the naps and save it for bedtime. Yes, you’ll probably feel sleepy throughout the day. But you’ll be able to fall asleep faster at night.
While you’re skipping your daytime naps, try to develop a good sleep habit. This means going to bed at 9:30 pm, for example, and waking up at about 6:30 am. This may be quite difficult to achieve at first. But your body will get used to the pattern.
Of note, make your room conducive to sleeping. It should be clean, fresh-smelling, quiet, and dark. The room temperature should be comfortable as well.
- Start on a healthy diet.
Avoid sweet and salty snacks and high-carbohydrate foods. It also pays to adopt a “no food two hours before bedtime” rule. But if you’re feeling really hungry, you can snack on healthy foods that promote better sleep. These include figs, prunes, almonds, cherries, and walnuts.
You also need to incorporate turkey, oatmeal, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon into your diet. For juices and beverages, try tart cherry juice, milk, chamomile tea, and passionflower tea.
These foods and drinks contain melatonin and antioxidants. According to one study, melatonin improves sleep, boosts the immune system, and protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Our body accumulates free radicals when we’re awake and flushes them out when we’re asleep. High free radical levels can be pretty dangerous. It damages brain cells, and it contributes to the development of chronic medical problems. To counter their effects, you need antioxidants and melatonin which also acts as an antioxidant.
- Start on a good exercise program.
High stress and anxiety levels keep us awake at night. But when you exercise, your cells release endorphins. These chemicals reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and increase sleep efficiency.
You need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. But do your exercise program in the morning though. Endorphins stimulate the brain. So if you exercise before bedtime, it can prevent you from falling asleep.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
Chronic sleep deprivation contributes to dehydration. Dehydration, in turn, affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It also increases your risk of developing kidney stones as well as urinary tract infections. It also causes your melatonin level to drop. So prevent dehydration by keeping yourself hydrated.
Of note though, don’t drink plenty of fluids before bedtime. It will only increase your urge to urinate in the middle of the night and disrupt your sleep. Instead, drink plenty of water during the day.
Can CBD and CBN oil help improve sleep quality?
The legalization of medical cannabis and hemp saw an increase in the number of patients using these products for their sleep problems. So if the abovementioned steps did not help to improve your insomnia, you might want to consider CBD and CBN oil for sleep.
CBD produces several effects that help promote sleep.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Relaxes muscles.
- Controls pain.
- Aids the endocannabinoid system, the function of which is to regulate sleep.
- Strengthens the immune system and helps prevent diseases and illnesses.
CBN also produces the same therapeutic benefits. But in addition to these, CBN produces a powerful sedative effect. In fact, one laboratory test showed that its sedative effect is comparable to diazepam, a type of benzodiazepine.
The effects of chronic insomnia can be pretty devastating to your overall health. So if you’re suffering from insomnia, you need to take action now. CBD or CBN oil, plus the tips mentioned above, can help you beat insomnia without the use of prescription drugs.