Is it possible to find the best way to fight insomnia? It would seem that it could be simpler than using what medicine has in its arsenal against this powerful ailment – sleeping pills? Having taken one small pill, we are immersed in a sweet and long sleep. But do we know what such a struggle with insomnia is fraught with?
In humans, five phases of normal sleep are distinguished. The first phase is the stage of falling asleep or, as it is otherwise called, nap. This is a transition from wakefulness to sleep, which usually lasts 10-15 minutes. It is she who is one of the main causes of sleep disorders. The second stage is the shallow slow sleep phase. This phase is the longest, occupies almost half of the total duration of sleep. The third and fourth are the phases of the deepest slowest sleep. But for us, the fifth stage is most interesting – REM sleep.
At this stage, rapid eye movements, fluctuations in the frequency of respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, increased cerebral blood flow are noted. At the same time, skeletal muscles are significantly relaxed. In this stage, a person dreams. In total, 4-6 cycles of alternating slow and fast sleep pass during the night. Researchers agree that both phases (fast and slow) play a big role for a good rest.
Many people are worried about sleep problems. Some argue that they did not sleep a wink all night, but, as a rule, their subjective assessment of the duration and quality of sleep has nothing to do with reality. Therefore, we will consider the use of sleeping pills in conditions associated with patients’ complaints of sleep that does not bring satisfaction.
The duration of insomnia can be divided into five categories: episodic, short-term and chronic.
Occasional insomnia occurs in response to emotional events in a person’s life: experiences, conflicts, upcoming important events. Also, external factors that prevent falling asleep, such as noise, strong lighting, an unusual place, change of time zones, can have this condition.
With this condition, a person is able to cope on his own, without resorting to medication. Relaxation techniques, that is, complete relaxation of the body, are excellent.
Short-term insomnia is associated with various psycho-traumatic conditions: death of loved ones, unemployment and other similar problems. Usually it lasts up to three weeks. It is necessary to take sleeping pills.
If insomnia lasts more than three weeks, then most often it becomes chronic. Experts suggest that it is based on unconscious anxiety by the person himself or the absence of normal conditions for sleep. Often it develops after the withdrawal of sleeping pills. This condition is corrected under the supervision of a psychotherapist with the help of tranquilizers and antipsychotics.
There are many substances used for sleep disturbance.
• Narcotic – a drug that causes drowsiness, sleep, and also fainting,
in combination with anesthesia.
• Sleeping pills – a drug that causes sleep.
• Sedative – used to calm, relax, reduce internal stress, the condition can go into sleep.
• Tranquilizers – relieve anxiety without changing consciousness; in small doses act as sedatives.
• Antipsychotics – powerful tranquilizers, used for hallucinations, delusions, psychomotor agitation.
A condition that occurs under the influence of sleeping pills is very different from natural sleep. The most pronounced changes in the phase structure of sleep, most often the duration of REM sleep is shortened, and slow lengthens. In this regard, in the morning a person is disturbed by a state of depression, drowsiness during the day, despite the fact that he slept all night.
During the use of sleeping pills, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the body. Because almost always there are side effects that depend on the dose and on the duration of administration.
A side effect of sleeping pills can be a violation of the liver and kidneys, quite rarely, but still difficulty breathing. After 2-3 weeks, the medicine simply ceases to act, each time a larger dose is required.
The daily intake of therapeutic doses of sleeping pills after a few months causes psychological and physical dependence. In some European countries, patients who take sleeping pills for 6 months are registered as drug addicts. Since after 3 months of deprivation of a person sleeping pills, a severe, with psychosis, withdrawal syndrome develops, or, as it is otherwise called, a hangover.
Given these, as well as many other negative qualities of sleeping pills, people are currently trying to find a replacement for them. According to many doctors, regular walks in the fresh air, the absence of strong irritants, and also sex before bedtime are a good substitute for sleeping pills.