A study published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year found that people taking hypnotic drugs, such as emazepam (Restoril) and zolpidem (Ambien), were subject to one or more of the following: appetite changes, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and strange dreams.
They also experienced a higher incidence of cancer and death than those who didn’t take hypnotic drugs.
Sleep issues become more prevalent as we age. Though hours of sleep diminish, the need for those lost hours doesn’t go away. And if we need a sleep aid, there’s no reason to avoid using one under the supervision of a doctor.
But the recommendation is to try the eight tips below before turning to pills:
At some point, exercise during the day.
Use your bed only for sleep and sex—not work or TV.
Keep the bedroom comfortable.
Start a sleep ritual.
Have a small bedtime snack.
Avoid alcohol and chocolate before bed.
Wind down before getting into bed.
Talk to your doctor about what’s keeping you up at night.
My Take on better sleep: What’s most helpful to me is self-hypnosis—no side effects. I use CDs by Dr Stephen Gergovitch, a colleague of Dr Andrew Weil.
I was surprised to learn that hypnosis works best on people who are bright, creative and strong-willed.
What also helps my sleep is avoiding blue spectrum light before bedtime. I’ll publish a blog tomorrow explaining what it’s all about with 6 more tips.
Sources: Harvard Women’s Health Watch, July 2012 British Medical Journal, February 2012