Using Sleeping Pills Is Linked To Seeing Bad Dreams

ibxskl00195664.jpgA lot is said and written about the importance of a regular good night’s sleep for all modern people. Unfortunately, very few of us can say that they benefit from a high quality and sufficient sleep every night. As a result, most of us suffer from impaired function of the immune system, increased risks for various infectious diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome and headaches, inability to focus and maximize our performance at the workplace, and many other negative symptoms. A great night’s sleep is a luxury for many of us, however, having regular restful sleep is something essential for our overall health. That is why we’re trying to solve our sleep problems and treat our sleep disorders with such ‘easy’ solutions like sleeping pills. Though it is believed that sleeping pills can help us relieve our stress linked to insomnia and induce sleep, actually the quality of such sleep is not good, and it will not bring to usual positive effects we expect from a good sleep.

According to the findings published recently in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, using sleeping pills can mess up our emotional life and is actually linked to seeing bad dreams. The scientists from UC San Diego conducted a series of experiments and analyzed the data they managed to collect, which have shown that using common over-the-counter sleeping pills is linked to consolidation of bad memories and seeing bad dreams. As it is underlined in the report about the study, the findings are especially true for those people who suffer from chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, excessive anxiety and other related causes of sleep problems. Moreover, the findings are also valid not only for the most popular over-the-counter sleep aids, but also for common prescription sleeping pills, including¬†zolpidem ( Ambien) which is very often recommended by modern time’s doctors as an effective sleep aid.

The researchers focused their study around looking closely at the phenomena known as “bursts of brain activity that last for a second or less during a specific stage of sleep“, and especially the importance of those for our emotional memory. Previous studies have shown that these bursts play a key role for selecting memories and other information from our short-term memory and storing the selected¬† information in our long-term memory. This process takes place in the hippocampus, which is located in the cerebral cortex of the brain. However, the current study has shown that using Zolpidem and other sleeping pills interfere with the process making it considerably more active. Therefore, the effects of sleeping pills on our long-term memory can be possibly used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia like brain disorders, as well as those people who suffer from psychological disorders like schizophrenia, etc.

For the study, 28 volunteers, men and women aged between 18 and 39, free from any possible sleep disorder,¬† were invited. They were given Zolpidem and placebo, with the intervals of a few days given in order to allow the chemicals evacuate from the participants’ systems. Both before going to sleep and after waking up, the participants were shown some images, which can evoke either positive or negative emotions. As a result, it became apparent that those participants who were given sleeping pills tend to remember rather negative images than positive. The same can be said about the images with arousing content: sleeping pills tended to increase the interest to those kind of images. “I was surprised by the specificity of the results, that the emotional memory improvement was specifically for the negative and high-arousal memories, and the ramifications of these results for people with anxiety disorders and PTSD,” one of the study leaders commented.

 

Physical Activities Are Considered Among The Best Sleep Boosters

Physical ActivitiesMany people are fighting against various sleep disorders like insomnia and others. They spend quite a lot of money on buying sleeping pills, visiting psychiatrists or other experts, changing the furniture in the bedroom, and other most popular tricks to combat insomnia. However, it is possible to substantially improve our sleep quality by using quite a simple and easy method. Wanna know what that is? Regular physical activities and exercise!

According to the latest findings of American specialists, only 150 minutes of physical activities a week can help us improve our sleep quality and feel more alert during the day. A group of experts at Bellarmine University carried out a survey and interviewed about 2,600 American people aged between 25 and 60. It turned out that 2,5 hours of moderate physical activities and exercise a week can be of a great help to those who suffer from insomnia and other related sleep disorders. It was estimated that by using the stated amount of physical activities can assist to provide more than 65 per cent sleep quality improvement, as well as help feel less sleepy and tired during the day.

Sufficient amounts of physical activities are very important for all of us to support our overall health and a proper function of all systems of the body. Brad Cardinal, one of the leaders of the research group and a specialist at Oregon State University said: “We were using the physical activity guidelines set forth for cardiovascular health, but it appears that those guidelines might have a spillover effect to other areas of health.” According to the expert, plenty of physical activities and exercise can play a role of a safe and unique alternative to sleeping pills known for their numerous harmful side effects like addiction, impaired memory, etc.

It is obvious that using physical activities to improve our sleep quality and combat such a common symptom as daytime sleepiness will lead to numerous improvements and other amazing benefits to our general health. In particular, during the study it became apparent that such symptoms as leg cramps or the ability to focus can be deceased: 68 per cent of the participants reported about having less leg cramps, and 45 per cent told that they have improved abilities to concentrate. Physical activities can assist in weight loss and lowering bad LDL blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risks of serious cardiovascular diseases like a heart attack, atherosclerosis, and so on. Read more about the findings of this interesting study in the latest issue of Mental Health and Physical Activity.