A study was recently published in the British Medical Journal showing that just four sleeping pills a year will triple your risk of death. Taking 18 pills a year will quadruple your risk of death! The study also pointed out that certain medications are worse than others with Ambien topping the risk of early death by 5.7 times and Restoril 6.6 times. That means sleeping medications are killing 500,000 Americans annually-just slightly below the numbers for heart disease and cancer.
The number one cause of death in America is in fact our medications, but most people think of sleeping pills as fairly necessary if they can’t sleep; after all, no sleep leads to less ability to handle stress, which leads to a decrease in immune function, which leads to physical, mental and emotional illnesses. However, sleeping medications do not “cure” insomnia. So please throw away all of your Ambien, Restoril, Lunesta, Alluna, Sonata, and the rest of the “sleepers”. So how can you learn to sleep if you have become dependent on these sleep aids?
First of all, insomnia is a vata imbalance and many times caused by nerves, which is aggravated by nutritional deficiencies in various vitamins and minerals which has been thought to be the result of our modern civilization. It’s interesting though that a well-known physician in 1934 was warning of the dangers on our health and nervous system of the new fast paced society…in 1934! Think of where we are today and how much faster paced we are living.
So for insomnia, we want to look at the nutritional connection first. This is really easily done if you cannot afford out of pocket lab testing (micronutrient testing gives us very focused data) by taking two products from a whole foods nutritional supplement company. If they work then we know we are on the right track. If after a couple of months you have noticed no reduction in your fatigue and sleep patterns, then we DO need to do further testing.
I have a whole sleep protocol I use with people who have trouble sleeping, whether it’s getting to sleep or staying asleep (2 different issues). Neither of them requires a lot of pills or testing in the beginning and many times these very simple adjustments in lifestyle can make all of the difference.
Another reason for insomnia? Your mind trying to solve problems and stressors from the day time that you are not handling while you are awake. Hypnotherapy and enneagram work are marvelous ways to get underneath this reason for having broken sleep.
Either way, come in since this is the change of season and according to Ayurveda, your vata is likely out of whack…let’s get you a routine that includes sound sleep you awake rested from!
Here’s to your health!