Is Sleep So Important?
Whether you have no problem keeping a healthy and consistent sleeping schedule or not, sleep is much more than a mere break from your daytime life. Without sleep and its regenerative processes, your brain would become dysfunctional until you died. Sleep is complex, consisting of many cycles of REM-sleep and non-REM sleep.
Our knowledge of everything that happens during sleep, however, is still not completely understood, but the science of sleep medicine has made great strides recently:
- Memory: sleep is essential for memory consolidation, for assigning emotions to memories and incorporating other data—sights, smells, things heard, etc.—to the memories of the day which are prioritized as to which short-term memories are assigned to your long-term memory.
- Brainwashing: the recent discovery of a lymphatic system that drains debris from around “glia” nerve cells that has accumulated during the day is essential for alertness.
- Rest and recovery: muscles and organ systems undergo the wear-and-tear of normal daytime function, so the quiet times of sleep each day allow for repair and rebalancing of the different rhythms and hormonal cycles.
Sleeping Pills—Why You Started Them
With the importance of sleep well-established, sleep dysfunction is a condition that warrants treatment. Normal sleep patterns, what is called “sleep hygiene,” has been proven essential in the therapy used for treating all other medical, mental, hormonal, and psychological conditions.
Your body is fairly flexible, so it can adjust to temporary periods of sleep dysfunction. But when these periods are not temporary, sleeping pill can be used in a rational plan of getting you back on track for good sleep hygiene.
What Are Sleeping Pills?
Sleeping pills are medications that induce and/or maintain sleep cycles, and thus fall into the category called “hypnotics.” There are hypnotics that are prescribed, such as Ambien, and those that are “over-the-counter.” Hypnotics are not just pills and syrups, however. Alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs can also serve as hypnotics, but with the disadvantage of not being associated with proper medical surveillance by a