These days, about 50 percent of Americans suffer from inadequate sleep. While some endure traditional insomnia; others experience maintenance insomnia, which is characterized by frequent waking combined with an inability to return to sleep. To promote drowsiness, countless people rely on sleep aids, which often come with a host of unwanted side-effects. To satisfy a growing demand for safe, tolerable sleep medications, drug companies are regularly conducting experiments which test new medications. Recently, Merck & Co. reported a successful study which may pave the way for a new sleep aid that works without causing unpleasant side-effects.


According to the drug manufacturer, Merck & Co., it has successfully tested a new sleep medication which promotes sleep without causing the same attention and memory problems associated with Lunesta, Ambien and other commonly used sleep aids. Dubbed Suvorexant, the new drug is a Dual Orexin Receptor Antagonist or DORA, meaning it works by blocking chemical messengers called orexins, which are responsible for promoting wakefulness. Typical sleep aids target GABA receptors, which regulate cognition in addition to sleep. By bypassing these receptors, Suvorexant is supposedly able to promote sleep without impacting memory.

Not Practical for Sleep Apneics

While this new drug may prove to be a lifesaver for traditional insomniacs; it won’t prove useful to sleep apneics. Because it causes breathing problems which result in frequent waking, obstructive sleep apnea promotes chronic maintenance insomnia. A sleeping pill isn’t likely to keep any sleep apneic asleep. What’s more, if it did, the consequences could be severe; after all, although it may be annoying, frequent waking associated with sleep apnea is the brain’s way of altering the body that blood oxygen levels are far too low.

A Realistic Approach

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, don’t expect to find relief from a pill. On the other hand, oral sleep appliances can provide lasting relief from snoring, frequent waking and the breathing problems associated with this dangerous disorder. To learn more, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver today.