Why pill popping isn't working
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, which found that four in ten adults who take sleeping pills find that they failed to help.
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.
The sleep issue
This is particularly concerning because UK adults are generally poor sleepers. In the survey, which was completed by 20,000 adults, a ‘racing mind’ was indicated as the main cause of sleeplessness, with an average score of 5 out of 10 for sleep quality.
In our own sleep survey which we undertook earlier this year we asked just under 1,000 respondents to rate their quality of sleep. Over half of the people asked classed their sleep as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, and a huge 63% reported only getting between 3 – 5 hours uninterrupted sleep at night.
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!
The problem with sleeping pills
The results of both surveys show that although around 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued by the NHS every year, many people are still struggling to get a good night’s sleep.
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 'good sleep' alternatives
The benefits of considering herbal remedies for sleep, such as a combination of fresh Valerian and Hops, 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.
Developing a set of good sleep habits can also help towards getting a better quality of sleep. Consider changes to your personal habits and sleep environment such as settling into a sleep routine and dealing with distractions which may cause you to wake up or prevent you from falling asleep.
Simple lifestyle adjustments to also consider include things such as drinking too much caffeine, eating late at night or watching TV in bed. Knowing how these simple things can affect your sleep, along with other sleep tips, can make a big difference to getting a better and longer sleep, without the need of sleeping pills.
Do you rely on pills to help you sleep? Or have you embraced sleep alternatives and are now feeling the benefit? Share your story in the comment section below…