Do Sleeping Pills Really Help You Sleep
This episode of DNews is proudly brought toyou by Subaru. More than six million adults in the UnitedStates take a sleeping pill at least once a month before they go to bed at night, andthat number is increasing. But do we even know what they're doing to our brainsé! Hey there friends, Trace here for DNews. Sleepingpills, or more accurately, sleep aids are growing in popularity, but are they helpingéA study from the CDC called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey foundsleep aid use increased in the first decade of this century significantly, with more womenthan men using sleep aids.
Sleep aids come in a variety of types, butmost common are quot;sedative hypnoticsquot; which means it's a pill which mimics being knockedout for a surgical procedure. Benzodiazepines and Nonbenzodiazepines are in this type,they are sometimes called Zdrugs, because they all have Z's in them. Other than these,some people are prescribed antidepressants, or powerful antihistamines. Some of these aids succeed in knocking youout by depressing the central nervous system function, others, like the antihistamine increasedrowsiness. There's a newer drug class of quot;Orexin receptor antagonistsquot; which blocka brain chemical which keeps you aware and
wakeful. Each of these drugs are great forknocking a human out, but bing unconscious isn't SLEEP. Professor Matthew Walker from University ofCalifornia Berkeley told Probably Science if you want to quot;lose consciousness,quot; thesedrugs are fine, but it's not natural sleep; it's simulated sleep. Drugs alter the quot;sleepstructurequot; or natural patterns and rhythms of sleep. When you're sleeping, your brainis active, organizing your day, making dreams and cleaning itself. Most of the newest drugswill allow the brain into REM sleep, but they DON'T allow the brain to go through the fullnatural sleep process, which means the brain
doesn't have a chance to clean up and processmemories from the day before; cementing them for future reference. According to the National Institutes of Health,you should never take sleep aids more than three times in a week, and make sure you addressany other mental health issues like anxiety or depression before taking a sleep aid. Theproblem is many sleep aids are habit forming and accidental overdoses are possible thoughthey're usually not lethal. A popular alternative to drugs is melatonin;a natural hormone which resets your circadian clock. Everyone produces melatonin from thepineal (pihkneeuhl) gland in the middle
of the brain. When the sun drops, melatoninproduction ramps up for 12 hours helping you feel less aware and awake usually startingaround 9 PM. The problem with melatonin PILLS is they're not regulated by the FDA sothe amount of the hormone in the pill isn't standardized. If you take too much, your bodymay get used to higher levels than you naturally produce. This isn't a drug to take willynilly,because it won't MAKE you sleep, it only HELPS you sleep. Scientific tests done with placebosand melatonin found no difference between the two. For people who don't like pills, psychologicalor behavioral training can help encourage
sleep, and has the added benefit of encouragingNATURAL sleep rather than sedation. The training starts with things as simple as cutting caffeinesix hours before bed, and turning off screens three hours before, as well as using redshiftsoftware like Flux to simulate evening sun on your computer screen. Have you ever taken a sleeping pillé Do youhave a bedtime routineé I find simply SAYING the word sleepy makes me more sleepy. isthat weirdé Yeah. I guess it kind of is. One place where you DON'T want to sleep isbehind the wheel, so why not make your car even MORE awesome! Check out Tekzilla's PatrickNorton who teamed up with Subaru to customize