While many believe hypnotic drugs are the best remedy for insomnia, new research reveals it is only a short-term solution that can cause long-term addiction.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is defined as one's difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 percent of the American population suffers from not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Of those people, 10 percent experience chronic insomnia.
According to Professor Leon Lack, from Flinders University in Australia, lead study author, those who purchase this "bit of sleep" as he calls it, eventually ends up playing the price long-term, which usually results in drug dependency. In Australia nearly one-third have problems with either falling asleep, staying asleep or waking too early and nearly 50,000 of those individuals are chronic insomniacs, Lack reported.
"Sleeping tablets provide short-term relief but when people stop taking them they might have a few bad nights and think they can’t sleep without taking the drug," he said.
For many insomniacs they feel as if their quality of life has diminished, due to the loss of ability of receiving an adequate amount of sleep, which at times can lead to depression.
“But it’s important for people to realise that sleep isn’t just one long, homogenous period of unconsciousness – we go through different stages of sleep," notes Lack, "from a deep sleep which lasts 80 to 90 minutes into a lighter, dreaming sleep, and over the course of a night we experience this pattern three or four times."
Lack advises the best way to prevent insomnia from developing is to practice good sleeping habits, which includes using the bedroom only for sleep, going to bed when tired, getting up if you cannot fall sleep and for those who consistently awake at nights, reducing the amount of time in bed for a couple of weeks will help. Additionally Lack states difficulty sleeping may be caused by a delayed body clock, which can be remedied with morning bright light treatment.
“If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed then get up, don’t lie there awake because that associates the bedroom with frustration and anxiety,” Professor Lack said.
Professor Lack will share his research at the Flinders University Victoria Square, Sleep Well, Live Better—The Steps to Good Sleep.
Published by Medicaldaily.com