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Sleep disorders: Phytopharmaceuticals help without a "hangover".
(11.05.2010) Hangover stands for hangover in English. The next morning, people who have taken sleeping pills for their sleeping problems in the evening often feel hungover. A good sleeping pill should not only support falling asleep and staying asleep, it should also help you wake up fresh, rested and productive the next day. Scientific studies have shown that herbal sleep aids usually meet this requirement better than their synthetic competitors.
The so-called benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed sleep aids in Germany. Their most dangerous disadvantage is their addiction potential: According to the latest information from the German Center for Addiction Issues DHS, 1.1 to 1.2 million people in Germany are dependent on benzodiazepine derivatives (source: “Jahrbuch Sucht 2010”). Benzodiazepines prolong sleep, but they often do it excessively: users then complain of drowsiness and tiredness the next day. The consequences of this are an impairment of everyday safety, an increase in traffic accidents and, in the elderly, an increased risk of dangerous falls.
Well-studied plant extracts from valerian, lemon balm or hops are known to exert their sleep-inducing and calming effects primarily in the brain via gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Unlike benzodiazepines, they do not affect the ability to concentrate the next day. The results of eight randomized controlled trials that document it are now available. Like Dr. Martin Burkart, Karlsruhe, recently reported in Munich, found none of these studies to indicate a deterioration in concentration, reaction speed, perception or alertness (vigilance) on the day after taking one of the herbal sleeping pills examined. The subjective feeling of wakefulness was not felt differently after taking the herbal sleep aids than under treatment with a dummy medication (placebo). In contrast, the sedative hangover of the synthetic agents used in some of the studies for comparison was regularly confirmed. You can find the sources of the studies and further information at www.phytotherapie-komitee.de (KFN 08/2010)