With 80 definable sleep disorders and over 70 million Americans now having difficulty sleeping, it can be a real challenge to choose the right insomnia treatment that will not only will work for you, but work permanently.
Aside from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, (OSA) the biggest insomnia problem is a dependency on sleep medications. The two largest sleeping pill manufacturers, Sanofi-Aventis (Ambien)
and Sepracor, (Lunesta) sold $ 4.5 billion worth of these meds in 2009 alone. With profits like this at stake, it’s no wonder why doctors, the FDA and the big ad agencies representing Big Pharma have turned a blind eye to the sleeping pill controversy.
It seems that most everyone knows someone with “an Ambien story”, Waking up behind the wheel five hours from home or making a sleep walking sandwich using a can of cat food instead of tuna. We all laugh at these stories, but the facts are that people have died from the dangers of sleeping pills.
One case involved a man in Michigan named Brian Petitpren. Mr. Petitpren, having ingested Ambien and carrying his infant son, walked up a flight of stairs and off the edge of a building. Miraculously, the child survived, but Brian died instantly. (See Fox 11 News broadcast on this story)
. The makers of Ambien have blamed alcohol consumption for this tragedy, but more and more reports of sleep walking, sleep eating and sleep driving without alcohol have come to light.
Over the counter, (OTC) sleep aids also have their problems. Most of these OTC’s have a common ingredient called Diphenhydramine. According the Wikipedia:
“In the 1960s it was found that diphenhydramine inhibits reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This discovery led to a search for viable antidepressants with similar structures and fewer side effects, culminating in the invention of fluoxetine (Prozac), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). A similar search had previously led to the synthesis of the first SSRI zimelidine from brompheniramine, also an antihistamine”. What this means in essence, is that what is in Prozac is probably also in your off the shelf sleeping pill.
The other problem with both prescribed and OTC sleep medicines is tolerance. To maintain the same sleep benefit requires perpetually increasing the dose. Again, according to Wkipedia: “Diphenhydramine has been shown to build tolerance against its sedation effectiveness very quickly, with placebo-like results after a third day of common dosage”.
The facts are that the human brain needs normal healthy sleep to survive and to thrive. There are new sleep disorder remedies now available that don’t involve pills at all. One of which is neurofeedback. The field of EEG biofeedback
has been around for almost 40 years now, and is just coming to maturity as a legitimate treatment for the symptoms of insomnia. And opposed to Ambien or Advil PM, the results don’t require endless increases in dosage and, to the best of our research, is lasting for years without repeated treatment.