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 aidsSome prescription medicines, as well as some prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids, can cause problems with sleep. The fix may be to adjust the type or dose of medication or seek sleep behavior therapy.

Prescription sleep aids and other prescription medications can interfere with much-needed sleep, reports the December 2012 Harvard Health Letter.

Sleep is essential to good health, and a lack of it can lead to sleep apneaheart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain, and diabetes. Yet one in five Americans struggle with insomnia every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. “Prescription drugs can be a serious problem,” says sleep expert Dr Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Some prescription sleep aids, when taken for long periods of time, become less effective and actually interfere with sleep.

Other types of prescription medications may also interfere with sleep. Some contain stimulants that make it difficult to fall asleep. Others—like steroids, antidepressants, and some medicines for migraine, heart disease, and allergies—can wake you with nausea, night sweats, or needing to go to the bathroom.

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