(NaturalNews) Western medicine advocates a pill for everything. If a person has a runny nose from a cold, there's a pill for it. If a patient complains she can't lose weight, her doctor can prescribe medication for it. If a businessman tells his physician he's having problems sleeping, he can get a prescription for a pill that helps him doze off at night.
But while there may seem to be a cure in the form of medication for everything, this philosophy disregards two very important concepts. One is that prescribing a pill for an overt problem doesn't always solve the underlying problem. For example, if a person complains of stomach aches and she takes an antacid, she's only treating a symptom of some other problem (that other problem could be almost anything, from regular overeating to eating the wrong foods or something more serious). The other concept that prescribing medication fails to recognize is that more often than not, the drugs people are prescribed are often more dangerous than the problem the medication is treating.
With this in mind, why wouldn't people choose natural cures over medicine every time? A case in point is that of sleeping aids. When a person is suffering from insomnia, it might be tempting to ask the doctor for medication that helps a person go to sleep. But taking sleeping medication, especially long-term, can be harmful. For example, one potential side effect of taking sleeping aids is engaging in behaviors called parasomnias. Parasomnias are behaviors that people have no control over--they are in a sleep state and will have no memory of what occurred. Parasomnias are frightening behaviors because they include things like sleep eating and sleep driving. Other sleeping aids can be habit forming. Finally, people might also have other reactions to these kinds of drugs, side effects which can include dizziness and heartburn.
Why not try to achieve sleep naturally instead then? Rather than risk harmful side effects, here are some suggestions experts recommend to achieve and maintain sleep:
Maintain a regular sleep schedule, especially waking at the same time every day
Only use the bedroom for bedroom activities
Engage in relaxation techniques before going to bed
Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101. Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.