These days it seems like life is more stressful than ever.
There’s so much to do. Between cleaning, cooking and shopping—and countless work and family obligations—it can make your head spin.
And when you turn on the news it can seem like the world is falling apart.
No wonder sleep problems are on rise!
Millions turn to sleeping pills every year in a desperate attempt to grab a little shut eye. But what they don’t realize is that they could be getting a LOT more sleep than they ever bargained for—sleep of the permanent variety.
Because, tragically, sleeping pills can kill.
Major sleep drugs linked to BIG heart risks
In 2013 a major study linked billion-dollar sleep drug zolpidem—found in some best-selling brand names such as Ambien Edluar, and Zolpimist—to a mind-blowing fifty percent jump in heart attack risk for regular users.
Even moderate users could be increasing their risk by 20 percent according to the study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan.
And just one 10 mg zolpidem a week could double your risk of damaging an aorta blood vessel increasing your chance of a potentially deadly aortic dissection.
Prescription sleep drugs could increase your cancer risk
A study published in the journal BMJ Open revealed yet another way sleep drugs could kill you. Scientists found a frightening link between prescription sleep drugs and cancer risk.
When they crunched the numbers the researchers found that sleeping drug users had a much higher risk for developing cancer and dying prematurely than their non-drug taking peers.
Those findings echoed an earlier study on sedative sleep drugs that found users can have up to a 36 percent higher risk of dying, with the highest risk being in those who had some kind of pre-existing health condition such as a heart or respiratory illness.
I could go on and on here, but the bottom line is prescription sleeping pills can be dangerous and even downright deadly. And studies show they’re not even very effective, delivering mere minutes (yes , really) of extra non-quality sleep in exchange for their many risks.
I recommend trying some natural shut-eye tricks instead.
3 steps to beat insomnia & get your 40 winks naturally
You don’t need to turn to prescription sleep pills to get your 40 winks, even when stress levels are running high like this time of year. Try my 3 Steps to Natural Slumber, and before you know it you’ll be drifting off to La La Land without a care in the world.
Step 1 to Natural Slumber: Diet tweak
This may seem obvious, but since many of us don’t make the changes to our diet that we know we should, it’s worth saying. When you’re having trouble sleeping you should cut down on (and preferably drop) any known stimulants from your diet including…
- cola drinks
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- tyramine-rich foods such as tomatoes, eggplant, aged cheese, smoked fish and fermented foods
Keep in mind certain drugs including statins, beta blockers and antidepressants can cause insomnia too. You shouldn’t ever stop a drug, without talking to your doctor first, but if you’re having trouble sleeping make an appointment to discuss alternatives.
Certain supplements such as ginseng, guarana and even glucosamine and chondroitin can be stimulating for some users. If you’re tossing and turning at night talk with your naturopathic doctor about other options.
Step 2 to Natural Slumber: Bedroom overhaul
For many of us our bedrooms serve double or triple duty acting as home offices, entertainment zones and family-staging areas. It’s time to change that.
I want you to think of your bedroom as a slumbering haven. It should be used for preparing for sleep, sleep and bed-related activities (wink wink) ONLY.
To do that
- remove the television
- ban backlit devices including cell phones, laptops and tablets (they can disturb your circadian rhythms keeping you from sleeping)
- replace digital clocks with analog ones and kick out any light-producing, blinking electronics
- tweak the temperature (slightly cooler is better for sleep)
- try blackout shades to block any stimulating light that could be sneaking in through the windows
Step 3 to Natural Slumber: Sleep supplements
If you’re still having trouble getting your 40 winks there are several sleep supplements you can try….
I find these three simple steps are usually all that’s needed to get through a bout of insomnia for most folks. Instead of reaching for a dangerous sleeping pill why not give them a try instead?
Dr. Allan Spreen
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