natural sleep solutions

  1. Lunesta dose cut in half

    FDA slashes dose for common sleep meds

    If you've ever taken a sleep med, you're an overdose victim.

    The starting doses of the most common sleep meds are dangerously high -- so high they can impair everything from your thinking to your movements even long after you wake up.

    It's one of the many reasons I don't recommend these meds to my patients. And now, even the FDA is recognizing the very real dangers, cutting the starting dose of eszopiclone -- aka Lunesta -- in half as studies show the side effects can linger well into the next day.

    One study found that men and women given the drug had "severe" psychomotor and memory impairment 7.5 hours after taking it, and impaired driving skills and problems with both memory and coordination for up to 11 hours.

    That means if you take the drug at midnight, you could be fighting off those effects almost until lunchtime.

    And while the new guidelines apply to Lunesta and other eszopiclone-based drugs, the problem exists at least to some extent in just about every sleep med -- which is why last year, the FDA cut the recommended dose of zolpidem (the main ingredient in drugs such as Ambien) in half for women, and urged lower doses for men.

    With many drugs, an overdose is a problem for the patient. But with sleep meds, these doses patients have been given -- doses you can bet mainstream docs will continue to recommend even with the new guidelines in place -- have the potential to shatter innocent lives.

    After all, last year some 55 million prescriptions were written for sleep meds -- meaning that on any given morning, our roads are filled with people fighting off the aftereffects.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if these drugs turned out to be nearly as big a problem on our roadways as alcohol.

    It's not just an issue for drivers. Poor judgment can affect you at home, work, school or anywhere else -- and that's hardly the only risk of these meds.

    It's not even the biggest risk.

    Over the short term, sleep drugs are known to cause weird dreams and bizarre and even dangerous sleepwalking behavior. Over the long term, common sleep meds can increase the risk of an early death by 500 percent or more.

    And if you're a heart patient, there's another huge risk you need to worry about. Keep reading!

  2. Sleep medications can enhance bad memories

    The nightmare of sleep medications

    Picture this: You're lying awake at night, unable to sleep because of some bad memories. Eventually, you're so tired and miserable that you do something you know you shouldn't.

    You pop some sleep medications.

    The drug does its job and you fall asleep. But the next day, you face the same problem all over again -- and this time, it's even worse as you just can't seem to shake those bad memories.

    Your doctor might blame an overactive mind or some kind of psychological problem and send you off to see a shrink who'll give you even more drugs.

    But in reality, it's possible this whole vicious cycle is actually being caused by sleep mediciations.

    It's a little ironic, since sleep medications are linked to memory loss. But one new study finds a popular sleep medication may also enhance certain memories -- just not the ones you'd like to keep around.

    In a series of experiments, volunteers were shown good, bad and neutral images before taking a drug with zolpidem, the active ingredient in medications such as Ambien. When they woke up, they were tested -- and it turned out they were much more likely to remember the emotionally negative images.

    This isn't just coincidental. The researchers behind the study in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience say it's because of how the drug affects what's known as "sleep spindles."

    Those are little bursts of brain activity that collect your emotional memories as you sleep. Zolpidem appears to alter those spindles so they soak up memories with negative emotions.

    That's bad news for anyone -- but it's a nightmare for patients with sleep disorders caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and similar conditions.

    On the other hand, as far as side effects go, this is hardly the worst these drugs can dish out, since sleep medications have been linked to an increased risk of everything from dementia to death.

    And those are risks you just don't have to face.

    Many sleep disorders are caused by nutritional problems, hormonal imbalances, lifestyle issues or all of the above. Work with a holistic doctor to identify that cause and correct it naturally.

    (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.)

    In the meantime, there are safe short-term solutions that can help you get to sleep tonight -- including melatonin, GABA, theanine and Inositol.

    If you're in the Southern California area, I can help with both the short-term battle and the long-term solution. Contact my clinic at 1-855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment, and never suffer another sleepless night again.

  3. Lack of sleep leads to DNA damage

    Poor sleep can damage you on a genetic level -- and the DNA dangers can start to appear in as little as five nights.
  4. Anti-anxiety drugs linked to pneumonia

    Commonly used meds, including widely used sleep and anxiety drugs, can increase the risk of pneumonia and death by pneumonia.

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