Ethics in Medicine

Hazards of sleeping medications

Kristen Sparrow • March 21, 2013


Sleep better with Acupuncture!
Sleep better with Acupuncture!

Informative article on insomnia and ways to mitigate it.  Even I was surprised at  the following facts.  (We’ve discussed insomnia on the blog often since it is a common presenting symptom in my clinic. This newsletter edition last year would be a good starting place).

Recent studies, moreover, associate more serious and even deadly outcomes with sleeping pills.
Adults who use sedative hypnotics were found to have a threefold increased risk of early death, according to a 2012 study. Hypnotics included in the study were zolpidem, temazepam, eszopiclone, zaleplon, other benzodiazepines, barbiturates and sedative antihistamines. The analysis also showed a 35 percent overall increased risk for cancer in users.
Other studies implicate prescription drug abuse as the leading cause of accidental death in our country today, with sedative hypnotics being commonly abused. Unfortunately, I have seen more cases of people using the potentially lethal combination of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Klonopin, and alcohol.

Sleep hygiene

The first step to better sleep without pills is good sleep hygiene. This may include trying a relaxing bedtime routine like taking a bath, establishing a regular wake-up time, avoiding stimulants (caffeine or nicotine), exercising regularly but not in the evening, and avoiding late naps, fluids or eating close to bedtime…