Does your sleep problem involve waking up in the middle of the night once or several times and then trouble falling back to sleep? Sleep maintenance insomnia is actually the most common form of insomnia, and it’s more common as people age. Here’s a quick review of the possible causes and what can be done.
Post-marketing tests now show that Ambien and Lunesta, the most popular sleeping pills today, are not as benign as they once were believed to be. Are we moving into a period similar to that which occurred in the 1980s, when physicians moved away from prescribing sleeping pills for people with insomnia and prescribed off-label medications instead?
Dr. Oz’s tip for curing insomnia—wearing heated rice footsies to bed (see my blog last March)—may have led to second- and third-degree burns for TV viewer Frank Dietl, but Oz is not responsible for the injuries, the New York Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 3. Moral of story? Take the advice of tele-evangelist health gurus with a grain of salt.
But let’s get back to the notion that heating the extremities might help to promote sleep. For some of us, this may be a useful strategy.
Think back, if you suffer from both depression and insomnia. Which came first?
For years, the thinking on the subject was that depression gave rise to sleep problems, but the story is different today. It looks more and more like chronic insomnia is a way station to depression.
Like your sleeping pills? You’re not alone. About 8.6 million Americans now use prescription sleep aids, according to the CDC.
Yet as they grow more popular, I sense a move afoot to restrict their use.
“You know what I do that helps me sleep?” my husband’s Uncle Walter said to me. “You’re an expert on sleep, so you probably wouldn’t approve. But here it is: I listen to the radio. What do you think of that?”
“Do whatever works!” I replied.
I’ve had some excellent medical care over the years, but when it comes providing help for insomnia, many doctors are out to lunch. They grab hold of a single idea about insomnia—it’s due to poor sleep hygiene, it’s due to stress, or it’s due to psychic damage that needs to be sorted out—and treat insomniacs as if we’re all alike.