In today’s world, filled with speeds and problems, such concepts as stress and insomnia are familiar, perhaps, to everyone. Arising, often from scratch, they are invariably accompanied by a painful search for deliverance, and therefore more and more people frivolously resort to the help of sleeping pills, often without thinking about the possible negative consequences. Meanwhile, a sleeping pill is a medicine that, in fact , causes a person to have a state close to natural sleep, providing its depth and duration, but often without eliminating the true causes  insomnia. This is due to the fact that such drugs have an inhibitory effect on various parts of the human central nervous system. The use of small doses of sleeping pills has a sedative (or sedative) effect, but it is better not to overdo it with it.

The ancients treated insomnia with alcohol. Yes, indeed, the ethanol contained in alcohol, after a short period of excitement, has an inhibitory effect on the nervous system. It is known that about 1000 BC. e. in India it was even used as a general anesthetic. The Assyrians used belladonna for these purposes, the Egyptians – opium , but it is difficult to attribute them to full-fledged hypnotics. 

At the beginning of the 19th century, a mixture of opium vapors and hashish was used as anesthesia in Germany, and soon morphine was discovered , which, as you know, has no beneficial effect on the body. 

In 1826, the first synthetic progenitors of sleeping pills, bromides , were created . The bromine salts based on them had a toxic effect due to a long period of elimination from the body, causing all kinds of rashes, allergies, conjunctivitis, depression and a number of other adverse effects. The boom in bromism in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century triggered a wave of bans on the use of bromides and bromoureides in many countries, which are still in effect today. 

Since 1903, barbiturates , derivatives of barbituric acid, which are classified as heavy drugs, have occupied prominent positions on the fronts of the fight against insomnia . This is due to the fact that such drugs have a number of side effects on the internal organs, and also cause strong alcohol dependence and do not work well with some other drugs taken at the same time. Today, barbiturates are increasingly being replaced by less toxic drugs and are only prescribed for severe chronic sleep disorders. In our country, phenobarbital, cyclobarbetal and reladorm are mainly used .  

Appeared in the 50-ies piperidinodiony on the one hand is almost twice less toxic than barbiturates, they were soon banned in the tragic glory incoming thalidomide component. The use of these sleeping pills by pregnant women led to the mass birth of physically handicapped children, which caused the natural disgrace. In Russia, only glutethimide ( noxidone ) is used from this group .  

Since the 60s of the last century, benzodiazepines , which have a pronounced hypnotic and sedative effect, and are much less toxic than other brethren, have entered the use . These hypnotics have received a wider range of uses due to the above-described advantages, however, side effects on the body and addiction to them with increasing doses are still present. 

Application and consequences

In the 21st century, when all sane people are familiar with the sad consequences of the use of sleeping pills, very unambiguous requirements have been put forward for modern means:

  • sleeping pills should provide natural healthy sleep;
  • the use of sleeping pills should not endanger human life and health;
  • side effects of sleeping pills should be absent or tends to a minimum;
  • sleeping pills should not be addictive or addictive.

Unfortunately, today there are no drugs that satisfy all these conditions. Despite the fact that modern benzodiazepines have a milder effect on the human body in comparison with barbiturates, they still do not meet the requirements. The fact is that many of the currently used drugs modify the very structure of sleep, while ideally it should not differ from natural sleep. Some sleep phases are suppressed, largely as a result of the use of barbiturates, as a result of which the next day a person may feel severe, prolonged sleepiness and decreased mental performance. Sometimes people are not aware of the inhibition that manifests itself under the influence of drugs, which can lead to negative and even dangerous consequences (cases of car accidents have been noted). Sleep cycles tend to lengthen after medication is stopped, thus shortening the rest, which can ultimately lead to more serious disruption and illness. Sleep in this situation becomes for a while more superficial, which some patients cannot withstand, again returning to taking sleeping pills and thus falling into an even stronger dependence.

Doctors warn us: the effect of such a powerful agent as a sleeping pill cannot and until the effect on the mechanism of sleep is limited. It affects the health of internal organs, including having a serious effect on brain function, so it is better to take medications not systematically, and if possible, completely exclude their use.

It is important for the patient to understand the root of the problem causing insomnia and not treat sleeping pills as a medicine. This is just a temporary relief from suffering, not a panacea.

Before resorting to drug treatment, make sure it is necessary again and again. Insomnia can often be caused by anxiety or stress , which can be relieved without going to extremes. Here are some simple tips: 

  • walk before going to bed, ventilate the room 30 minutes before bedtime, and it is better to leave the window ajar;  
  • take care of the comfort and hygiene of sleep: the bed should be soft, linen pleasant to the body and fresh; 
  • pay attention to the lighting in the bedroom: it should not be bright; 
  • observe the diet: do not eat abundantly shortly before bedtime. You can drink a glass of warm milk with honey – it perfectly relaxes; 
  • take a warm bath to relieve muscle tension;  
  • try not to think about problems at night looking, tune in a positive way.

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