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Help for healthy and restful sleep

A good nights sleep is the best defenses against aging and disease. Millions of Americans lie awake night after night. They just can not sleep at night.

Your sleepless nights may be eased by some changes in your daily routine, such as exercising too late in the day or too much caffeine in the evenings. Insomnia may also be caused by some medical problems that may be masked by just medicating your symptoms.

There are safe, effective nutrients you can try to help you get the sleep you need.

Before going to sleep at night, try the following:

  • Buffered Vitamin C (magnesium or calcium ascorbate)
    This helps induce sleep. Magnesium citrate. It is a natural relaxant and calmative. Melatonin. It will induce dreaming.

Other natural sleep aids:

  • Calmative Teas
    Chamomile, valerian root, passionflower and catnip all calm and sooth the nerves. Traditional Medicinals makes a tea called Nighty Night® containing a mixture of these herbs. And Celestial Seasonings makes a tea called Sleepytime®. For those who have to get up in the night to urinate, I suggest avoiding the teas.
  • Flavonoids
    Many of the flavonoids are anxiolytic, meaning they calm anxiety. The most useful are hesperidin and quercetin, which also reduce inflammation.
  • Omega-3
    Take your fish oils one hour before bedtime. The omega-3 fatty acids suppress the cytokines that disturb sleep.
  • Relora
    This is a product that contains a blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense — has been shown to reduce stress, promote a positive mood and induce restful sleep. It also slashes excess cortisol secretion, which can cause insomniacs to wake up during the night. You should not mix Relora with prescription medications or take it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Rhodiola
    Also known as Golden root or Artic root, it reduces stress and suppresses excess catecholamine excretion from the adrenal glands. Catecholamine is a hormone that can cause us to feel jittery and anxious.
  • Glucosamine
    While we usually associate this product with healthy joints, recent research has shown that it can also reduce immune damage.
  • Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
    This herb contains some powerful anti-inflammatory flavonoids that have been shown to protect the brain and calm anxiety. It has a long safety record and is backed up by extensive research.

Also consider the PM pills such as Advil PM, Tylenol PM and others. I have found that they work well with me when I need a good night's sleep. But, if you take them every night they seem to lose their potency to help you sleep.

If you still can't sleep and million of Americans cannot, you might consider a prescription drug. There are two drugs that I have found that work exceptionally well for me.

  • Ambien CR
    AMBIEN CR is a treatment option you and your healthcare provider can consider along with lifestyle changes and can be taken for as long as your provider recommends. Until you know how AMBIEN CR will affect you, you shouldn't drive or operate machinery. Be sure you're able to devote 7 to 8 hours to sleep before being active again. Sleepwalking, and eating or driving while not fully awake, with amnesia for the event, have been reported. If you experience any of these behaviors contact your provider immediately. In rare cases, sleep medicines may cause allergic reactions such as swelling of your tongue or throat, shortness of breath or more severe results. If you have an allergic reaction while using AMBIEN CR, contact your doctor immediately. Side effects may include next-day drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. It's non-narcotic; however, like most sleep medicines, it has some risk of dependency. Don't take it with alcohol.

  • Lunesta
    Lunesta helps you fall asleep quickly, so take it right before bed. Be sure you have at least eight hours to devote to sleep before becoming active. Until you know how you'll react to Lunesta, you should not drive or operate machinery. Do not take Lunesta with alcohol. Call your doctor right away if after taking Lunesta you walk, drive, eat or engage in other activities while asleep. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions can occur. Most sleep medicines carry some risk of dependency. Do not use sleep medicines for extended periods without first talking to your doctor. Side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, drowsiness and dizziness.
The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. The products discussed herein may have different product labeling in different countries. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a health care provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient. Remember that no medicine is for everyone. Only your doctor can prescribe Lunesta and Ambien CR for you.