The “Sleep in America” poll results were recently released from the National Sleep Foundation. More than half of all Americans (60%) said they experienced a sleep problem every night or almost every night. This ranged from snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed when getting up in the morning.
This overall increase in insomnia has been bringing people to their doctors, to stores, and to the Internet for solutions that may help them sleep better.
While most people would prefer to take a natural, non-addictive remedy without dangerous side-effects, there is a scarcity of effective natural options, as well as a lack of education and information available to people outside of their doctor’s office. Often medical doctors recommend drugs, but unexpectedly, not always the usual sleep medicines.
A ten-year study to discover which drugs are used to treat insomnia was published in the journal “Sleep”. It found that from 1987 to 1996, prescriptions for sleeping drugs have decreased by 53.7%, but that antidepressant drugs prescribed for insomnia increased by a surprising 146%. Examples of antidepressants that might be prescribed for insomnia are trazodone and amitriptyline.
According to Health. com, the side effects of these medicines may include sexual dysfunction, weight gain, dry mouth and throat, racing pulse, confusion, disturbed dreams, and an increased risk of suicide.
The authors of the study from “Sleep” gave their conclusions and said: “Surveys indicate a stable or increasing prevalence of sleep disturbance. There has also been a dramatic shift to use of antidepressants in lieu of sleeping drugs (hyponotics) for the symptomatic treatment of insomnia, despite a paucity (lack) of data regarding their efficacy and the potential for serious side effects.”
Regarding the nutritional approach to the problem of insomnia, Carl C. Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D., known for his work in orthomolecular (nutritional) medicine, says, “We have found that if a drug can be found to do the job of medical healing, a nutrient can be found to do the same job.”
Several research studies have shown certain minerals to be an effective natural insomnia remedy that helps people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.
In magnesium deficiency. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was shown in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of twice as much calcium to magnesium is key to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results. Natural remedies should be given a good try before any type of addictive drug is taken for insomnia.