These days an old friend of mine is sliding deeper into dependence on alcohol. It’s sad and hard to watch. George stays with us twice a year while visiting his family, who live a few miles away. These family visits are fraught with discord. So by 5 p.m. George is often back at our house for the night—wine or whiskey in hand.
New research explains how alcohol dependence causes insomnia that persists for many years after withdrawal.
I’ve written about common medications that can cause insomnia. But less is known about the side effects of supplements. They’re unregulated in the United States and not required to undergo rigorous testing.
But investigators at ConsumerLab, after reviewing the results of tests that have been conducted, say there’s evidence that 6 supplements may interfere with sleep. Here’s a summary of the findings:
Many of us assume that over-the-counter drugs are safer than prescription drugs.
Yet the long-term effects of any drug can remain unknown for decades, and now researchers have found a correlation between long-term and/or high-dose use of OTC sleep aids and dementia.
Last week a new friend was telling me about her sons. She has quite a bit of anxiety about their situation and, since reaching menopause, she’s had trouble sleeping. She tried sleeping pills and didn’t like the way they made her feel. But magnesium supplements seem to do the trick.
So I looked for research on magnesium, anxiety and insomnia and here’s what I found.
Waking up to hot flashes now that you’re going through “the change?” You’re not alone. Up to 80 percent of women experience them during menopause.
Annoying in the daytime, hot flashes can play havoc with your sleep, making you prone to frequent wake-ups in sweat-soaked sheets. Up to 61 percent of postmenopausal women report hot flash-related wake-ups and other symptoms of insomnia.
Low-dose paroxetine, a drug prescribed at higher doses for depression, holds promise for women looking to cut down on hot flashes and night sweats and improve their sleep.
Do you take medication for a chronic health condition? That drug may be disturbing your sleep.
Working with a doctor to adjust the dose or time you take it—or replace it with a similar drug that does not stimulate the central nervous system—may be all you need to hold insomnia at bay.
Which drugs can interfere with sleep? Here are a few most widely prescribed.
Roll over, Ambien! After much debate, the FDA has finally approved Merck’s new drug for insomnia. Expect to see Belsomra (a.k.a. suvorexant) on the market early next year.
So what can we hope for from this new sleeping pill and how does it differ from hypnotics available now?
A long-term user of sleeping pills wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac with questions about cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. “Before I go through CBT, will I have to give up my sleeping pills? I’d like to get off them eventually, but every time I think of doing it I freak out.”
Recently I looked into research on insomnia sufferers going through CBT while at the same time tapering off (or reducing reliance on) sleeping pills. What I found was encouraging.