1. Sleep medications could cause heart attack

    Sleep medications boosts heart risk

    One of the world's most common sleep medications could give you a heart attack -- and all it takes is four little pills.

    Not four in a single night... not four in a week... and not even four per month.

    Just four sleeping pills per year of the standard dose of zolpidem -- the main ingredient in sleep meds such as Ambien -- could increase your risk of a heart attack by 20 percent, according to the latest research.

    Take them more often -- 60 pills a year, or a little more than once a week -- and your risk of a heart attack could jump by 50 percent, according to the study presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting.

    That's bad news for the millions of people who take sleep meds with this ingredient -- and that bad news gets even worse: The same study finds it can double your risk of aortic dissection.

    That's a tear in the aorta, your largest artery. It's a very serious and potentially deadly condition that involves major internal bleeding.

    Along with Ambien, you'll find zolpidem in a number of other sleep meds -- including Edluar, Stilnoct, Zolpimist and more. But if you're looking for safer sleep medications, here's your wake up call: They don't exist.

    All sleep drugs pack major risks, up to and including the risk of death. One major study found that regular use of sleeping pills in general will boost your risk of death by more than 500 percent.

    And using them even occasionally -- just 18 pills a year -- will more than triple your risk of an early death.

    So pass on the meds. Fact is, even when they "work," they don't always give you the quality sleep you need.

    Instead, I recommend a two-step approach that can solve even the toughest sleep problems.

    Step One is a short-term solution that can help you get to sleep tonight. Melatonin as well as natural herbs such as chamomile and passionflower can often do the trick.

    Step Two is to work with your doctor to find and correct the underlying cause of your sleep disorder -- causes that can include nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.

    And for some, insomnia can come from a surprising source that you're literally carrying around with you every single day. Click here to find out what it is.

  2. New warning over zolpidem side effects

    Urgent new warning over common sleep meds

    It has all the risks of drunk driving, but without a drop of booze. Worst of all you might not even realize you're in no condition to get behind the wheel.

    And it's all because of a sleeping pill you took the night before and zolpidem side effects.

    Zolpidem, the main ingredient in drugs such as Ambien, Edluar, and Zolpimist can linger in the body long after you wake up -- turning you into a hazard on the highways during the morning commute.

    The dangers of zolpidem side effects are so great that the FDA has just cut the dose in half -- to 5 mg from 10 mg for the normal versions of the drugs, and to 6.25 mg from 12.5 mg for the extended-release versions.

    The greatest risk zolpidem side effects risk are in women, who don't metabolize the drug as quickly as men. In recent tests, 15 percent of women still had such high levels of the drug in their systems after 8 hours that they were in no condition to drive.

    The risks aren't as great in men, with those same tests showing that only 3 percent were still impaired after 8 hours -- but the feds say docs should consider lowering the dose for them, too.

    It's a rare bit of common sense from the FDA, since the dangers of all that next-day grogginess go far beyond a rush-hour fender bender. Studies have shown, for example, that seniors who take sleep medications are more likely to suffer falls.

    I'm convinced that it's because many of them remain foggy and unbalanced even after they wake up -- and it's not just the drugs with zolpidem side effects that can have these lingering effects.

    One of the most common complaints I hear from patients who come to me after getting any sleep meds from a mainstream doctor is that they just don't feel right the next morning.

    In addition to being groggy, they're still tired -- even hazy -- and some report a headache. They feel so lousy that many people use the same word to describe it: hangover.

    Fortunately, I'm almost always able to get them off the drugs and onto natural solutions that can help them get the rest they need without the dangerous after-effects.

    And your own non-drug answer to sleep problems could be a lot simpler than you might think.

    Keep reading for more!

  3. Common drugs linked to dementia

    Some of the drugs seniors use most often, including sleep and anxiety medications, can increase the risk of dementia by up to 60 percent.

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