How to sleep: 'Hypnotic' sleeping pills and why there's a better alternative


Doctor Sohere Roked, who specialises in hormonal and integrative medicine, warned that sleeping pills, whilst “hypnotic” and effective in the short term, their use can deprive you of restorative sleep. Doctor Roked elaborated: “Sleep medication may have you nodding off for several hours during the night. “But this kind of pill is hypnotic and can disturb brain activity, and reduce the deeper brain waves produced during REM [rapid eye movement sleep].

“So you are not getting as much of the restorative sleep needed to feel energised and rested the next day.”

What is REM sleep?

The Sleep Foundation listed the many names that REM sleep falls under, such as:

  • Active sleep
  • Desynchronised sleep
  • Paradoxical sleep
  • Rhombencephalic sleep
  • Dream sleep.

While REM sleep is associated with dreaming and memory consolidation, it is also associated with emotional processing and healthy brain development.

Meanwhile disrupted REM sleep is said to inhibit the brain’s ability to generate new cells.

READ MORE: Vitamin deficiencies – The major signs of deformed red blood cells – megaloblastic anaemia

While you might be eager to fall asleep more quickly with the help of sleeping pills, Doctor Roked would suggest otherwise.

“Sleeping pills are not something I recommend as they can be addictive and also contribute to other health problems,” she cautioned.

“I only prescribe them as a short-term solution if there are extenuating circumstances.”

In the mornings, following a dose, people might experience “bleariness and fatigue”, for example.


For those who are still struggling to fall asleep, Doctor Roked advises to take “200-300mg of magnesium at night”.

“Magnesium glycinate works well,” Doctor Roked said, if you wanted to take some form of sleeping aid.

“So many of us suffer with our sleep, and when you don’t sleep well, it can affect your energy, mood, focus and more,” said Doctor Roked.

Anybody experiencing ongoing sleeping issues are recommended to speak to their doctor.


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