Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dangerous ways to try for better sleep....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 5-28-2015

There are effective and safe ways to get to sleep; to stay asleep; and to get restful sleep.

But what if you don’t know them or the ones you have tried so far haven’t worked well enough?

There are antihistamines that make people drowsy.  Alcohol when you are tired can put you to sleep.  And there are the hypnotic sleep drugs.

Should you take them?  Except for alcohol which is a special case, it looks like a very, very bad idea! 
That’s particularly true since there are much safer and effective alternatives

1.  The antihistamines aren’t great on sleep quality and have bad long term effects. 

They are anticholinergic drugs which means they interfere with your normal supply of energy.
And a study found that taking this class of drugs or tranquilizers long term tends to cause mental decline including Alzheimer’s disease. Worse, it’s a strong effect!

2.  The hypnotic sleep drugs are so bad they are scary. 

They have a death rate – sometimes within days of beginning them.  People have done sleep walking under their influence and have eaten poisons instead of food and gone outside in subzero weather for a walk with no clothes on and frozen to death and sleep driven into concrete pillars and the like.

And the hypnotic sleep drugs increase your odds of getting cancer within a year so much they should likely be banned as carcinogenic.  They have a similar huge boosting effect for death from all causes.
And, they don’t result in great sleep quality either; they just stop you from being awake.

Worse, they tend to be addictive.  So when given as a short term help, they can be hard to stop taking.

We have posted on the things that create and restore better sleep and help you to get to sleep and stay asleep.  Some of them are more strategic but there are also things you can take that work instead of those three things. Learn and use those instead!

3.  What about alcohol?

Compared to most alternatives, alcoholic drinks are effective at lowering perceived stress including depression; and when you are short on sleep and you drink them in the evening they do tend to put you to sleep. (So if you are stressed and short on sleep and drink or drink extra do everything you can to not drive or have someone else do it!)

Red wine is by far the safest and most beneficial alcoholic drink.

There are four downsides for using as a sleep aid though:

1.  The sleep alcoholic drinks give you is stress relieving but doesn’t provide the full restorative effects of real sleep. 

2.  Once your body processes the alcohol, you sometimes become wide awake and have trouble falling back to sleep.

3.  Drinking more than a light moderate amount is somewhat fattening and recent research found even harms your heart over time when you drink more than that and heavy drinking can cause brain and liver damage. And, except for red wine, alcoholic drinks are somewhat carcinogenic.

4.  Drinking more than a light moderate amount also causes physically harmful and deadly accidents both driving and at home.

So, if you drink lightly and drink instead of taking the dangerous two kinds of drugs and can sleep a bit longer so your normal sleep is close to what you need, light drinking can help.  And a good quality red wine is usually a better choice if you do this often.

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Blogger David said...

From Jenny Thompson's HSI Alert for 6-1-2015 [About how very dangerous Ambien actually has proven to be]

"Sources: "ISMP Quarter Watch, May 6, 2015,
"Safety concerns mount for sleeping pill zolpidem (Ambien)" Joe Graedon, May 7, 2015, The People's Pharmacy, "

Dear Reader,

The most dangerous psychiatric drug in America is sending more than 10,000 people a year to emergency rooms.

....the most dangerous mind-altering drug in America is Ambien (zolpidem), a sleep drug sitting in millions of medicine cabinets right now.

A government report shows that ER visits linked to zolpidem have shot through the roof -- but that's only part of the story.

Because it turns out that zolpidem injuries and deaths may be thanks to one of the biggest labeling blunders in drug history. A tragic, 23-year-old decision that practically guaranteed we'd turn into a nation of sleeping pill addicts.

"I started Ambien and now I am worried about what will happen in 10 days." That's what one new zolpidem user had to say after she filled her first prescription for the med. But lots of zolpidem users can predict exactly what's going to happen in 10 days.

There's a good chance users will become addicted to the drug, spending the next several months… or even years… popping the pill.

There are more than 5 million people, many of them seniors, taking zolpidem right now. And the CDC claims zolpidem is sending at least 10,000 people to the ER each year -- more than any psychiatric drug (which is the classification for zolpidem).

Zolpidem has been linked to hallucinations, heart palpitations, dangerous falls, and even risky late-night strolls and drives you may never remember. But millions of people aren't just taking zolpidem because of clever marketing -- they're taking it because they can't quit this highly addictive drug.

And that's a situation that the FDA practically guaranteed would happen.

When drug giant Sanofi submitted Ambien (the first zolpidem drug) for approval in 1992, it used studies that it claimed proved the drug was particularly effective for 4-5 weeks. Twenty-three years later, the Ambien label still carries that language.

But the FDA approved Ambien without understanding the long-term risks -- and we now know that you can become addicted to the drug in just a couple weeks. A prescription for 4-5 weeks or longer puts patients at serious risk of getting hooked.

In fact, when the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) researched zolpidem prescriptions, it found a "broad pattern of unsafe use." More than two-thirds of those taking it were long-term users, with an average 229 days' supply. And many people are on zolpidem for years.

9:33 AM  
Blogger David said...

And millions of zolpidem patients are taking the drug with absolutely no benefit. After two weeks, it only helps you fall asleep about three minutes faster -- and the drug has never been proven to help you stay asleep.

Many zolpidem patients continue taking the drug because it feels much easier than quitting. They've heard the horror stories about withdrawal symptoms that can include anxiety, violent stomach cramps, sudden mood changes and even seizures.

But staying on the drug long-term can boost your heart attack risk by 50 percent and your chances of getting Alzheimer's by a gigantic 84 percent.

If you've been taking zolpidem (it's also sold as Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Edluar and Zolpimist), quitting will be a challenge -- but it's important to work with your doctor on a plan to wean yourself off of the drug gradually.

And here are some suggestions that might make it easier to doze off without resorting to dangerous or addictive meds.

Avoid eating a heavy meal shortly before bedtime. If you must have a late-night snack, try something that won't spike your blood sugar, like a banana or some almonds.

Stay away from the computer for an hour or two before you go to bed, and keep your bedroom free of electronic devices such as your laptop and smart phone.

Even though we tend to doze off while watching late night television, TV viewing late at night has been proven to interfere with the quality of your sleep.

After around two or three in the afternoon, opt for decaf tea or coffee. And before bedtime, try an herbal tea like chamomile. Chamomile is a natural sedative, and one study found it can help you fall asleep faster and reduce nighttime waking by one-third.

Consider other natural solutions like melatonin and L-Theanine that can also help you drift off to dream land quickly -- and, more importantly, safely.

To Your Good Health, Jenny Thompson

9:34 AM  
Blogger David said...

Imagine paying for a marginally effective sleep drug that can kill you AND cause you extra ER visits for years AND then the likely boost in Alzheimer's alone is 84%.

And, it apparently is addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Ambien does exactly this to most people who take it.

Because there are so many effective ways to get to sleep better and get better sleep, this is really horrible. Please don't let it happen to you.

9:40 AM  

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