If you’re like most people you would prefer not to have to take a pill to sleep. You may choose to take a pill to sleep because not sleeping is not an option, but if you could sleep well and feel great during the day without taking a pill that’s what you would choose. If this is not the case, if you love taking pills and would take them even if you didn’t need them, then this blog is probably not for you.
Despite this almost universal preference to sleep naturally and despite the fact that EXTREMELY effective non-medication options are widely available, when you talk to your healthcare provider about insomnia, he or she likely has only one thing to offer you…medication. This reality is most likely to play out for you in one of two ways.
• You’re strongly against taking sleep medications and choose to just suffer with your insomnia rather than take the risks (If this is you, you’re not alone, the average insomniac waits seven years before speaking to their healthcare provider about their sleep insomnia).
• You must sleep so you begin taking sleep medication, which you will likely become dependent on/addicted to (See the packaging information on drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, they are controlled substances for a reason).
• Because you’re dependent on it you will have to keep paying for it month after month after month (This is why pharmaceutical companies made more than $3.5 Billion selling sleeping pills in 2011).
• While you’re taking it you pray that it doesn’t make you do anything dangerous like crash a car, kill yourself, or kill someone else (Do a Google or YouTube search of “Ambien Danger” and you’ll get hundreds of thousands of results including stories of sleep driving, eating, and sex as well as reports of deadly incidents of sleepwalking and worse).
• As long as you aren’t doing anything dangerous, you hope that the pills will continue to work for you (many of folks we work with in the insomnia clinic are on sleeping pills that aren’t working but they can’t get off of them).
This is how, By almost exclusively offering sleep medications for treatment of insomnia our broken healthcare system is keeping you addicted, broke, dangerous, and sleepless (In part 2 of this post I’ve shared a couple of YouTube videos that will convince you).
This is absurd! Especially when the overwhelming majority of insomnia can be fixed without a pill in a few weeks, sometimes for free and usually for a few hundred bucks tops!
This is the general situation that led me to start the sleep health revolution but I’ve been trying to understand and fight this bias toward sleep medication in healthcare for years. I talk about the roadblocks I’ve encountered and how I found a deep respect for healthcare providers in the post Frustration and Disillusionment: Why Your Doctor Won’t Offer You Sleep Transformation