Insomnia has a way of taking control of your life quickly.
There’s nothing like a few nights in a row with no sleep to instantly change someone’s personality.
And I guess that’s why so many people turn to powerful prescription meds so quickly – because they’re looking for a quick fix and a chance to finally get some much-needed sleep.
But if you’re not getting enough sleep, don’t be so quick to reach for that pill bottle.
Not only are drugs not the only solution, they’re not even the best or most effective solution.
The latest study to confirm this compared a popular sleep med to simple talk therapy. And guess what? Talk therapy works every bit as well as these powerful and expensive meds.
But like they say in those late-night infomercials, “Wait! There’s more!” Because that’s not even the best part of this study, which was published in May in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study also found that over the long term, talk therapy was even better than drugs. Folks who got talk therapy refreshers during a six-month follow-up period slept better than those who were allowed to take meds whenever they felt they needed them.
If you’re not sleeping well, you should get to the bottom of it. Chronic sleeplessness has been linked to hypertension, depression and increased suicidal thoughts, even in people who are not otherwise depressed.
But as this study shows, there’s no need to turn your condition into a payday for Big Pharma.
I often write these messages late at night, not because I suffer from insomnia but because it’s the only time of day I’m not busy with patients, studying medical reports or raising my boys.
If, like me, you’re up at that hour you’ve probably noticed all those commercials for sleep drugs that show up after midnight. I can’t help but laugh when I see them, because it seems like the longest part of these commercials is the part where they mention all the side effects.
Depression, unusual thoughts, risky behavior, decreased inhibitions, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, confusion, blurred vision, lack of coordination, amnesia, nausea, constipation and headaches are some of the possible side effects. I say “some” because I can’t possibly list them all.
There have even been reports of people walking, making phone calls, eating and driving – yes, driving! – while supposedly asleep on these drugs.
While talk therapy is a great alternative to prescription meds, I’ve found that many people who suffer from chronic sleeplessness or fatigue are often quietly battling a potassium deficiency.
Dr. William B. Ferril
Dr. William B. Ferril's medical practice in Whitefish, Montana has become a beacon of hope for people throughout the country seeking relief from some of medicine’s most heartbreaking diseases. He also spent a decade practicing medicine on the Flathead Indian reservation in Western Montana.
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