Medication for insomnia may not be the answer for long-term sleeping problems, according to a survey carried out on behalf of a programme using cognitive behavioural techniques to tackle poor sleep.
The need for alternatives to conventional sleeping pills has been highlighted previously by the Mental Health Foundation, which considers that the importance of sleep to many other aspects of health, particularly mental health, has not been given sufficient prominence.
This is particularly concerning because UK adults are generally poor sleepers, with a previous survey of 20,000 adults showing an average score of 5 out of 10 for sleep quality.
Over the years we have flagged up many adverse effects of poor sleep, ranging from fatigue, weight gain and diabetes risk, to immune function, relationship difficulties, and even how you look! This survey adds the fact that although around 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued by the NHS every year, many people find that they do not help. An additional problem is posed by the fact that sleeping pills should not be taken for more than 4 weeks at a time, when for many people their struggle with sleep is a long-term problem, often lasting years.
The benefits of considering herbal remedies for sleep, alongside sensible lifestyle adjustments, are that they are non-addictive, can be taken over longer periods of time, and are rarely associated with adverse side effects.