Today there is a magic pill for almost everything. You have a headache? Here’s a pill. You are nauseous? Take this. Feeling exhausted? Pop one of these. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she was terrified of all the symptoms she would face from chemotherapy.
To everyone’s surprise, most of the symptoms were lessened with the help of additional medication.
One of her temporary symptoms was insomnia. The doctor prescribed her with sleeping pills to help her relax and sleep through the night for the length of her chemotherapy. This is the beauty of modern medicine. In the midst of sorrow, pain, and sleepless nights, there are medications to help aid the body to perform and function normally. But with the good, also comes the bad. In times of sleep deprivation, people desperately seek out the help of medical professionals for an aid to help them get much-needed rest. Every year, millions of people take sleeping pills without knowing the risks or negatives that come from using them. You know what dangers smoking cigarettes can pose on your body, but do you know that sleeping pills can be just as deadly?
Pills are only for temporary help and people assume returning to normal sleeping habits is a simple process of no longer taking them. Many sleeping pills are extremely addictive and after quitting, withdrawal symptoms can set in. Even without painful withdrawals, starting healthy sleeping habits can become difficult to do without using sleeping aids.
Sleeping pills directly affect the heart and can lead to heart disease. While temporarily taking them, you will experience signs of an increased heart rate. After continual use of pills, increased work on the heart can lead to heart disease or hypertension.
Cancer is becoming a common diagnosis, but if you take sleeping pills a third of the year or more, you have a 35 percent higher risk of getting cancer than someone who has never taken pills. Even taking it temporarily increases your odds.
With the raised risk of cancer and heart disease, it’s no wonder there is an increased risk of death. A study found that those who took sleeping pills were at risk of dying by more than 3.5 times more than people who didn’t take any. That is a high risk!
With over a third of Americans suffering from insomnia and restless nights, sleeping pills are being prescribed left and right. There are periods in my life when sleeping aids sounded amazing! I can’t tell you how many nights I have spent tossing and turning from my mind running wild from life’s stresses. Frustrated, I have mumbled to myself, “I forgot how to sleep!” and a quick pill to ease me into slumber is more than tempting. You have probably experienced similar restless nights in your life. Many times insomnia is caused by other diseases or life situations such as stress, anxiety, grief, or depression. Instead of targeting and treating the cause of the insomnia, doctors prescribe a quick-fix. Unfortunately, sleeping pills can aid only as a short-term fix, but over time they can be incredibly dangerous and deadly. Knowing the risks can help you make a better informed decision about whether sleeping medications are the right choice for you.
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