Sleeping pills: their advantages, principle of action and possible risks

Sleeping pills are currently represented by preparations of different chemical groups. Barbiturates, which used to be the main sleeping pills for a long time, began to lose their leading importance. At the same time, compounds of the benzodiazepine series are increasingly used.

Barbiturates have a number of disadvantages. The sleep they cause is different from the natural one: they facilitate the onset of sleep (falling asleep), but its structure changes the ratio of the fast (paradoxical, desynchronized) and slow (orthodox, synchronized) sleep phases. Often the dream becomes intermittent, with an abundance of nightmares. After it, there is a long drowsiness, weakness, disruption of coordination of movements, nystagmus and other undesirable phenomena. With repeated use, tolerance develops (habituation), and it is necessary to increase the dose to obtain a hypnotic effect.

The hypnotics of the benzodiazepine group have a certain degree of advantage over barbiturates – they are better tolerated. However, neither by the nature of the caused sleep, nor by side effects they meet the “physiological” requirements. All tranquilizers of the benzodiazepine group have a sedative effect to a certain extent and contribute to the onset of sleep. By the intensity of individual aspects of the action (sedative, anxiolytic, myorelaxing, etc.), different preparations of this group differ among themselves. All of them are connected in the brain tissues with specific benzodiazepine receptors, which are subdivided into subtypes. The main significance for the hypnotic effect is the inhibition of the activity of the cells of the reticular activating system of the brain stem.

The reticular formation, which is a branched network of neurons and nerve fibers, located in the brain stem and responsible for activating the electrical activity of the brain, controls the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Barbiturates and some other medicines suppress the activity of certain areas of the brain, in low doses having a hypnotic effect, and in high doses – a general anesthetic effect.

Alcohol, opiates, antihistamines and other drugs that depress the central nervous system (CNS) have a similar effect. The hypnotic benzodiazepine series and some other sleeping pills do not lead to anesthesia, even at very high doses.

Ambien is one of the most well known remedies for insomnia. The market of sleeping pills radically changed in 1993, when the French company released a new drug Ambien. Ambien acted just like benzodiazepines, but it had fewer side effects. These pills proved to be so safe that many doctors violated the long-term rule not to prescribe to patients medications to treat ordinary insomnia.

Complications and side effects

Since taking barbiturates is accompanied by an abstinence syndrome, a violation of coordination of movements and suppression of reflex activity, certain activities, for example, driving a car should be avoided until the intake completely stops.

Is joint use of sleeping pills and alcohol dangerous before bedtime?

It’s dangerous. Alcohol enhances the effect of hypnotics, deepening their sedative effect, which is fraught with serious complications. A small amount of alcohol taken before bedtime has a strong hypnotic effect but the abuse of alcohol is harmful.

Is it dangerous for children to take sleeping pills?

All medicines, without exception, must be stored in a place inaccessible to children. Due to low body weight, the child’s intake of hypnotics in amounts that are even slightly higher than the therapeutic dose for an adult is deadly. If necessary, hypnotics are still prescribed for children, but only for a short time and with strict adherence to the dosage.

Is the long-term use of sleeping pills harmful?

It is harmful. In connection with the too careless use of hypnotics in the past, many patients acquired dependence on barbiturates. After some time after the start of the drug, the effectiveness of the prescribed dose decreases and the patient needs more and more of it. In addition, sleep caused by sedatives is not as refreshing as natural, so hypnotics are recommended for intake only for a short time: until a doctor identifies the causes of insomnia and eliminates them.

Studies have shown that medications such as Ambien may not improve the quality of sleep and do not increase its duration too much. One study showed that patients taking a real sleeping pill fell asleep only twelve minutes faster than those who drank a placebo and generally slept only eleven minutes longer at night.

So why do so many people take sleeping pills if it does not improve their sleep too much? Part of the answer lies in the widely known placebo effect. Any tablet, even if it contains only sugar, soothes the patient.

However, the sleeping pill has one more effect. Such drugs as Ambien can cause so-called anterograde amnesia. Because of these pills, short-term memory works for a while. For this reason, during treatment with Ambien, it is necessary to go to bed immediately: if you continue to stay awake, you can behave like a sleepwalker, and this is dangerous for life.

Can I give sleeping pills to children?

The theme of sleeping pills for children is very scrupulous. Sleeping pills for children should be given only in extreme cases.

If a child sleeps restlessly, if he or she has any problems with sleep or becomes nervous, irritable – then, perhaps, this is an excuse to go to the doctor. Only doctor decides whether to give the child sleeping pills or not.

Sleeping pills for children under 1 year

When buying soothing herbs or sleeping pills for children, it is necessary to follow the instructions clearly. Many doctors prescribe such drugs as hypnotics, which, as it seems to us, have a very weak effect. But in the instructions for the use of these medications, it is written that these preparations for children under one year cannot be taken. For babies, good sleeping pills can be herbs, such as mint, lemon balm, valerian tincture, and motherwort. A good soothing effect too will have a tincture of chamomile. sleeping pills to children

Sleeping pills for children aged 2-5 years

In this case, the range of sleeping pills is widening. However, herbal infusions still remain safe and effective. Herbal infusions are sold in pharmacies. They include many different herbs, such as licorice root, valerian, dog rose, lavender.

Sleeping pills for children aged 10-12 years

For this category of babies, homeopathy can be used. Doctors prescribe homeopathic remedies often in this age period. It is the time child can have new stressful situations, caused by poor progress in school, relationships in the family and in the classroom, etc. The child simply loses his or her composure, becomes nervous, sleep at night restlessly.

You can also use baths from medicinal herbs as a sedative. Take a bath before bed. It can be a bath with the addition of valerian, oregano, thyme. The child has 20 minutes to lie down in such a bath and his or her sleep will become calm, the mental state will improve.

Before giving a child a sedative or sleeping pills, reconsider the regime of the child’s day. Maybe it will be enough to walk outdoors more, not to cancel evening walks, eat properly and fully, sing lullabies for the night and tell tales, give the child more time, play with him or her, be interested in kid’s success in school, do not allow watching horror movies in the evening.

It is very important to remember that such powerful drugs as Ambien and others cannot be given to children, as they can cause negative irreversible consequences. If none of the light remedies has helped, seek qualified help from a neurologist or psychiatrist: the use of potent drugs is prohibited without the supervision of a doctor and emergency.

The influence of sleeping pills Ambien on the psyche

Psychiatrists warn that taking medications that are designed to treat diseases that a person does not have can be dangerous. Recently there has been an active increase in the number of medicines that are used for other reasons than what is written on their label. People are tempted by some medication for the unique psychological benefits they give, whether it’s calming the nerves or providing an invigorating effect. They do not think that taking drugs that affect the psyche can be dangerous.

Sleep helps the brain regulate emotional memory. But popular sleeping pills violate this mechanism. As a result, people are more drawn to negative memories. This is especially important for patients suffering from:

  • insomnia
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • anxiety.

It was proved: if to speak about emotional memory, brain activity jumps that are noted in a special phase of sleeping process are very significant. Thus, the information is transferred from the short and long-term memory. The remedy enhances the activity of this process. In principle, this feature can be used to correct the state of patients with memory impairment. sleeping pills Ambien

Scientists have tested the effect of Zolpidem and other sleeping pills on emotional memory. Placebo was also used in this study. In the experiment, 28 people aged 18-39 participated. They all slept in a normal regime. Several days passed between taking doses of drugs. This allowed doctors to remove the drugs from the body and get an adequate result.

Participants were shown various images that caused either a negative or a positive emotional reaction, before and after sleep. As a result, people could recall more images that bear a negative color or initiated sexual arousal, just after taking Zolpidem.

Such drugs available in many pharmacies as Ambien, Soma and others are soothing, relaxing the body, communicating with neurotransmitters in the brain. They have a calming effect on the psyche. They are often used to fight insomnia or restless legs syndrome. The drug is sometimes used to get rid of the effects of methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy. Others take it in the evening since after it, unusual and bright dreams appear. These drugs can be addictive. Side effects of taking drugs can be hallucinations and forgetfulness. Doctors advise using alternative agents such as herbal supplements (for example, valerian), and practicing yoga before going to bed to stretch the body and relax the mind.

How do sleeping pills and healthy sleep affect a man’s health?

Many believe that a man can survive anything, except tragedy in the bedroom. Yes, this trouble prevailed over men at all times, but clearly not on a modern scale. If 5-10 years ago, 40-45% of men suffered from problems with potency, today their count is about 52%. The reason for this is overload at work, sedentary lifestyle, poor ecology & low sexual culture. There were also more frequent situations when the decrease in potency was observed not from case to case, but constantly. What leads to this state & how to help yourself in this situation? How does a healthy sleep & taking drugs with a hypnotic effect such as available in pharmacies Ambien affect men’s strength?

In men after 40, the problem with potency is mostly caused by diseases that are maturing by this time: cardiovascular diseases – ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis & hypertension, as well as diabetes mellitus. In the period of exacerbation of the disease, sexuality is reduced as much as possible. They are also getting potency with medicines that treat such pathologies of the body. This destructive effect, as a rule, manifests itself only during the course of treatment & passes after the cessation of therapy. This effect on the potency is provided by barbiturates (hypnotics) & bromine preparations, which are taken as sedatives. Drugs for weight loss also reduce libido, as well as anti-tuberculosis & antitumor drugs. healthy sleep affect a man's health

It is difficult to find a man who could say that he has never encountered a lack of sleep or, conversely, did not feel a sense of shatter from the fact that he slept too long. How to wake up rested and full of strength for a new day? Let’s find out how much a man should sleep in order to wake up rested and not to damage the male health and the level of his libido.

There is a so-called rule of three eights, according to which a person has 8 hours devoted to work, 8 hours to rest, and 8 hours to sleep. Proceeding from this rule, an adult man needs to sleep about 8 hours a day. In fact, everything is not so simple.

With age, as a rule, a person sleeps less and less. Infants are able to sleep for 20 hours a day, older children sleep from 10 to 12 hours, of which 2 hours are daytime sleep. In adolescents, the need for sleep is 8 to 10 hours. Adults generally have 6 to 8 hours of sleep on average. The elderly often fall asleep in just a few hours but they do not need so much strength for the sexual activity.

So, the experts found out how much to sleep for an adult: from 6 to 8 hours per day in order to produce enough testosterone for male energy. If such a regime is constantly broken, chronic lack of sleep develops. Now humanity is lacking sleep. Most part of adult men develop a not very useful habit: to sleep a little during the workweek, and to increase the duration of sleep to 12-13 hours a day on weekends, compensating the lack of sleep. However, this method does not fill the lack of sleep and worsens the situation. In medicine, this phenomenon is called the term “sleepy bulimia”.

The importance of healthy sleep suggests that when problems arise, it is necessary to contact a specialist as soon as possible until the problem becomes critical.

The effect of hypnotics on the heart and the peculiarities of taking medications

Sleeping pills, which are taken by hundreds of thousands of people, increase the risk of a heart attack to 50%. As research has shown, Ambien, available in pharmacies, like many other powerful sleeping pills, is associated with a sharp increase in the number of deadly cardiac abnormalities.

Only four tablets of the standard dosage of Zolpidem (35 milligrams) per year increase the risk by about 20%. If a person takes 60 tablets of sleeping pills a year, the probability increases by 50%. The research done is unique in its kind, because before that no one has made a connection between sleeping pills and problems with the cardiovascular system. The effect of hypnotics

To be 100% honest, experts are still not sure that exactly the sleeping pills cause heart problems. Nevertheless, the study involved more than 5,000 people. The manufacturers of the drug themselves say there are no known side effects of Zolpidem from the side of the heart if the medicine is used for its intended purpose.

Employees of Duke University have proved that women need to sleep longer than men do. The female brain needs more time to rest because of the natural orientation to multitasking. If women do not get enough sleep, there depression develops, and they are constantly angry.

These problems do not affect men who do not sleep. It is known that when there is a lack of sleep, the risk of heart disease, mental abnormalities, and inflammation increases. In women, a lack of sleep can provoke such a strong inflammation that, waking up, they will suffer from real pain. The output is simple – a short sleep during the day.

But you should not sleep more than 90 minutes during the day, otherwise, drowsiness will only increase. During sleep, the cerebral cortex, responsible for thinking, memory, and language, is to be restored. The more a person uses brain resources during the day, the longer he or she needs to sleep. Therefore, additional sleep is shown not only to women but also to men who have hard work.

Zolpidem is a medicine with such side effects as walking in a dream, driving in a dream and sometimes nausea in a dream.

Zolpidem, also known as Ambien, is a hypnotic drug designed as a safe alternative to Valium. In most cases, the medicine works well – you can drink a pill, fall asleep and wake up in the morning without any adventures.

However, some people under the influence of Zolpidem can perform strange actions during sleep. It happened that people, who drank Zolpidem, crashed into something on the car, although they claimed that they were asleep. There are also unique cases of strange behavior, but more often, it has to do with the mental health of the patient and is not associated with the side effects of the drug itself.