There are many reasons we can lose sleep over the course of the night. Luckily science has made many strides in order to help us achieve a better sleeping schedule, which in turn improves our quality of life. Medicine has come a long way in helping with these issues and there are many over the counter drugs available that help you battle any sleep disorder you might have. This ranges from nightmares, insomnia, and sleep apnea to jet lag.
More than five percent of adults have reported having frequent bad dreams. And in America, if you focus just on people suffering from PTSD, that number rises to a staggering 71 percent. Two ways people can battle these bad dreams are by using Prazosin or undergoing imagery-rehearsal therapy. Prazosin is a drug that regulates blood pressure, but it also helps alleviate issues with bad dreams. Researchers think that this is happening due to the compounds that are blocking neurotransmitter noradrenaline, a chemical that is commonly associated with peoples fight or flight defense mechanisms.
Imagery-rehearsal therapy, on the other hand, forces the subjects to rehearse the nightmare in as much detail as possible, but then give it a more pleasant ending. After a while, the dreams occur less frequently and are less disturbing overall.
For insomnia, there are many different drugs available, but one of the most promising ones is Suvorexant, which is from the class of drugs known as orexin receptor antagonists. These drugs destabilize wakefulness. Because of this, they do not cause drowsiness.
A research has been conducted between the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto in order to come up with treatments for sleep apnea. The researchers are trying to find a way to target motor neurons in the airways that can keep them from relaxing during sleep. A drug capable of something like this is on the horizon, but people may have to wait a little bit longer.
During 2014 no less than four research groups were able to identify molecules that can control circadian rhythms and keep them in sync. If scientists were to find a way to suppress those compounds in humans, they would be able to quickly adjust to major changes in their sleep schedules. Scientists than claimed that we are 10 years away from creating such a drug, but that it is on the way.
Hopefully, we may soon expect major advancements in this underrated field. Regular sleep is becoming harder to come by due to peoples hectic schedules, and drugs like this could potentially improve many lives.