Today, 11/27/2018, Dr. Oz advises us not to take a sleeping pill every night. There are many side effects and long-term use can cause other problems with your health. A health alert for anyone who takes daily sleep aids: are these pills addictive and keeping you on a vicious cycle of poor sleep?
Some of the more popular prescription sleeping pills contain zolpidem. While they are very effective, be cautious of the potential side effects. These side effects include hallucinations, problems with memory, excessive daytime tiredness, sleepwalking and engaging in other behaviors such as eating and even driving while not fully awake and alert. One way to avoid these side effects is to avoid interactions with other medications and alcoholic beverages, and to always take the prescribed dosage – never take more medication than your doctor tells you to take.
Sleep is crucial for your overall health and well-being but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 25 percent of American adults have reported inadequate sleep for at least 15 out of every 30 days. In addition, an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. If you aren’t getting the quality sleep you need or want to improve your sleep naturally, dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping you reach your goals.
Ways to Fall Asleep without Pills or Melatonin
- Maintain a healthy diet. Consuming a diverse diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, like fish and meat, benefits nearly all aspects of your mind and body and supports the natural production of melatonin, the hormone behind your circadian rhythm.
- Choose drinks wisely. Aside from cutting down on caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda, you should also curb alcohol intake which can cause what Dr. Ruiz refers to as “rebound insomnia,” or sleeplessness that occurs after your liver has metabolized the alcohol.
- Keep a sleep diary. One of the most effective ways to get your sleep back on track is to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. To identify your sleep habits, Dr. Ruiz recommends documenting every time you get up and fall asleep, and any noteworthy symptoms and triggers that may relate to your sleep.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation can work wonders for sleep. Meditating leads to mindfulness and may alleviate the stress responsible for sleep disruption. Make sure your sleep space is in a relaxing environment.
- Drink Chamomile tea before bedtime.
If you feel you’re not getting sufficient restorative sleep, experience sleepiness during the day, snore or move excessively while asleep, or get regular complaints from your sleep partner, it may be time to consult with a sleep specialist about your concerns. Individuals with heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation (A-fib) or congestive heart failure may also want to consider visiting a specialist to address sleep-related breathing problems.
FINAL THOUGHT: The main ingredient in many OTC sleeping pills is an antihistamine which results in the drowsy and sedative effect. Many of the OTC sleep aids are good for specific situations; as an example, an analgesic sleep aid is good when someone has pain keeping them from sleeping. These medications are usually a combination of a pain or inflammation reliever and an antihistamine. These are not meant for every night use, which the manufacturers say on the box. You need to be responsible for what you take and if you need an OTC every night to aid your sleep, it’s time to speak to a sleep specialist.
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