Dr Oz: I Need More Sleep!
Have trouble drifting off to sleep at night? Or is it that you can’t wake up in the morning? 40 million people struggle with sleep issues. More than 60 million sleeping pill prescriptions were written in 2011. But is that really what you need? New studies have found that sleeping pills are linked to acid reflux, depression and cancer, making the risks too high. Still, millions pound the pills to get that sleep fix they crave.
Dr Michael Breus is a sleep specialist. He said that people are becoming more and more desperate for their sleep. When you take sleep aids regularly, then the problems arise. Dr Nina Radcliff is an anesthesiologist who specializes in regulating people’s sleep. She said that doctors need to regulate the medication that you are taking, but they can’t control over-the-counter drugs. Dr Oz believes that taking an over-the-counter sleep aid makes yourself an experiment with harsh consequences.
Dr Oz’s Five Questions to Ask Before You Take A Sleeping Pill
1. How Often Do You Take a Sleeping Pill? Dr Oz was stunned to find that 30% take a pill one or more nights a week. Dr Breus said the regularity is a problem. People begin to feel that they can’t sleep without a pill. They get used to the idea and don’t learn how to sleep on their own. It’s emotionally addictive.
2. When You Take a Sleeping Pill, Do You Take It to Fall Asleep Or Stay Asleep? Sleep onset insomnia is when you believe you can’t fall asleep, but sleep maintenance insomnia, or roller coaster insomnia, is where you wake up multiple times a night. It’s the most popular form of insomnia. You want to tailor your sleep medication to fit your problems. A doctor can prescribe these drugs, but it’s important to see a specialist.
3. Would You Take a Sleeping Pill In the Middle of the Night? 33% said they do take a pill in the middle of the night. Dr Radcliff said that you need to have at least seven hours left to go when you take a sleeping pill. She said that if you take a pill with only four hours left of sleep, you put yourself and others at risk when you wake up. It’s similar to waking up drunk, Dr Radcliff said. You will be hazy, drowsy, and lethargic. Dr Breus added that there are few medicines that are designed to be taken in the middle of the night.
4. Have You Ever Taken Someone Else’s Sleeping Pill? 26% said yes. An audience member said it’s really an act of desperation. She has issues with sleep deprivation and they affect her worse than just taking the pill. Dr Radcliff said that doctors prescribe medications based on height, weight, and gender. A wife taking her husband’s sleeping pill will not have the proper or healthy results.
5. Would You Take a Sleeping Pill After Eating a High-Fat Meal? Dr Oz said that 27% said yes, and it’s a problem. Fatty meals will delay the absorption of sleeping pills, meaning it will take you about an hour or longer to get the effects. A regular meal will be absorbed quickly with gastric juices, taking it and the pill into the small intestine. A fatty meal takes longer and holds the pill, delaying the effects.
Dr Oz: When Should I Take a Sleeping Pill?
Dr Nina Radcliff said there are instances where a person should be taking a sleeping pill. She said her rule is crossing time zones may require a pill, or even stressful situations, like divorce or death in the family. The bottom line is that these are both for short periods of time.
Dr Breus has a rule as well. If you are going to take a sleeping pill, then you need to do it on a Friday night. This makes it so if you are groggy in the morning, you can sleep in. Also, you should have someone you trust there in case you have an adverse reaction.
Dr Oz’s research has shown him that sleeping pills are short term fixes. This means months, not a year or two years.