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I’m not anti medication i should say that first you know when medications work i am all for them and people in the drug industry you know i know many of these scientists and researchers they’re desperately trying to help people with diseases and do good by creating these drugs the simple fact is that none of the sleep drugs that we currently have produced naturalistic

Sleep again they’re a class of drugs almost like alcohol they’re called the sedative hypnotics so again what you’re really doing is just knocking out the cortex of the brain and if i were to look at the electrical signature of your sleep when you’re on these sleeping medications it’s not the same as natural sleep so that’s the first thing that perhaps wouldn’t be so

Bad if it didn’t come with deleterious consequences and there are many firstly what we’ve realized is that sleeping pills have been associated with a significantly higher risk of death and it’s quite large – and one of the cities i review is one of the largest where they looked at 10,000 people who were taking sleeping pills of a variety of types relative to 20,000

Very well-matched controls and they looked at them across at just a two and a half year period and what they found is that people taking sleeping pills were about four times more likely to die across that two and a half year period than those who weren’t taking sleeping pills and what was striking is that it didn’t take much even people who are just taking maybe 10

Or 15 sleeping pills per year still had about a 2 to 3 percent sorry 2 to 3 times higher risk of dying she’s dying from any circumstance yeah they didn’t necessarily try to sort of break down in that study what was deftly they just had the mortality records but we’ve since done a little bit more digging and what we’ve discovered firstly is that sleeping pills are

Associated with a significantly higher risk of developing cancer as well as infection that’s the other thing wow that’s counterintuitive now i think you know it’s important to put in place here that right now those association ‘el what we mean is that they’re just correlational we can’t necessarily necessarily say that it’s causal right now and let me just play the

Other side of the table for a second it’s possible about those people who’ve been struggling with sleep or their lives who are now the people who are taking more sleeping pills are simply dying earlier because of the poor sleep that they’ve been having before they ever started taking those sleeping pills so it’s the lack of sleep beforehand that’s so deathly and

The sleeping pills is just a correlate of how bad their sleeping problems were and it looks like the sleeping pills are the cause that’s possible – same way with cancer because we know a lack of sleep is so related to cancer however it’s equally possible that sleeping pills are deathly in carcinogenic and if you look at some of the animal studies that are uploaded

To the fda website you actually see some of that carcinogenic impact with sleeping pills – and that information is not out there so all of which is to say people should know that information about sleeping pills if taking them oftentimes doctors aren’t aware of it doctors by the way this is something else i spoke about in the lancet article it’s not really their

Fault that they’re not more sleep proactive with their patients doctors on average in their medical curriculum and i surveyed them get only about two hours of sleep education 1/3 of the patients lives are spent sleeping but they only get two hours two hours is about as much right striking you know as a conversation but two doctors aren’t necessarily aware of the

Consequences of sleeping pills what’s important to know is that they don’t need to be the first-line treatment there is something called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or cbt i and you work with the therapist it is being shown to be just as effective as sleeping pills in the short-term in terms of its benefit for sleep but better still unlike sleeping

Pills when you stop working with that therapist you continue to gain the benefits you continue to sleep well in fact a recent study demonstrated that those sleep benefits are still seen 10 years later with sleeping pills one of the other problems is that you stop using them and not only do you go back to the bad sleep that you are having before but your sleep is

Often worse it’s called rebound insomnia when you stop taking those drugs so now you have to start taking more of those sleeping pills to get back to where you were so you can develop tolerance and then you have daytime sleepiness you sort of get sort of groggy during the day so my opinion right now is that if we were to come up with a sleeping medication that

I think is application efficacious beneficial doesn’t have health consequences and produces naturalistic sleep i would be a very vocal advocate of it right now it’s not and you’re right you know in the last month 10 million people at least in america have swallowed some kind of sleeping pill in in that time period which i think speaks to this desperate need for

Sleep and to you know put the statistics in place it’s a remarkable moneymaker you know i joke in in the book that it took george lucas i think about 40 years to build up about 4 billion in profit revenue from the star wars franchise 40 years 30 years it took and being about 22 months to amass 4 billion in profit that’s how desperate i think our hunger for sleep

Is and how problematic sleep is in society i think that’s one of the other reasons that the book took off i think it’s this lack of knowledge and science not being communicated together with this global sleep loss epidemic that has happened over the past 100 years and the escalation of disease that’s associated with that lack of sleep there’s this perfect storm

You know we knew more and more about sleep and we saw sleep having this great depression in society over you know these decades and i think that’s why the book the time for the book was right and i was just very lucky

Transcribed from video
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SLEEPING PILLS – Matthew Walker | London Real By London Real