Question: I’m having a hard time sleeping and I was wondering if there were sleeping aids out there that you recommend? – Dorothy O., Wichita, Kan.
Answer: No – and yes. We don’t advocate sleeping pills, for many reasons. Sleeping-pill-related emergency room visits skyrocketed from 6,111 in 2005 to 19,487 in 2010. Seems zolpidem (found in four brand-name sleeping aids) has bad aftereffects; most of the ER visits (68 percent were women) were from injuries caused by morning drowsiness.
The risk was so bad the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made drug manufacturers cut the recommended dosage for women in half and suggested that doctor’s also lower men’s dosage. And don’t get us started on the documented incidents of night wandering and oblivious eating.
Another risk: Whenever you take a sedative to sleep, you may disturb, skip or suppress parts of your natural sleep cycle that are important for consolidation of memories and good cognitive functioning.
If you need to get sleep, here’s our safe and effective countdown to a good night’s rest:
5. Nix caffeine after noon.
4. No alcohol or nicotine for 90 minutes before bed.
3. Keep your sleep zone dark, cool and comfy.
2. No bill-paying, TV-watching or e-mailing while in bed (couples without a TV in the bedroom have 50 percent more sex).
1. No exercising within three hours of bedtime (but make sure you get physical activity every day!).
Spending more time in deep sleep and cycling through the four stages of sleep will keep your energy level high, your mind sharp and your body lookin’ good (and ready for 50 percent more sex). No wonder better sleep can roll your RealAge back 3.4 years.
– Dr. Michael Roizen & Dr. Mehmet Oz
© 2013 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.