Insomnia–Remedies with No Side Effects

Pharmaceutical companies want you to believe that insomnia is a disease for which they have the magic pill. With a simple message, repeated creatively in TV commercials every day: “Can’t sleep? Take a pill. In fact, you deserve it.”

According to a recent study, Americans aren’t buying the commercials or the drugs – they’re turning in increasing numbers to chiropractic and holistic remedies to get a better night’s sleep.
According to the study, an estimated 1.6 million Americans used holistic health care for insomnia symptoms in 2002. Survey participants were asked why they chose to use holistic health care instead of pharmaceutical drugs and other treatments. Sixty-seven (67) percent stated they wanted to use a remedy without side effects.

Sleeping pill side effects include:

• Significantly higher mortality rates than those who do not use sleeping pills.

• Little or no improvement for chronic insomnia.

• Cause chemical dependency.

• Reduce brain cell activity during the day, affecting short-term memory.

• Cause a hangover effect.

• Accentuate the GABA neurotransmitter, which keeps the nerve cells in the lung tissue from firing. This is why an overdose of sleeping pills will cause asphyxiation and over 1000 overdose related deaths each year.

• GABA actuation is also responsible for impaired physical ability. Each year, thousands of traffic deaths, accidents and falls (especially in the elderly) are attributed to sleeping pills.

• Increases the pauses and length of pause in breathing. Someone with sleep apnea could suffer brain or ocular damage from the lack of oxygen or even death.

• Anyone over the age of 40 should be cautioned against sleeping pills, and anyone over the age of 65 should never take sleeping pills. Studies show that almost all people over 40 have some symptoms of sleep apnea, and anyone over 65 would be clinically diagnosed with sleep apnea.

• Create a hypnotic dependency similar to alcohol and lower inhibitions and fear of pain or consequences. This is one reason why sleeping pills contribute to accidents and why chronic sleeping pill users are less likely to worry or take care of themselves.

• Highly addictive. Sleeping pills are similar to barbiturates and are extremely difficult to stop using.

• Although sleeping pills do not improve daytime functioning, people still prefer taking them because of the barbiturate feel-good effect they produce. As with many addictive drugs, they may not be helpful, but we feel good when we take them.

• Impairs our consciousness, judgment, memory and intelligence. Ironically, insomniacs think sleeping pills make them sleep better, when they actually make them feel worse. This is because of the misperception that sleeping pills are supposed to help us sleep better. In comparison studies against a placebo, patients receiving a placebo did better than those with sleeping pills, although those with the sleeping pills erroneously believed they were doing better.

• Fail to improve daytime function or performance. Since the definition for ‘Quality of Sleep’ is that amount which allows us to operate at optimum levels of energy, sleeping pills are not the answer. Pharmaceutical companies concentrate on reducing the side effects of sleeping pills, not on improving daytime performance. Those who take these pills however, are misguided into believing they will receive a daytime benefit. The chance is very high that they will end up becoming chronic sleeping pill users. New commercials for sleeping pills now caution that, “Almost everyone has some risk of becoming dependant on sleep medication.”

Pharmaceutical companies defend the use of sleeping pills, countering that most of the people who use sleeping pills take them for a few weeks or less. What they don’t say, however is that the vast majority of all prescriptions are repeat prescriptions to chronic insomniacs.

The bottom line: If you need a good night’s sleep, don’t pop a pill. With all of the s ide effects that come along with all prescriptions, you might end up sleeping even less. More importantly, however, remember that restful sleep is attributable to a variety of complex factors, including peace of mind, healthy foods, harmonious relationships, exercise, etc.

If you’re struggling with insomnia, ask a naturopath or homeopath about natural, drug-free ways to get the sleep your body and mind needs. This web site is also an excellent resource.


Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, motivational speaker and inspirational leader specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life’s challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening.