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Sleeping pills only work because you think they will
About the author: 

Millions of people take a sleeping pill for their insomnia, but they're falling asleep because they think it is working

Millions of people take a sleeping pill for their insomnia, but they're falling asleep because they think it is working. In other words, the positive effects could be all in the mind-but the drugs' side effects are very much real.
The Z-drugs-non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, some of the most commonly prescribed sleeping pills-are no better than a placebo, or sugar pill, say researchers.
But although the benefits are in the mind, around 20 per cent of people taking them suffer from a side effect, while one per cent of older people will have a fall, fracture or are involved in a road traffic accident after using them.
After reviewing the evidence from 13 trials that involved more than 4,300 people, researchers from Harvard Medical School said that people did fall asleep quicker after they took a Z-drug, but so too did people taking a placebo.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2012; 345: e8343).


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