Many people suffer from sleep disorders, but few are willing to get adequate help to realize their problems. Some people get over-the-counter sleep aids, others get it prescribed by a doctor who never follows up on them. Heath Ledger, like many others, are undeniably attracted to the appeal of a sleeping aid. But sleeping aids have many dangerous risks, and an overdose could lead to death which is a critical aspect of investigation for Heath Ledger’s unexpected death. Thus the instant gratification that a pill can give you may not be worth it.
There are many sleep aid products out there, and they have somewhat improved with new research. Benzoiazepines (brand name: Restoril, ProSom) used to be the most popular sleeping pills. However they are less frequently prescribed now because of the health risks associated with it. Sleeping pills like ProSom work because they are tranquilizers and essentially work by slowing down your central nervous system. This type of medication does not work in the long term, and even a short term prescription may lead to dependence and memory impairment.
Heath Ledger is an excellent example that has shown the world the dangers of sleep disorder and how relying on prescribed medicines can be fatal to the body but most people fail to realize it until it is too late and their own indulgences lead to a resurge from time to time.
Short acting sedative hypnotics, also know as non-benzodiazepines are becoming the sleep aid of choice lately (brand name: ambien, lunesta, sonata). They are as the name suggests not tranquilizers so they do not work by slowing down your central nervous system, thus they are safer for long term use. Even though they are technically safer for long term use, non-benzodiazepines like ambien (the sleeping pill Heath Ledger used) can be very addictive. I used to take lunesta, another non-benzodiazepine like ambien to sleep during my freshman year of college, and I was not happy with the results. While lunesta made me sleep a full eight hours, I never felt well rested and I quickly found myself becoming addicted. Luckily I recognized my growing dependence early, and I worked with my psychiatrist to help find me a more effective medication.
What my psychiatrist then prescribed me was Rozarem. I was extremely nervous about taking this medication, but my psychiatrist explained how Rozarem is not a narcotic, nor a tranquilizer which works to reduce alertness in the brain by acting on melatonin receptors. There is also little risk of dependence. I have been taking this sleep aid for a year now and I am extremely happy with the results, Rozarem makes me feel well rested.
While Rozarem works well for me, it may not work well for others. Heath Ledger’s death certainly offers us a wide awakening to the negative side effects of sleep aids. Thus for anyone who is currently taking or is thinking about taking a sleep aid, make sure you thoroughly research the medication you are given, follow all instructions and follow up with the doctor who prescribed them for you.