Are Sleep Drugs Ruining Your Sleep Cycle?

If you're using over the counter sleeping pills or prescription sleep aids to alleviate your sleep problems, you may be doing more harm than good. Below, we'll explain why you should be wary of these medications with regard to your health and wellness. We'll also throw out some suggestions for other ways to get the rest you need.

Breaking Down the Sleep Cycle

Sleep cycleDuring an average night of sleep, you will cycle in and out of 5 unique sleep stages several times. Those stages are:

  • Stage 1 & 2 - Shallow stages of sleep experienced at the beginning of your sleep cycle.
  • Stage 3 & 4 - Deeper stages of sleep experienced in conjunction with REM sleep. Stage 4 is especially important for restoration and recovery.
  • REM Stage - This is the stage where dreams happen. Your brain waves and neurological activity also spike during REM sleep.

How Sleeping Pills Ruin Your Sleep Cycle

Sleep medications interfere with stages 3 and 4, and also REM sleep.This is problematic, because these stages are where your body repairs the most damage. Even if you get your recommended 8 hours, shortening the time spent in these sleep stages creates a lot of health problems and can even produce symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Sleeping Pills Make Insomnia Worse

This is mostly due to a psychological dependence on sleep medications in order to get to sleep at night. When you stop taking those medications, your insomnia can come back worse than it was before. In some ways, sleeping pills become an emotional crutch; and even for people who sort out the causes of their insomnia, sleeping pills cessation can cause them to worry about their natural ability to sleep. In turn, this anxiety becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sleeping Pills Kill Your Memories

Did you have a good day today? Did you make any joyful memories that you'd like your brain to hold onto forever? Well, if you take a sleeping pill to get to sleep tonight, then you can basically kiss those memories goodbye. Again, this is related to the decreased time you spend in deep sleep. Spending less time in stages 3 & 4 of your sleep cycle limits the opportunity that your brain has to reconstruct itself.

Of course, if today was particularly stressful or uneventful for you, then this might not be such a problem. Over time, though, hamstringing your brain's ability to restore itself with quality sleep can have long term health consequences. In addition to imprinting new memories, your neurons temporarily shrink by as much as 60% during slow-wave sleep. This allows your CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) to wash away toxins that contribute to brain disease over time. Therefore, sleep medications can contribute to accelerated brain aging and atrophy.

Sleep Medications Inhibit Growth, Health, and Immunity

Growth hormone is one of the most important hormones the body releases. But, like all other restorative processes, it only happens in stages 3 and 4 of your sleep cycle. For growing children, this means that sleep disturbances can literally stunt their growth. For adults, this inhibits the restoration and repair of soft tissue damage that happens each and every day.

Speaking of hormone levels, the balance of ghrelin and leptin are also thrown out of sync when you spend last time in deep sleep than you should. If these hormones are not kept in a very delicate balance, it will trigger intense food cravings for fat, sugar, and salt. you will also feel less full when you do eat, causing you to consume more calories and put on the pounds.

Over time, spending fewer hours in deep sleep prevents your body from eliminating old, damaged cells from your system. And when those cells stick around for too long, they will trigger an immune response. This leads to things like chronic inflammation, which is now thought to be the cause of autoimmune diseases like arthritis, bowel disease, and more.

Let Your Body Enjoy a Natural Sleep Cycle

So how can you prevent this? By doing everything you can to fall asleep naturally each night. Since you won't get that from prescription sleeping pills, you're going to have to rely on a natural sleep aid to help you get good rest. Avinol PM is a leading contender in this market, with effective ingredients like melatonin, chamomile, and hops extract. Taking a natural sleep aid can relax you enough to slip into your sleep cycle without interfering with it. Herbal sleeping compounds, therefore, are a safe and superior option compared to other sleep medications. Learn more.

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