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What are some risks of sleep medications?

Dr. Pina LoGiudice, LAc, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
In 2008, over 56 million sleep medications were prescribed in the United States, and most experts believe the stress from worldwide economic challenges have only increased these numbers. While these pills can help us fall and stay asleep, it is known that these medications do not allow the body to fall into the deep phases of sleep that allow for the best health benefits sleep can give us. It is also well known that all of these medications have a risk of dependence and withdrawal effects, which can make them hard to stop using.

Most alarming, a large study of 30,000 people published in the British Medical Journal found a 300% increase in deaths in people who took fewer than 18 sleeping pills a year (less than two a month). Higher doses were linked to a greater than 500% increase in death. The authors of this study concluded that these sleeping drugs “may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone.”
Some of the risks involved with sleep medication include dependency, depression, dizziness and light-headedness, which can lead to a loss of coordination and falls. With prolonged used there can be withdrawal symptoms if discontinued suddenly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.