People overestimate the effectiveness of sleeping pills mainly because of the placebo effect: once we take a pill, our brains automatically think that it will make us feel better, or in this case, sleep.  Some of the more popular drugs, like Ambien or Lunesta, show no major improvements in sleep.  Studies show that these drugs make it harder to form short-term memories.  They suggest that after taking these drugs, your brain is tricked that you slept great, but for all you know, you could have been tossing and turning all night.  Your brain didn’t capture these moments into conscious thoughts so you think you’re sleeping better than you are.

According to IMS Health, 60 million sleeping pill prescriptions were filled in the United States last year.  This is an insane statistic that brings upon one of the most important ethical questions of my capstone.  Is it ethical to buy chemicals to put into your body to help yourself sleep?  One who uses drugs to help them aid sleep is cheating their way out.  Your body is being tricked into thinking you've had a good night's sleep.  Why not use a non-chemical approach that is healthier and more beneficial for your body?  Better pillows, mattresses and blankets are all okay to buy because these assist in establishing your sleep environment.  People can drink countless cups of coffee because caffeine is the classic go-to for staying awake.  The main question is: when does all this cross a line?

Pharmaceutical drug companies are benefiting from our sleep deprivation.  Is it ethical to profit from other peoples' flaws and misfortunes?  The sleep aid industry has become a competitive market and has created a massive amount of capital gain.  Because of this market, sleep disorders are being overlooked by 80%, which is hurting society in the long run.  How far are we willing to go to develop and enhance ourselves?