It’s the middle of the night. You’re tossing and turning, worrying about how you’re going to come up with this month’s rent now that they’ve cut your hours at work.
You reach for the sleeping pill that your doctor prescribed, but advised only to take when needed. Lately, you’ve been needing it every night.
A new study has discovered that people who take sleeping pills have a higher death risk than non-users. This is not good news if you’ve become dependent of your sleep medication.
“We are not certain. But it looks like sleeping pills could be as risky as smoking cigarettes," study researcher Dr. Daniel F. Kripke, MD, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, told WebMD. "It looks much more dangerous to take these pills than to treat insomnia another way."
If you suffer from insomnia or any other sleep related condition, your physician may have prescribed you with sleeping pills described as hypnotics. This includes such drugs as zolpidem (Ambien) or temazapam (Restoril), eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), triazolam (Halcion), flurazepam (Dalmane), barbiturates, and older antihistamines such as diphenhydramine.
You need your rest, but you suffer from insomnia. How can you sleep without the aid of sleeping pills? Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Schedule your sleep.
It is possible to train your body to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, but it takes time. If you don't fall asleep within about 15 minutes after going to bed, get up and do something relaxing such as meditating or listening to soothing music. When you start to feel sleepy, get back to bed.
2. Create a relaxing atmosphere.
A room that’s cool, dark, and quiet is best for sleeping. Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. Also limit pets and children in your bed whenever possible.
3. Avoid electronic devices.
Many people fall asleep with the TV in their bedroom, but this is not an effective sleep aid. A stimulated brain makes it harder to fall asleep, so check your email, social media, or answering phone messages earlier in the evening, before settling down for the night.
4. Limit napping.