Many Americans do not get the sleep they need to support their essential functions. Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health conditions that reduce the quality of life. To find some relief, some get prescriptions like Ambien from their doctor to aid them in falling asleep. It is important to learn more about sleep deficiency and why medications like Ambien may cause more harm than good.
Sleep Is a Basic Need
Sleep is essential to maintaining one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Like eating and breathing, humans must consistently get a good night’s rest. It may come as a surprise that an overwhelming number of Americans have poor sleep patterns.
According to the CDC, about one in three adults do not get enough sleep. Approximately 40% of adults fall asleep in the daytime once a month. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.
What Is Sleep Deprivation?
Being tired in the morning does not mean a person has a sleep disorder. Many individuals are tired because they do not go to bed early enough. At a minimum, adults need between seven to eight hours of sleep every night. In the U.S., the average adult, however, sleeps less than that.
As a person loses more and more hours each night, they experience sleep deprivation, and their sleep debt increases. If this happens regularly, it can become difficult to “catch up” on lost time.
What Is Sleep Deficiency?
A sleep deficiency encompasses a number of sleep troubles. A person can become sleep deficient if they experience one or more of the following issues:
- Having a sleep disorder
- Sleeping at the wrong time of day
- Not getting enough sleep (sleep deprivation)
- Waking up many times throughout the night
- Not sleeping well or getting the different types of sleep
There are more than 70 types of sleep disorders, some common ones being:
- Sleep Apnea
Adverse Outcomes From Poor Sleep
A sleep deficiency is a serious health problem because it can lead to a number of issues, including:
- Social dysfunction
- Loss of productivity
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Accidents and injuries
- Medication conditions
- Mental health problems
Some individuals depend on sleep medications to finally get some rest, leading to a substance use disorder.
Ambien Is a Commonly Prescribed Sleep Drug
Sleep disorders like insomnia are often treated with sleep medication. Ambien – generically known as zolpidem – is a popular option amongst doctors. This substance is a sedative with hypnotic properties, meaning its purpose is to initiate, sustain, or lengthen sleep.
Ambien comes in two forms. Immediate-release tablets help a person fall asleep quickly. Extended-release tablets are designed to help a person stay asleep.
Sleep medications like Ambien are intended to be used for a short period because they are highly addictive and disrupt chemicals in the brain. Using Ambien as a long-term “solution” to sleep disorders can be dangerous.
Downsides of Using Ambien
Ambien has short-term negative side effects, such as issues with coordination and nausea. Some individuals feel sluggish or fatigued the morning after. If a person takes the drug and sleeps for under 7 to 8 hours, they can experience amnesia or memory loss.
Taking Ambien for extended periods can also lead to many serious problems. Here are five reasons to rethink using Ambien:
#1. Worsened sleep problems: Contrary to what one might think, Ambien may make sleep quality worse.
#2. Possible cognitive deficiencies: Ambien might impact long-term memory and has been found to be associated with the development of dementia. Although, this field of research is still underway.
#3. Tolerance & withdrawal symptoms: Using Ambien for more extended periods can lead to tolerance. It may become more challenging to get to sleep on the exact dosage. Suddenly stopping the drug can also cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can last for a few weeks, making it much harder to quit.
#4. Substance use disorder: Abusing Ambien can cause a person to become addicted. Some studies say this drug is “not recommended for the general population as a first-line treatment because of its high potential for abuse.”
#5. Depression & suicidal thoughts and actions: Those who have a history of depression may find that Ambien makes their symptoms worse. Suicidal thinking and actions have also been reported.
Get Help For Ambien Addiction
Ambien may be beneficial for helping a person catch up on some sleep and get into a rhythm for a week or so. Although, using Ambien for longer than prescribed can cause a build-up of tolerance and eventually the development of an addiction. Getting treated for an Ambien addiction will help a person detox safely from acute withdrawal symptoms and find healthy ways to get consistent rest.
Sleep deficiency has become a common problem amongst American adults. Many have turned to sleep medications like Ambien as a quick fix. However, Ambien doesn’t always solve sleep disorders. This drug can lead to other health conditions like depression and substance use disorders. Avalon Malibu is a residential treatment program located in Malibu, CA. We offer detox services, as well as partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient. We understand the challenges that poor sleeping patterns can bring. It’s tempting to lean on sleep medications to get some relief. At Avalon Malibu, our clinical team is dedicated to helping clients heal from Ambien addiction, and at the same time, heal from sleep disorders that cause so much distress. Sometimes, sleep troubles stem from trauma or other mental health conditions. We can help you find the root cause. Call (844) 857-5992 for more information.