Trouble sleeping? You ‘re not alone.
According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 18% of OTC sleep aid users use them every day.
And 41% say that they’ve taken them from a year or much longer. 27% indicate that insomnia is a regular part of their lives. And 68% say they have trouble sleeping at least one night a week, which gets you into the mild insomnia club.
That’s almost everyone.
BCC Research states that the nation spent $41 billion on sleep remedies in 2015 (most recent year on record). At this place, insomnia will be a $52 billion industry by 2020.
With bloodstreams pumped full of everything from Tylenol PM to Unisom to ZZZquil, one really has to wonder why something as natural as sleeping has somehow become an endangered species in this culture.
Why Sleep Aids Don’t Solve the Problem
Doctors such as Cardiologist Kevin Campbell warns that “There are interactions between these over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs that a patient may not be aware of…Some of them may be dangerous and life threatening so it’s always important to consult your physician before taking over-the-counter drugs OkReviews if you’re on chronic meds.”
When he says “chronic meds”, he’s talking about Rx drugs, but “Chronic” is basically med-speak for “long-term”.
The active ingredients in these drugs aren’t intended to be taken long term and the effects of taking them long-term are poorly understood at best. Despite the warning right there on the bottle stating “do not take longer than 1-2 weeks: people are “addicted” to OTC sleep aids.
The Effects of Common Sleep Aids
Sleep aid ingredients have been linked to the development of Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Impairment.
The painkillers that may be in your fav sleep aid can also wreak havoc on your stomach, kidneys, and liver that must process and expel these toxins. And you could be taking more painkillers than you think.
If you are, for example, taking regular acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol) and then taking a sleep aid and or cold medicine with the same ingredient, you may be doubling up.
If you’re thinking that alcohol might actually be the “health-friendlier” choice, think again.
According to research by Cleveland Clinic, alcohol consumption can reduce your ability to sleep deeply, which you need to do to feel rested.
According to Dr. Vensel-Rundo of the study “if you drink alcohol or take a drug before bedtime, you can expect to wake up with some degree of grogginess.”
Finally, if you think that the ones prescribed by the doctor are better and safer, please read a list of side effects and evaluate it yourself.
This is not really what people are looking for when they just want a good night’s sleep.
How Does the Sleep Industry Benefits from Insomnia?
This is not to lay blame or suggest some conspiracy, but simply to state a fact. Unfortunately, as is common in many industries, the sleeping pill industry benefits by the billions when people are sleep deprived. They don’t benefit from proving a “cure”.
Instead, they make the most by providing a very temporary solution that may not technically “cause dependency” but on which many have become “dependent”.
People are so conditioned for quick fixes and answers in a pill that they often lose sight of the ultimate goal – regular, relaxing, rejuvenating sleep.
The above “solution” is not the answer. Many “quick fix” pills and alcohol really only mask the problem. Getting better sleep doesn’t happen “overnight”. But everyone can get a good night’s sleep. You deserve to do so.
Natural Ways to Treat Insomnia Backed by Science
1. Educate Yourself about Sleep
If sleep isn’t the most natural thing in the world to you, there are some underlying causes. These are what you need to address. Sweeping them under the rug will just make them haunt your dreams.
You know it’s the truth.
2. Practice Slow, Deep Breathing through the Nose
It reduces stress. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, it can put you right back to sleep.
A deep breath expands your abdomen as the diaphragm (muscle under your lungs) comes down to make room for the air.
3. Restrict Device Use Before Sleep
That’s not easy.
But whatever you read or see right before you go to sleep is stuck in your head all night. What do you upload into your brain right before you go to sleep? A horror movie, work email, negative FB posts, bombing and political fodder on the news, your friends tweeting about celebrity deaths?
On top of trouble sleeping, studies show that all of this negativity is “hardwired” into your brain if you sleep immediately after viewing, which means it stays with you sub-consciously much longer than you realize.
In addition, a factor in this equation is blue light, conform to powerslimdiet.com. Blue light is a portion of the spectrum of visible light. It comes off the sky during the daytime and your computer screens as well.
This has been shown to impact your sleep cycle.
And sleep time isn’t the only casualty. Research published in the Harvard Business Review showed that using a device first thing in the morning could wreck your day. But it’s not the tech; it’s how you use it, right?
4. Use devises More Effectively
If you must have your device at bedtime, that’s okay. Do so responsibly. Get a meditation app. Use a blue light blocking the app. Or find a positive site that gets you thinking about the good file.
5. Eliminate Distracting Background Noise
You may be sleeping. But your brain is trained to always be aware of your surroundings so that you can respond quickly in an emergency – if you’re not knocked out on sleep aids.
Use white noise like Hans if you can hear the TV or trains from your bedroom.
6. Use Heavy Blankets
This may not work if you tend to get overheated while you sleep. But heavy blankets have been shown to create a very “comforting” feeling that can decrease “waking up” episodes.
They’re used in treatment facilities to calm anxiety in patients in order to improve sleep during recovery.