Sleeping pills impair sleep and memory

By Mieke van Leeuwen

A new research study shows that sleeping pills may do more harm than good if the purpose is to get a good night's sleep.

"Sleeping pills may do more harm than good if the purpose is to get a good night's sleep," writes an article by Kommunal Sundhed (Read here).

Science has long known about the hormone norepinephrine, which is found in our brain and can be linked to our sleep. Until recently, however, it was not known what effect the hormone had on the benefit of sleep.

However, a new research study (Read here) now shows that the level of noradrenaline goes up and down several times a minute when we sleep. If the fluctuations become too great, we wake up.

Hypnotics, which are colloquially also called sleeping pills or sleeping pills. Sleeping pills smooth out these fluctuations in norepinephrine, so that you don't wake up so easily during the night.

However, the study also shows that the fluctuations are important in relation to the brain's ability to remove waste substances during the night. When the fluctuations are smoothed out, as a result of sleeping pills, it can therefore affect both sleep quality and memory.

In other words, sleeping pills lead to stable sleep, but probably poorer sleep and with poorer memory as a result. Therefore, non-medical treatments are the first choice for insomnia. Non-medical treatments can include include referral to cognitive behavioral therapy course.

Cognitive behavioral therapy includes exercises within themes such as sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, stimulus control, deactivation and cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of treatment for insomnia has been shown to be more effective in improving one's sleep and maintaining good sleep habits and behavior compared to sleeping pills.