You may be risking your life for a good night’s sleep.
There are two different categories of sleeping medications: Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Prescription. I’m going to talk to you about the risks of both, beginning with OTC. OTC sleep aids may seem to be an easy fix, not addictive like prescription versions, and even safe because they are made so readily available. This is not the case, is it ever these days? If you are not sleeping well, or not falling asleep well, there is a deeper issue at hand. Finding a natural, healthy solution to the rooted issue will not only solve your sleeping troubles, but improve your overall wellbeing.
Most people assume that taking an OTC sleep aid won’t cause harm, but the sad truth is that a few doses can cause long-term problems. The main ingredient in many OTC sleeping pills is an antihistamine which results in the drowsy and sedative effect. Many OTC sleep aids also contain acetaminophen (Tylenol type products), especially if they advertise pain relief as well. For more specific information on Tylenol risks read here: https://peaandthepodchiropractic.com/the-truth-about-tylenol-dangers-for-infants-children-and-pregnant-women/
Most Common OTC Sleep Aids:
- Tylenol PM
- Advil PM
- Other store-name brands
OTC Sleeping Pills May Increase Your Risk of Liver Failure and are linked to brain damage.
The number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States is taking too much acetaminophen, which is incredibly easy to do considering just how many over-the-counter and prescription products contain this drug. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/21/FDA-Changes-Tylenol-Warnings-But-Doesnt-Tell-You-How-to-Take-it-Safely.aspx
Overdosing is as easy as taking a dose for a headache, cold or achy back that’s making it difficult for you to sleep, but having already taken one or more acetaminophen-containing products to relieve your pain and other symptoms during the day. Not realizing that compounding doses of acetaminophen can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, is what causes an overdose. This risk is important to be aware of, especially if you take Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM or other acetaminophen-containing sleep aids on a regular basis. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/29/overthecounter-sleep-meds-are-not-effective.aspx
The numbers are alarming, over $100 million or more is being spent on OTC sleep aids, and research shows that children 12 years and older along with adults are downing these medications like candy.
Taking these OTC Sleep Medications, even sporadically, can put you at risk of: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-aids/art-20047860
- Skin rash
- Appetite increase, weight gain, loss of appetite, or even anorexia.
- Hypo-tension (abnormally low blood pressure).
- Blurred vision.
- Prostate problems.
- Liver toxicity.
- Morning hangover. Waking up groggy and feeling “drugged” is a common side effect.
- Daytime drowsiness and fatigue. OTC medications tend to last longer than 8 hours, leaving you unable to function well throughout the next day.
- Dental Decay
Benadryl and Sominex have previously been found to cause hallucinations in the elderly. All of the listed OTC drugs can negatively affect your brain, causing long-term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine – a nervous system neurotransmitter. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease typically have a marked shortage of acetylcholine. The results of some studies indicate that these drugs with anticholinergic effects may be yet another piece of the puzzle that might explain the sharp rise in dementia and cognitive decline.
Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol, and Elavil are available only by prescription.
“Research involving data from more than 10,500 people who received drugs for poor sleep (hypnotics) showed that “as predicted, patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics” and the association held true even when patients with poor health were taken into account — and even if the patients took fewer than 18 pills in a year.
The study suggested that those who take such medications are not only at higher risk for certain cancers, but are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.
Sleeping pills linked to these risks included benzodiazepines (such as temazepam), non-benzodiazepines (such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata), barbiturates, and sedative antihistamines.” http://www.darksideofsleepingpills.com/
Not only are prescription sleep medications linked to increased risk of death, but they place you at a 35% higher risk of cancer.
In addition to the side effects of the OTC versions, prescription sleep aids add the side effects:
- Sleep walking, sleep eating and even sleep driving
- Confusion and disorientation
- Complete amnesia from events, even those that took place during the day
Sleeping Pills Help You Fall Asleep Just 13 Minutes Faster and Sleep Only 11 Minutes Longer
Sleeping pills do nothing to help the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place. This is likely why studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can treat insomnia better than drugs
Better Options for a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don’t feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, these options may provide you with techniques to improve sleep problems.
There are many factors that can influence your sleep, but one that many fail to consider is the use of lights, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of blue light that will suppress melatonin production and hamper your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you’ll want to turn them off at least an hour prior to bedtime.
Next, making sure your bedroom is ideally suited for sleep can also go a long way to ensure restful and uninterrupted sleep:
- Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness.
- Consider using a Himalayan salt lamp. It will give off a soft red glow, purify the air, and help you rest easier.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius)
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).These can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
Natural sleep aids and insomnia treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy take time to treat this sleeplessness, usually a minimum of several days or weeks. It takes time and hard work to learn how to sleep if you have insomnia.
Chiropractic care and wellness adjustments will help you to relax. It also improves the blood flow in the nervous system and corrects any misalignments, or sublaxations in the spine. These subluxations compress the nerves and cause lack of communication between the spine and the brain. These subluxations lead to a process called stress response which puts the body out of balance and do not let the body rest.
Avoiding gluten, grains, dairy and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Omega-3 fats (Like Krill Oil or Fermented Cod Liver Oil) are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins.
B vitamins are important for energy production in cells. And vitamin B6 works with the sleep aid 5-htp to help create serotonin.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3:
Adequate calcium and magnesium in your daily diet are also important nutrients for helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep. But according to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements, millions of Americans are not getting adequate amounts. Magnesium in particular may help with fatigue and stress reduction. Multivitamins almost never contain much calcium or magnesium, so you may need to supplement if your diet is lacking in these two essential nutrients. You should also make certain you are getting at least 400 IU of vitamin D3 every day (1,000 IU supplements are even better, especially during the dark winter months). Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption.
Make sure to use high quality supplements.
A melatonin sleep aid can be very effective for some people, especially for jet lag. Melatonin can be taken by itself as a natural sleep aid. It is also often seen as a blend in supplements, which may be the most effective way to use it.
Also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, this substance is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. In supplements, 5-htp often comes from Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract. 5-htp is a precursor to serotonin and increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that has many functions, one of which is to regulate sleep. One of the great things about 5-htp is that it crosses easily from the blood into the brain. That’s why 5-htp taken by itself may be effective for reaching a natural calm mood and also help with depression.
As a natural sleep aid, it’s probably best to use 5-htp as part of a supplement blend.
This brain neurotransmitter is included in some natural sleep aids because it has a calming effect and relieves anxiety that can keep a person awake at night. GABA does promote drowsiness and may help some people fall asleep faster.
This is the most abundant amino acid in your body. It has a wide range of uses, including for insomnia, anxiety, and to improve mood.
This is also an amino acid and is naturally found in green tea. Studies have shown that green tea contains about 1 to 3% theanine. It has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect on the mind.(Green tea itself is not a natural remedy for insomnia because this tea contains caffeine, but you can find a decaffeinated version.)
Herbal Sleep Remedies:
The best natural sleep aid will have some combination of sleep herbs in them.
- Lemon balm
Not all of these herbs need to be present for an all-natural sleep aid to be effective. Most herbal sleep aids will also often have melatonin mixed in with them, though not always.
Tips for falling asleep fast: http://www.sleeppassport.com/how-to-fall-asleep.html
Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element fluorine—should be added to their water systems. Activists stated that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.
When fluoride was first introduced to water in the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay, not a single dental product contained fluoride: no toothpastes, no fluoride mouth rinses, no fluoride varnishes, and no fluoride gels. In the past 60 years, as one fluoride product after another entered the market, exposure to fluoride increased considerably, particularly among children.
As you read through the research, you may decide to trash the fluoride-filled toothpaste in your bathroom (PLEASE lose your child’s fluoride toothpaste!), which I highly recommend. But you probably don’t know that processed foods, pesticides, bottled teas, pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans, and mechanically deboned chicken all contain fluoride. DITCH THEM. However, there is a bigger issue at hand: OUR WATER.
Here we are in 2015 still fighting about fluoride. Over the past 65 years, a lot has been discovered and brushed under the table pertaining to this chemical. Since 2010, more than 75 US and Canadian communities have voted to end water fluoridation, and the issue is heating up as more and more people begin to demand water that does not expose them to this highly toxic industrial waste product. The United States is one of the only developed countries that fluoridate their citizens’ drinking water. Most countries fully realize that adding a known poison to your population’s water supply is probably not a good idea. In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of Western Europe, do not consume fluoridated water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. About 70% of our public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half of the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. http://www.fluoridealert.org/
The FDA labels fluoride a drug, which has the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, decline in tooth decay has absolutely nothing to do with fluoride? The decline has taken place worldwide, not just in areas with fluoridated water.
The National Academy of Science reviewed the safety of fluoridation and remains “unsettled,” but in 2006, a committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity. The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.
According to the National Research council (2006) fluoride has the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain, lower intellectual abilities, disrupt the endocrine system, effect thyroid function, increase the severity of diabetes, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further study needs to be done to rule out links to infertility and bladder cancer. Studies also show that children in high-fluoride areas have significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low-fluoride areas. Not only are our children at risk for lower IQ levels, but studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization. Other studies found association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
Many people argue that fluoride is naturally occurring at high levels in our water. However, a lot of toxic substances (arsenic and lithium for example) occur naturally at high levels, but that does not mean they are safe. Most people also assume that the fluoride artificially added to our water is added at the same level as (the toxic) natural occurring fluoride, but it is not. The levels are far higher, and add to that the amount of polluted, contaminated water, we are in trouble. Fluoride is captured in air pollution control devices because fluoride gases are hazardous air pollutants that cause significant environmental harm. This captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid’s elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid’s ability, under some conditions, to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.
Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50-60% of the fluoride ingested each day, but the remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland. Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones. The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41% of American adolescents have dental fluorosis- a discoloring of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride.
Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Fluoride Exposure Breastmilk has a remarkably low level of fluoride (0.004 ppm). A formula-fed infant consuming fluoridated water can consume up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast fed baby (0.6-1.2 ppm). There are no benefits, only risks, to ingesting fluoride. Infants are already susceptible to environmental toxins, so consuming formula made with fluoridated water, we are placing them at extremely high risks. These infants have the highest exposure to fluoride, by bodyweight, in the population. The American Dental Association (ADA) distributed an alert in 2006 recommending parents be “advised that formula should be made with ‘low or no-fluoride water’.” Unfortunately, the ADA has done little to get this information into the hands of parents.
Aluminum + Fluoride = Alzheimer’s Many municipal water supplies are treated with both alum (aluminum sulfate) and fluoride. These two chemicals combine with each other easily in the blood to form aluminum fluoride. Although elemental aluminum cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, some compounds such as aluminum fluoride do. Aluminum fluoride is very poorly excreted in the urine. It is poisonous to the kidneys. Aluminum salts in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you think you are escaping artificially added fluoride by consuming bottled water, think again. The following companies “provide you with added fluoride” without so much as a warning on the bottle: (http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride)
· Alhambra · Arrowhead · Belmont Springs · Crystal Rock · Crystal Springs · Deer Park · Diamond Springs · Hinkley Springs · Ice Mountain · Kandiyohi · Kentwood Springs · Mayer Bros. · Mount Olympus · Nursery Water · Ozarka · Poland Spring · Pure Flo · Puritan Springs · Shenandoah · Sierra Springs · Sparkletts · Zephyrhills
FLUORIDE and CANCER: Fluoride has been to shown to thicken but weaken bones, and worse mutate normal genetic cells into cancer cells. Some researchers believe that fluorine is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation all found that the incidence of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) is substantially higher in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who are not.
Because of everything the fluoride is linked to, it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 people die from fluoride poisoning each year. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
What can you do? Filter your drinking water with a well-made reverse osmosis filter system that is able to remove over 90% of dissolved fluoride in drinking water.
Side note: The skin is our largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. Showering, bathing, washing our hands, etc with our over-polluted, fluoridated water is allowing our skin to absorb the toxic drug. Consider a filter for your showers and sinks as well as your drinking water.
(I’ll take a second to love on our Berkey water filter now.)