Warrning: Eliminating sleep medications is often a prudent step to enhance sleep quality. But, timing is everything, and SDT does not suggest, recommend or require that you change your medication in any way without first consulting your prescribing physician.

Sleeping Pills How can sedatives be so highly touted when so many people who use them still wake up in the middle of the night or report minimal improvement in sleep quality, even after having "slept all through the night?"

The answer is that something else degrades your sleep, which the drug does not address. Either the drug cannot prevent you from waking in the middle of the night, because it doesn't prevent the cause of such awakenings, or the drug does not improve sleep quality, because it does not remove the sleep quality problem you suffer from. All of which raises the interesting question of whether or not sleeping pills or antidepressants just give you more sleep that's not worth getting, which leads us back to an old mantra "all sleep is not the same."

Nearly all the older brands of sedatives clearly worsen sleep quality since they clearly speed up brain waves. Some of the newer agents appear to enhance sleep quality some of the time, but these gains are often less than what you can achieve by uncovering and resolving the mental and physical elements causing your sleep quality problems.

If sedatives do not consistently improve sleep quality or do not improve it to a high level, how do they make you "sleep" more?

The short answer is that sleeping pills may increase clock hours while decreasing or having no change in solid hours of sleep. Most sedatives also affect your memory, so you are less likely to remember waking up as much during the night, and therefore, it seems you have slept more. Most importantly, it is common knowledge that most sleeping pills and other psychiatric drugs speed up brain waves at times, and many prevent you from entering into deeper, more restorative sleep stages.

All of which raises the following question: "If certain sleeping pills give you more sleep but of a lighter quality, then are you really getting that much more sleep, or is it possible you might actually be getting less sleep?"

If someone offered you one ounce of gold or 25 ounces of silver, which would you take?

I trust you took the gold, one ounce of which wuold be worth nearly three times the value of 25 ounces of silver. Golden slumbers means deeper sleep; its benefits are more noticeable and valuable than obtaining more sleep of lighter (lesser) quality.


Are you struggling to get a good night's sleep? There are safe and effective methods to help. However, some turn to alternative methods such as pills or alcohol. Don't wait to seek help from a drug or alcohol rehab if you are experiencing this type of addiction.