by Elise J. Tooley
According to a newly released Canadian study, treating insomnia and anxiety disorders with prescription medications can increase the risk of mortality by 36%.
University Laval’s School of Psychology professor Genevieve Belleville based her conclusions after analyzing over 14,000 Canadians listed in Statistics Canada’s National Population Health Survey. Professor Belleville published her research in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry’s September 2010 issue.
The data took into account the overall lifestyle, health and social demographics of people ranging from 18 to 102 years of age. The control group was surveyed every two years from 1994 to 2007. Belleville took into account that alcohol intake, daily exercise, and depression could impact results and controlled the study over this timeframe, taking these factors into account.
Without doubt, there is a definite link between taking prescription sleep medications and increased mortality. It is a well known fact that prescription sleep medications impact coordination, reactions times and one’s ability to be alert.
In addition, these medications inhibit the functioning of the central nervous system which can affect overall judgment and even increase suicide risks. There have also been reports that sleeping pills can negatively impact the respiratory system.
“These medications aren’t candy, and taking them is far from harmless,” Belleville commented. “Given that cognitive behavioral therapies have shown good results in treating insomnia and anxiety, doctors should systematically discuss such therapies with their patients as an option.”
What About Natural Sleep Aid Alternatives?
If you’re an insomnia sufferer, you know that there are few things worse than not being able to sleep regularly. It’s no wonder that so many turn to prescription sleep solutions such as Ambien, Lunesta and Rozerem for help.
Given the fact that there are many risks inherent in taking prescription sleep and anxiety medications, especially over the long term, isn’t it worth your time to explore alternative sleep aids?
Here are a few you may wish to consider:
- Secreted by the pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone known to help people achieve healthy sleep. Several clinical studies over the years have shown that, in fact, melatonin does help people achieve restorative sleep and is a known natural sleep aid.
- Herbal sleep remedies — there are a number of reputable providers that offer herbal sleep remedies. Herbal sleep aids have been proven to help regulate the nightly sleep cycle over time, regulate serotonin levels in the body and aid in relaxation and bolstering one’s sense of well being.
- Valerian root — famous for being the original substance found in tranquilizers such as Valium, valerian has been used in helping anxiety disorders and sleep ailments. Valerian is available over the counter in local health food markets.
- L-theanine – green tea contains this amino acid that helps people to relax and achieve sounder sleep.
- Maintain a regular exercise routine. Studies have shown that people who exercise have less trouble with insomnia.
- Go to bed at the same time each night. There’s a lot to be said when it comes to sticking to a regular sleep routine. Doing this creates a pattern and rhythm for your body.
- Sleep programming CDs — making use of relaxation tapes and sleep programming CDs that help the body relax are worth considering as part of your sleep routine.
- Avoid coffee and other substances that contain caffeine — try warm milk instead.
- Make sure your bedroom is a relaxing place to be. If you have a computer or television in your bedroom, try to relocate to a different room. Bedrooms ideal for sleeping exude a relaxed atmosphere and should be dark and quiet.
- Chamomile tea before bed is a relaxing option before bed. Chamomile is a gentle herbal relaxant known to help people with mild insomnia, or transient insomnia.
According to Google search statistics, the number of people searching for natural sleep aid terms has risen steadily since at least 2004. As a result of increased interest, there are now a number of relaxation techniques, quality herbal remedies and professional sleep programming CDs that can help you get a good night’s sleep.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before adding natural sleep aids and herbal relaxation remedies into your daily supplement mix.
Elise J. Tooley is a full time online researcher and website creator who has suffered with insomnia for over twenty years. She enjoys sharing natural sleep aid solutions and news on her new website All Natural Sleep Aids.