Sleep Medicine Archives

Over the shelf sleep drugsAlmost everyone suffers from trouble sleeping at one time or another. Insomnia – the inability to sleep – isn’t a single disorder itself, but rather a general symptom like fever or pain.

People with insomnia may be plagued by trouble falling asleep, unwelcome awakenings during the night, and fitful sleep. They may experience daytime drowsiness, yet still be unable to nap, and are often anxious and irritable or forgetful and unable to concentrate.

Nearly half of insomnia stems from underlying psychological or emotional issues. Stressful events, mild depression, or an anxiety disorder can keep people awake at night. When the underlying cause is properly treated, insomnia usually improves. If not, additional strategies to help promote sleep may be needed. Read the rest of this entry

sleep researcher

Erin Evans, a sleep researcher at the Brigham, is testing an experimental light for the International Space Station.

In the quest to understand the mystery of sleep, researcher Erin Evans has studied the effects of sleep deprivation in high-stress work situations, from astronauts to police and doctors.

Evans, a sleep medicine fellow at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also helps hundreds of families improve the sleeping habits of their children. Even though she’s a sleep expert, Evans admits she’s constantly challenged by her 2-year-old son.

“I thought I knew everything about sleep,” she said, “but he’s putting me through the wringer.”

“Sleep in a young infant is a moving target, and while one 4-month-old might sleep through the night, another may need to nurse a few times. I believe there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy. The most important thing is to develop a plan that is realistic and the family can implement with consistency”. Read the rest of this entry

Dream Water To Sleep Better and Naturally

dream waterSleep is so important that even if you lose one hour in sleeplessness it can wreak havoc on your health.

Lack of sleep could lead to multiple health problems including sleep disorders, weight gain, inflammatory diseases, inattention while driving, just plain crankiness.

Dream Products has created a natural sleep aid meant to help people who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep: Dream Water. It’s a zero-calorie, 2.5-ounce shot of drug-free sleep aid.

The company is promoting the “Dream Water” as a natural treatment. The main ingredients include GABA (gamma-amino buteric acid), an amino acid that helps you relax; melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep; and 5-HTP, an amino acid to improve sleep quality, meaning it helps you stay asleep.

The amino acid 5-HTP is similar to what is in turkey, to which people attribute sleep-inducing characteristics.

Dream Water flavors have clever names like Snoozeberry, which is pomegranate and blueberry; NighTea Night, citrus flavors; and Paradise PM, tropical flavors.

Shots come in a four-pack for about $14, a 12-pack and a 24-pack, and are available at most drug stores and online. The website is promoting a free Snoozeberry sample now. Find out more at www.drinkdreamwater.com.

Restless Leg Syndrome:Natural Remedies

restless leg syndromeRestless Leg Syndrome as a disruptive condition that affects the nervous system.  Up to 10% of the U.S. population have some form of it.  It results in an irresistible urge to move the legs (and sometimes the arms), and is often accompanied by unpleasant sensations in the legs such as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling or pains.  Because RLS most often occurs in the evening, it can disrupt sleep, contribute to insomnia, and greatly reduce a person’s quality of life.  RLS tends to run in families.  There are a few natural remedies that have been shown to help calm the symptoms of restless legs. Read the rest of this entry

sleep drugThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it is requiring the manufacturers of Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist, widely used sleep drugs that contain the active ingredient zolpidem, to lower current recommended doses. Ambien and Ambien CR are also available as generics. New data show that zolpidem blood levels in some patients may be high enough the morning after use to impair activities that require alertness, including driving.
Using lower doses of zolpidem means less of the drug will remain in the blood in the morning hours. Since women eliminate zolpidem from their bodies more slowly than men, the FDA has notified the manufacturers that the recommended dose should be lowered for women and that the labeling should recommend that health care professionals consider a lower dose for men. Data show the risk for next-morning impairment is highest for patients taking the extended-release forms of these drugs. The FDA urges health care professionals to caution all patients (men and women) who use these products about the risks of next-morning impairment for activities that require complete mental alertness, including driving. Read the rest of this entry

Breathing Disorders Linked with Insomnia

 Insomnia is a sleep disorder that compels the sufferer to stay awake or reduces the capacity to fall asleep.Insomnia is also a transient condition due to emotional stress, anxiety or a response to certain medications or medical conditions.

Insomnia occurrence without any known medical reason is termed as primary insomnia. Chronic insomnia is diagnosed if the condition lasts for longer than a month.

insomniaInsomnia has significant physiological and psychological consequences. Restorative sleep is as important to our well-being as healthy food and regular exercise.

Insomnia diminishes quality of life up to large extent. If unresolved, chronic insomnia causes slowed reactions, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, physical ailments such as obesity and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases as well as lower performance at work or at school. Read the rest of this entry

non 24Vanda Pharmaceuticals new drug for non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder showed positive results in a late-stage study.

Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder, also known as N24HSWD, is a chronic and little-known sleep dysfunction, mostly observed in blind people. The disorder results in symptoms of insomnia and/or excessive sleepiness. Currently there is no approved treatment for the disorder.

The drug– called tasimelteon, a circadian regulator, showed significant improvements across a number of sleep and wake parameters including measures of total sleep time, nap duration, and timing of sleep. Read the rest of this entry


vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because spending time outdoors in the sun is known to increase vitamin D in the body via the skin. Our ancestors spent a considerable amount of their time outdoors, but for the first time in history, large amounts of the world population spend most of their time inside their offices and homes. Researchers at the East Texas Medical Center and the University of North Carolina have discovered that vitamin D helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. They’ve found a definite link between vitamin D deficiency and the current global epidemic of sleep disorders.

Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) is one of the deepest levels of sleep. It is the level in which dreaming occurs, and its related to good memory and learning. A disruption of REM sleep or an absence of it, is one form of insomnia. Read the rest of this entry

Antidepressants Can Lead to Insomnia,Hot Flashes

hotflashesHot flashes and night sweats create a sudden feeling of warmth and often a breakout of sweating in the upper half of the body. These flashes are experienced by 80% of women around the time of menopause, and also by men due to a lessening of testosterone in middle age. Another source of hot flashes can be medications. According to WebMD, “Taking certain medications can lead to night sweats. Antidepressant medications are a common type of drug that can lead to night sweats. From 8% to 22% of people taking antidepressant drugs have night sweats. Other psychiatric drugs have also been associated with night sweats.”

The “Sleep in America” poll results from the National Sleep Foundation recently found that more than half of all Americans (60%) experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night. Interestingly, a ten-year study to discover which drugs are used to treat insomnia was published in the journal “Sleep”. The study found that prescriptions for sleeping medications have decreased by 53.7%, but that antidepressant drugs prescribed for insomnia have increased by a surprising 146%. Examples of antidepressants prescribed for insomnia are trazodone, doxepin, trimipramine, and amitriptyline. Read the rest of this entry

Sleep Medication and Its Long Term Impacts

sleeping pillsSleeping pills are over-prescribed.  There should always be caution with prescribing these medications as some of the long-term effects on memory can be a problem. Instead more sex and cuddles with your partner are a better option for sleep.

Nationally nearly 680,000 sleeping pill prescriptions were doled out in the year to June 30. Before taking sleep medication, there were several things people could do to help with issues around sleep.

Avoiding stimulants like coffee and alcohol before bed, regular exercise and healthy eating are far better options. At the same time a hot bath, more sex and cuddles with your partner are among the highly recommended options. Read the rest of this entry

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