Most doctors are too eager to prescribe insomnia medication. This could have dire results, according to Dr Jerald H Simmons, director of the Sadler Clinic Sleep Disorders Center.
The danger comes from sleeping pills prescribed to treat sleep maintenance insomnia (when you have trouble staying asleep rather than just falling asleep). This condition is often the result of an underlying breathing problem such as obstructive sleep apnea or snoring. The breathing problem resolves itself when the throat muscles tighten back up after your brain forces you to wake up.
Sleeping pills can prevent these awakenings, which can make the breathing problem worse - potentially leading to heart disease, hypertension and other medical problems. Just because you're sleeping, it doesn't mean you're being properly treated.
If you feel that your doctor hasn't fully investigated your insomnia or offered treatment options other than medication, you might want to seek a second opinion or consult with a registered sleep center.
Last updated: September 22, 2010