|Natural Sleep Remedies|
Sleeping pills help you sleep but at what cost ?
Sleeping pills help you sleep,at least that's why so many people take them. However new research suggests that they don't work as well as some people might think. Even worse, the research states that the sleeping pills have a potentially dangerous and little-known side effect - they can rob you of something that is very precious.
The study was funded by the NIH (not a drug company) and they looked at the newer sleeping pills, such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. And what the study found should make you very wary of taking these drugs.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups. To one group they gave sleeping pills and to the other group a placebo. They found that the sleeping pills reduced the average time it took to fall asleep by less than 13 minutes compared to the fake pills. And they increased the total sleep time by only 11 minutes over the placebo. Not much of a difference when you consider the side effects.
The researchers also studied the older sleeping drugs, including Halcion and Restoril. This group fell asleep 10 minutes faster and slept 32 minutes longer than those taking the placebo.
But here's where this study gets really interesting. The participants believed they had slept longer! They actually thought they slept about 52 extra minutes with the older drugs and 32 minutes with the newer drugs. That means the larger benefit is only psychological - you'll think you slept longer than you really do. But this really isn't a benefit ... it's a serious problem.
Sleeping pills can cause a condition called anterograde amnesia, which is a condition where you have trouble forming memories. When you wake up after taking sleeping pills, you may, in fact, simply forget that you had been unable to sleep. That will fool you into thinking that you slept longer.
This type of memory loss is called traveler's amnesia. The FDA label for Halcion clearly explains it as: "All benzodiazepine sleeping pills can cause a special type of amnesia (memory loss) in which a person may not recall events occurring during some period of time, usually several hours, after taking a drug. This is ordinarily not a problem, because the person taking a sleeping pill intends to be asleep during this vulnerable period of time. It can be a problem when the drugs are taken to induce sleep while traveling, such as during an airplane flight, because the person may awake before the effect of the drug is gone."
No one really knows if the drugs do any permanent damage to the brain. But if they make it hard to form memories, even for a short period of time, you have to assume some damage occurs. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. But do you really want to subject your brain to repeated damage (even if you sleep through it)?
Sleeping pills are very questionable in their effectiveness. They can cost up to $5 per pill. They can cause a number of serious (though relatively uncommon) side effects, such as sleepwalking and sleep-eating. They usually are habit forming. And they can cause short-term memory loss.
This is why it is recommended that you try
natural alternatives instead of sleeping pills such as:
Melatonin (1-3 mg 30 minutes before bed)
L-tryptophan (an amino acid) (1,000 mg)
5-HTP (100 mg)
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid) (100 mg)
Calcium lactate (500 mg)
Magnesium (500 mg)
Chamomile tea (Sleepy Tea)
Passion-flower (50 mg)
Lemon Balm (500 mg)
Hops (Humulus Lupulus) (100 mg)
Valerian root (100 mg)
Aromatherapy such as Lavender oil or Jasmine oil
Taking a warm bath before bed
Visualization and Guided Imagery
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Go for a walk in the sunshine and breathe the fresh air
Be sure to get plenty of exercise
(Rebounding, Walking and Swimming are all excellent forms of exercise)
"A Tasty Remedy for Better Sleep...drink some homemade 'walnut milk' right before bedtime. Walnuts are one of the richest dietary sources of serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being. It makes you feel less hungry and gives you a feeling of being full and satisfied. To make a sleep-inducing 'serotonin shake,' just blend 2-4 Tbsp. of walnuts with an equal amount of almond milk and drink it about 30-45 minutes before bedtime."
Traditional Chinese medicine has included treatment for insomnia. A typical approach may utilize acupuncture, dietary and lifestyle analysis, herbology and other techniques, with the goal of resolving the problem at a subtle level.
In the Buddhist tradition, people suffering from insomnia or nightmares may be advised to meditate on "loving-kindness", or metta. This practice of generating a feeling of love and goodwill is claimed to have a soothing and calming effect on the mind and body. This is claimed to stem partly from the creation of relaxing positive thoughts and feelings, and partly from the pacification of negative ones. In the Mettā (Mettanisamsa) Sutta, Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, tells the gathered monks that easeful sleep is one benefit of this form of meditation.
Hypnotherapy, self hypnosis and guided imagery can be effective in not only falling asleep and staying asleep; they can also help to develop good sleeping habits over time. Visualizing can be effective in taking the mind away from present day anxieties and towards a more relaxing place.
Try listening to soft music while practicing yoga breathing exercises
and meditating on positive things.
This also has been shown to lower blood pressure.