Over 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from insomnia, that is, from being unable to fall asleep and stay asleep for as many hours as the brain and body requires. Two forms of insomnia trouble us nightly. The most common is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea accounts for at least two thirds of all cases of insomnia. It is a disruption of sleep rather than an inability to fall asleep. In sleep, the muscles relax. The soft muscles of the throat and esophagus for most people retain some firmness, but those of an apnea suffer relax completely, and the relaxed muscles close off the passage of air to the lungs. The deprivation of air immediately wakes the apnea sufferer, and this can happen about 100 times throughout the night! This purely physiological problem is easily solved by inserting a device into the throat to keep the air passage open. The treatment doesn’t require sleeping medicine.
Not so with those who have what is called psychophysical insomnia. For those with this condition, falling asleep and then sleeping for seven to nine hours a night without waking is the problem. People with psychophysical insomnia will lie down to sleep only to find that their consciousness remains as alert as it was during the day. They may be occupied with recurrent or new thoughts, images and emotions that they simply cannot dispel. If the problem is only psychological, meditative techniques might be employed to take control of the mind. These techniques might require the person to start by concentrating on each part of the body, thinking to relax each part as they hold it in focus. Once the body is relaxed, concentration can then be focused on some imaginary image – a spot of dark blue light will do. The meditation requires the person to strike down any other image, aural or visual, that comes to mind. This concentration on a dark image stills the mind and, hopefully, allows the ‘sandman’ to slip in. A further elaboration on the meditation technique calls for the person to move from concentrating on an image to concentrating on darkness within the mind. While meditation works for many, it takes time to master, and in the meantime, you’re still unable to sleep.
If your insomnia persists, night after night, the consequences can be the typical one for those who even have occasional insomnia: you don’t get enough sleep and feel tired and in a daze, foggy, groggy and sleepy the next day. If this goes on night after night, depression may soon result. Sleepiness is a dangerous condition when what you do during the day – drive a car, care for children, operate heavy equipment – can result in injury or death if full concentration is not given to the task. One of the leading causes of automobile accidents is drivers falling asleep at the wheel. This costs insurance companies millions each year. Thousands of people have been injured and killed because someone suffered from insomnia and continued to drive. Insomnia has serious consequences that cannot be ignored.
A prescribed sleeping medicine may be the answer. Remedies for insomnia have been around for centuries, but science has produced remedies that are effective and safe. Our bodies are basically chemical entities and pharmacology is the application of chemistry to the problems of the human body. Sleeping medicine has only become better since modern chemistry took center stage. Early sleeping medicine was highly addictive, but today’s sleeping medicine has been developed to be non-addictive. If taken as prescribed, sleeping medicine is safe and effective and poses no danger to the patient. Taking it will not only help you sleep, but may save you and society money, and perhaps save you and others injury or death. Be on the safe side. Take your sleeping pill as prescribed.