Sleep problems and sleeping pills

Sleep time and rhythm are fluctuating
Sleep is the basic function of the brain. It is controlled by the brain just like memory, speaking, and feeling emotions. The difference is that sleep is more susceptible to the external environment. For example, if you suffer from new coronary pneumonia and have difficulty breathing, your sleep will be affected; if you don’t have new coronary pneumonia, you will worry about yourself or your family, and your sleep will also be affected. When rescuing patients, it is difficult for medical staff to rest or stay awake at night. Even if they fall asleep, they are very shallow, and will wake up as soon as there is movement; when the patient turns to safety or the rescue fails, the medical staff is emotionally unstable. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, etc. can happen. Therefore, sleep fluctuates for everyone. It is unrealistic to hope that your sleep time or rhythm will be fixed every day, just like requiring your heartbeat to always be maintained at 70 to 80 beats per minute.

Everyone’s sleep needs are different and change with age
Many people think that keeping 6-8 hours of sleep a day is the best. If you don’t sleep for so much time, you will feel nervous. In fact, it is unnecessary. We should understand that everyone’s heart rate is different. Some people have 60 beats per minute and some people have 80 beats per minute. This is normal. In addition, everyone’s sleep needs are different. Whether you sleep 4 hours a day or 9 hours a day, as long as you do not feel tired or drowsy the next day, and do not affect your daily work and study the next day, you do not need to worry too much.

There was a case in which a 40-year-old female patient couldn’t fall asleep in the dead of night, and only slept for 2 hours a day for more than ten years. I have taken related medicines, but I can’t fall asleep anyhow, which is very painful. The strange thing is that she doesn’t sleep during the day, and she is in good spirits. Except for her own boredom at night and jealous of others sleeping soundly, all her body indicators are normal. As a doctor, I think her goal of treatment is not to prolong her sleep time, but to keep her in a good mood and state when she is awake and sleepless at night.

It can be seen that everyone’s sleep needs are different, even the same person, during different life periods, sleep needs will change. Children sleep for a long time when they are born without a day-night rhythm. They will stabilize for a period of time after adulthood, and they will gradually change. When they are old, their sleep needs will gradually decrease, and deep sleep will also decrease, and they will easily wake up. . In fact, this is a normal state.

Misunderstandings about sleep should be avoided
In addition to the two points mentioned above, there are the following misunderstandings about sleep, which need to be treated dialectically.

Misunderstanding 1: Your own sleep should be the same as others;

Misunderstanding 2: Your sleep rhythm is constant;

Misunderstanding 3: If you don’t sleep well, if you don’t rest well, your health will be bad;

Misunderstanding 4: Sleep well will cause dementia.

In fact, the human body has the function of self-regulation just like eating. Sleeping well at night and nap during the day is actually a way of automatic adjustment. Sleeping well for a period of time is like a period of reduced diet, most of the time the human body can automatically adjust. For example, many senior cadres have experienced famines and wars. Sleep and nutrition cannot be guaranteed during those turbulent periods, but their physical fitness will be restored after a period of adjustment. As for Misunderstanding Four, this statement is more derived from research on animals, and there is no final conclusion related to humans. Therefore, there is no need to be too nervous.

The harm of poor sleep and how to deal with it
(1) The harm of poor sleep

The above explanation of the misunderstanding is to make everyone better understand: poor sleep quality is not abnormal, and too much stress is an important reason for poor sleep. Many people do not sleep well, but it does not cause harm to the body. “Wu Zixu’s white head all night” is not because Wu Zixu stayed up all night, but because he was worried about being captured by the chasing soldiers and worried that there would be no way to survive. Therefore, poor sleep itself is not a major problem, and mental stress is the most worrying. Here, I need to remind everyone that the more nervous, the worse the sleep. This is a vicious circle.

(2) How to deal with poor sleep?

What can patients with long-term poor sleep do to improve? If it is due to physical pain or discomfort or sleep apnea1, then these problems are resolved and sleep will be improved. Here, I give you the following sleep suggestions:

1. Read silently every day when you go to bed: “A bad sleep is no big deal.”

2. No matter how sleepy you are during the day, you must persist in completing what you should do. Try not to sleep during the day, and do not take a nap for more than 1 hour.

3. If you are not drowsy at all, you can do something, such as watching TV or reading a book. But be careful: try not to lie in bed.

4. Listen to music, meditate or meditate, and use appropriate methods to allow yourself to focus on the present, put aside the worries in your mind, and enter a state of self-relaxation.

5. Follow the guidance of the psychotherapist and practice mindfulness meditation. This is very helpful for relieving anxiety and promoting sleep. If you don’t know how to get started, you can search for “Heart Aid” in the Himalaya program. There are audio programs from Chinese and foreign experts for reference.

6. People with severe insomnia can take sleep medicine before going to bed, but try to avoid taking it every day.


The things you need to know about sleep medicine are as follows:

Sleep medicine has fast onset and slow onset, fast and slow metabolism. Generally, the elderly metabolize sleep drugs more slowly than the young. Therefore, the elderly should choose drugs with a fast metabolic half-life. This will be marked on the drug insert. For example, if the half-life of 6 hours is written on the drug insert, it is fast; if the half-life is more than 12 hours, it is slower.

Another feature of sleep medicine is drug tolerance. In other words, the effect of taking it for a long time will be worse than the effect of taking it at the beginning. Therefore, pay attention to tolerance. It should be noted here that we must not be addicted to sleep medicine. Addiction means that it is particularly uncomfortable to leave the drug. However, most sleep pills are not very addictive, and many people only take 1 tablet before going to bed. If you can’t sleep without eating, this may be due to psychological factors.

It is okay to take sleeping pills occasionally. If you stay up all night, get nervous and worry too much, if you do not take sleeping pills, the harm to your physical and mental health will be even greater. However, it is best to rely less on drugs for sleep.

Please follow your doctor’s advice when taking sleep medicine. Taking it under the professional guidance of a doctor will ensure your safety.