Sleep Apnea, Sleeping Pills and Insomnia

I had an interesting phone call today from a customer who had just purchased the Sleep Apnea Relief capsules. It seems that he was taking sleeping pills every night and he wanted to know if he should stop taking them when he started taking the Sleep Apnea Relief. At first I began to suggest that sleeping pills are usually for insomnia and that this was a different condition than Sleep Apnea. He interrupted with his assertion that he was taking the sleeping pills to overcome his sleep apnea.

At first, this seemed very wrong to me but as I thought about it, the sleeping pills would tend to hold you in delta sleep where your breathing would tend to be deep and constant. It is likely that the apnea presented less of a problem there than it would in natural sleep. In the short-term, one might feel some benefit here.

The problem is that we all need to spend a certain amount of time dreaming each night. If we become REM deprived (REM is the part of sleep where we dream) the symptoms are really quite pronounced and rather undesirable. Taking sleeping pills for long periods of time also builds dependency which is un-healthy and leads to a rebound effect (often called REM rebound) when the pill use is discontinued.

This REM rebound would exacerbate the sleep apnea problem as the person would spend more time going through stage 2 sleep where the reduction in muscle tonus and inhibition of muscle movement causes the sleep apnea.

So the bottom line for all of you who are using sleeping pills to overcome sleep apnea, is to begin the Sleep Apnea Relief capsules and slowly taper off the sleeping pills. You are going to have to go through a transition where you allow your body to once again control the sleep patterns. If you do this all at once, you could aggravate the sleep apnea condition and think that the Sleep Apnea Relief pills that you are trying “don’t work”. When in fact, it is the REM rebound that is making it seem this way.

We spend 1/4 to 1/3 of our lives asleep. It is amazing to me how little we value and understand this aspect of life. Get comfortable with understanding your sleeping needs and patterns. They are an important part of your health.

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