MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Close to one third of Americans have insomnia and have trouble sleeping. If you're one of them you might have taken or even considered taking sleeping pills, but one local pharmacist warns about the dangers your medication can cause.
Sleeping pills are taken to increase drowsiness which helps people sleep. However medical experts say even prescribed sleeping pills can take eight years off your life.
If you think you're having a hard time getting some shut-eye, you're not alone. About nine million Americans are counting their pills instead of counting their sheep.
"You get to a point where you have to sleep. You have to sleep. When there are no answers and we don't have anywhere to go, you take the Band-Aid," said Doctor of Pharmacy and Regenerative Medicine Consultant Jenna Clack at Clack Company Concierge Pharmacy.
The "Band-Aid," or sleeping pills, is an underlying problem where the sleeping pills help treat the symptom but not the root.
"The Band-Aid has to be there again then it's four years and you can't sleep without it," said Clack. "You're addicted to a drug, your brain has been modified. You never mean to get there. I think that's more of the concern."
Clack said many of her patients with sleeping problems come in to find alternatives to sleeping pills. Many causes range from nutritional deficiency, liver processing errors, neurotransmitter imbalance or other drugs that could be interfering with their sleep cycle. To have a more natural and healthy sleep, Clack works with each patient on establishing their goals.
"We work at trying to induce those processes and try to remove anything in your way. a lot of times its a little thing and it's two to three visits," said Clack. "If it's a bigger thing and we got cardiac stuff and diabetic stuff, everything's playing in because you're holistic, nothing stands alone."
Methods for a healthier sleep may not happen overnight, but making small lifestyle changes can put an end to a manufactured sleep and make it a more natural sleep.
"If you're having problems sleeping, there's people there to help you," said Clack. "Sleep hygiene is a real thing, it really does work and changing lifestyle habits is always a better choice than taking a quick fix Band-Aid."
Clack said many of her patients actually didn't even need sleeping pills to begin with and their solutions included lifestyle changes. If you think you might have a problem, contact Clack Co. Concierge Pharmacy at (432) 695-9806.