Michael Jackson died from propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. His death was not a suicide. He was just trying to get a good night’s sleep. He is not alone in having died from sleep medication. A recent large study published in the British Medical Journal shows that anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills have been linked to a doubling to quadrupling (2-4X) in the risk of death. This study found that benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed drug class.
About 70 million Americas suffer from insomnia (sleep disorders) and about 10 million are prescribed sleep medication, but it is estimated that as many as 1 in 10 Americans use sleeping pills.
It is known that sedation worsens sleep apnea which is associated with risk of death.
Besides immediate risk of death, many cancers are linked to sleep medication. The study found a 35% higher risk of cancer.
Another study by Dr. Daniel F. Kripke M.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego found that the top third of sleeping-pill users had a 5.3-fold higher death risk, making sleeping pills as risky as cigarettes. An ‘easy reading’ version of this study, the Darker Side of Sleeping Pills, is available at the link below. Based on these findings, Kripke and colleagues estimate that sleeping pills are linked to 320,000 to 507,000 U.S. deaths each year. By contrast, 33,783 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2011.
Even if you don’t die, sleep medication has the additional effects of causing drowsiness, impaired judgment, depression and heart problems.
It may sound surprising, but sleeping pills are not even the best way to treat insomnia. The drugs clearly help people with short-term trouble getting to sleep. But for insomnia sufferers, they are not the answer.
Michael Jackson was a good friend of Deepak Chopra M.D. , widely considered the body mind alternative medicine expert. Sadly too late for Michael, but Deepak and colleagues recently came out with a new technology that helps reduce stress and anxiety and helps people fall to sleep instantly and effortlessly without drugs. The device, called the Dream Weaver, actually puts a person into a relaxed, meditative, dream or sleep state depending on the program used.
The Dream Weaver consists of a portable controller which is plugged into a pair of light goggles and headphones or earbuds. The light goggles are experienced through closed eyes. While this should not be used by people who have or had seizures, for the rest of the population the results are generally pretty immediate – as in minutes.
Here is what some of the users have said about the Dream Weaver for sleep and dealing with stress.
“The serenity is beyond words. I sleep better and wake more refreshed.”
“Worth every penny. I have never slept so good.”
“I am totally rejuvenated.”
“I am still in a state of shock that I had gotten the best night’s sleep I can ever remember having.”
Stress & Relaxation
“The first night I tried them on I was more at peace than I have ever been.”
“The Dream Weaver makes me feel like I am on vacation within 5-10 minutes.”
“Very deep relaxation in minutes.”
“It took me to the most relaxing time I ever had in my life.”
The Deepak Chopra M.D. Dream Weaver comes with 12 programs of 5 to 60 minutes in length, some for relaxation and meditation, and others for dreams and sleep. 5 of the programs are even narrated by Deepak Chopra with original music, some of which is written by Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Professor of Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and co-author with Deepak Chopra on the NYTimes Best Seller Super Brain.