Back in the early 70s when I was a kid there was a song by the 5th Dimension called “(Last night) I didn’t get to sleep at all,” sung beautifully by the immensely talented Marilyn McCoo.
While the idea behind the song is her inability to sleep because her love interest was on her mind, one line of the song that is particularly intriguing is the one where she sings, “The sleeping pill I took was just a waste of time.”
Now that I’m an adult in the health field, I know that taking a sleep drug is arguably the WORST thing you can do for insomnia, and they are far more dangerous than being just “a waste of time!”
Unfortunately, there is a good number of people who struggle to achieve restful sleep on a regular basis and are desperate for answers.
In fact, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 70 percent of adults say they suffer from insomnia at least once a month, and between 10-15 percent report chronic insomnia.
But sleep drugs are not the answer!
Here’s what I mean:
Sleep drugs—worse than lacking sleep!
When people report suffering from insomnia, the typical mainstream medical answer is a sleep drug like Lunesta or Ambien.
But these drugs are even worse than lacking sleep!
In addition to the possibility of addiction and serious withdrawal when trying to stop the medication, the side effects of Lunesta and Ambien can include:
- Difficulty with coordination
- Daytime sleepiness
- Memory loss
- New/worsening depression
- Abnormal thoughts
- Suicidal ideation
- Aggressive behavior
As of April 30, 2019, the FDA announced it will require sedative-hypnotics — including Lunesta and Ambien — to carry a black box warning stating that the drug side effects may include dangerous behaviors done while sleeping, such as eating, walking, driving or engaging in a range of activities in your sleep that can lead to injury or death.
For good reason. People taking these drugs have reported getting out of bed and driving vehicles while not fully awake (called "sleep-driving").
They've also sleepwalked, cooked and eaten food, made phone calls, or even had sex while not fully awake...and have positively no recollection of it later.
If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will.
And the kicker here is that many studies have shown sleeping pills increase sleep time by mere minutes, typically in the range of five to 30 minutes at the most.
Get your Zzzz’s—safely and naturally!
The good news is you can turn the tables and start sleeping better at night—safely and naturally!
You just need to look at all the possible factors behind your poor sleep and do something about them.
Here are 7 very effective ideas to consider:
1- Reduce stress
If stress, anxiety and/or tension are playing a part in your insomnia, it’s time to get a handle on it.
A skilled counselor can be a tremendous help—but make sure they are actually “helping” and not just pushing sleep drugs at you.
Exercise is a great stress and tension reliever. Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK first.
Avoid late night TV watching, especially news channels or suspenseful, sad or violent movies.
2- Avoid sugar, alcohol and stimulants
Most people are aware that drinking caffeinated beverages (including soda, coffee and tea) in the evening can lead to a night filled with tossing and turning, but sugar and alcohol can disrupt your sleep too.
It’s important to remember this because many people turn to alcohol to help them sleep, but it can backfire on you.
3- Try melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is derived from the amino acid tryptophan and the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is produced naturally in your pineal gland, and in smaller amounts by other organs.
Melatonin is crucial for maintaining your body’s circadian rhythm (i.e.: your sleep/wake cycle) so that you are alert and energized during the day and become sleepy in the evening.
But melatonin production can be affected by factors such as alcohol, caffeine and smoking, as well as night shift work.
In addition, our melatonin levels decrease naturally with age, which is why it becomes harder for people over 60 years of age to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
If you feel that low melatonin levels may be affecting your sleep, our Soothing Zzzz’s Blend can help!
Soothing Zzzz’s Blend is a vegan, non-GMO gummy supplement that provides the optimal, restful sleep-supporting 5 mg. dose of melatonin that is frequently recommended by health experts and doctors for people with sleep problems.
4- Darken your room
Darkness is essential to proper, restful sleep, but many of us have night lights, alarm clocks, cell phones and TVs in or near our bedrooms, and these devices are most assuredly compromising your sleep to some degree.
Strive to make your room as dark as possible by eliminating as many sources of light as you can. Also, try to get room-darkening shades to block out light from your neighbor’s outdoor lights or street lights.
5- Explore alternatives to medications
Here are several popular types of medications that can cause insomnia:
- ACE inhibitors, Alpha-blockers and Beta-blockers for high blood pressure
- SSRI antidepressants
- Cholinesterase inhibitors used to treat Alzheimer’s
- H1 antagonists for allergies
- Angiotensin II-receptor blockers (ARBs) used to treat coronary artery disease or heart failure
If you are on these or any other kind of medication, check the package insert to see if insomnia is a side effect and if so, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
If he or she is unwilling to discuss other options, find another doctor who will.
6- Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Studies have shown that a higher level of the Omega-3 EFA Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with better sleep.
And considering that our typical processed/fast food diets are positively anemic when it comes to providing proper levels of Omega-3 EFAs, it’s certainly no surprise that we’re paying the price in countless ways—poor sleep included!
But you can easily help turn that around with a quality fish oil formula that contains the crucial DHA, as well as its “partner” in brain and cardiovascular health—Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
VitalMega-3 is your ticket to making sure your body has the Omega-3 EFAs it so desperately needs.
VitalMega-3 provides 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in each and every daily two-capsule serving, including the all-important EPA and DHA in the 3:2 ratio recommended by experts.
7- Consider bio-identical HRT if you’re menopausal or andropausal
The hormonal changes associated with both menopause and andropause can cause insomnia too.
That’s one of the reasons that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has been a godsend for many women and men!
Unlike potentially dangerous synthetic hormones, your body has an easier time assimilating and benefitting from bio-identical hormones because they are identical in molecular structure to the hormones made by your body.
Take the bull by the horns and address what may be causing your sleep issues, and start enjoying deep, restful sleep now!
To your health,