Thinking About Taking Over the Counter Sleeping Pills? Think Again!

Thinking About Taking Over the Counter Sleeping Pills? Think Again!

If you’ve ever had a sleepless night, but couldn’t get (or didn’t want) a prescription sleep medication from your doctor, you may have been tempted to buy yourself a supply of over-the-counter sleeping pills. Some of you who are reading this may have actually done it, and received some sort of benefit from taking them. But these sleep aids aren’t always 100% safe. Furthermore, their claims that you will wake up “feeling alert and refreshed”, along with stating that their product is “non-habit forming” aren’t always the case. Below, we’ll take a closer look at what exactly your typical drug store sleeping pill is, what it does to the human body, and why you should probably think twice the next time you’re tempted to take one to relieve your restless nights.

There’s Really Only One Type of Sleeping Pill (Yes, Really)

When you look at the virtual wall of different sleeping pills for sale on the shelves of your local drug store, you naturally assume that every single product has a different active ingredient (or ingredients) which make it unique, right? After all, if they were all the same, why would there be so many to choose from?

Well, here’s a strange but true fact that the sleeping pill industry has been keeping a secret from the public for a very long time: in reality, all sleeping pills truly are the same. Sure, they may vary by their packaging, their fillers, and the company which markets them. But they all contain the same active ingredient: diphenhydramine.

Diphenhydramine only ever ended up being a sleeping pill by pure accident – kind of like how we have penicillin today because one lazy scientist was too much of a slob to clean up the mold in his kitchen. Unlike penicillin, however, over-the-counter sleeping pills aren’t a panacea for sleeplessness.

In the beginning, medical experts were experimenting with and investigating diphenhydramine as a cure for allergies. And they were successful in their endeavors. Today, diphenhydramine is most well-known as an anti-allergy medication named Benadryl. Millions of people who want to avoid itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and more swear by this product and the way it relieves their symptoms. However, in the early days, many of them complained that this medication was making them sleepy. The complaints were so common and so overwhelming that drug companies eventually got the bright idea to rebrand diphenhydramine as a sleeping pill in order to essentially double their profits. They started making money off of not just allergy sufferers, but people who have trouble sleeping at night, as well. But the cost to the consumer is greater than you might think.

What Does This Chemical, Diphenhydramine, Do?

Sure, diphenhydramine makes you sleepy. It also helps alleviate allergy symptoms. But there are some other, more insidious side effects which may also come along with taking this sleeping pill. And the more dependent you become upon it, the worst these side effects will get:

  • Dry eye/blurry vision
  • Painful urination
  • Difficult and/or reduced urine output  
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Next day grogginess

“But How can a product which promises that you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested make you sleepy the next day?” you may be asking. Well, not everyone’s body metabolizes diphenhydramine the same way. Some may metabolize it too fast and wake up in the middle of the night, making it difficult to get back to sleep. This sleep cycle disruption can easily cause next-day drowsiness. Furthermore, some people may metabolize it too slowly and still be under its effects the next day. In either case, if you have to drive a long commute on your way to work or if you operate heavy machinery for a living, this sleep deprivation can get very dangerous, very quickly.

Those are only the acute effects, though. Even though most drug companies insist that their over the counter sleeping pills are not habit forming, people can develop a dependence upon them regardless – even if it’s just an emotional or anxiety-driven one.

There haven’t been many long-term studies done about how diphenhydramine affects the body over years or decades of dependent use. But the few studies that exist are a little scary. Recent scientific examinations of elderly patients who had been taking diphenhydramine daily for years (due to allergy symptoms) have shown a strong correlation between the drug and accelerated brain aging. They were statistically more likely to develop brain and nerve damage – the type of damage which could lead to alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and nerve pain, among other things – and at an earlier age, too. To be fair, it could be a coincidence. These studies did not show cause and effect. They just pointed out that the two variables (taking diphenhydramine and developing brain/nerve damage) are more likely to happen side-by-side then not. But it does wave a giant red flag, and certainly necessitates further study.

There Are Better, Safer Sleep Aids Out There

What if we told you that there was a safer, better way to help you avoid tossing and turning all night? Well, the good news is that yes, there is! For starters, there are certain health hacks – such as practicing good sleep hygiene and/or improving your diet – that can help your body adjust to a healthy sleep schedule. But if you still need a little extra assistance, you should think about investing in a high-quality herbal sleep remedy.

There are lots of affordable, natural sleep aids out there which harness the power of Mother Nature to alleviate your sleep problems. They contain botanical ingredients and extracts which help regulate your sleep hormones, reduce stress, and lull your body into a relaxed state. And best of all, they’re much more affordable than constantly purchasing box after bottle of over the counter sleeping pills. If you’re curious about such products, we’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction! Just keep checking back for further blog updates and tons more info.

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Breaking News: Poor Sleep At Night Will Make You Gain Weight

Breaking News: Poor Sleep At Night Will Make You Gain Weight

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, and no matter how much you restrict your calories, you’ll still struggle to lose weight. And the source of this weak spot in your diet and exercise routine may be coming from a place you would never expect: the bedroom. As if there weren’t enough things in modern day society that were making us fat, getting poor quality sleep – or not enough sleep – is now a known contributing factor.

How, Exactly, Does Poor Sleep Increase Your Waistline?

“But how can that be?” some of you may be asking. Well, as it turns out, it’s not that much of a mystery. If anything, it’s a bigger surprise that scientists and medical experts didn’t discover it sooner. It all comes down to your hormones.

First, poor sleep disrupts your hunger hormones: leptin and ghrelin. When you feel hungry, you can blame it on ghrelin. That’s the hormone your body releases when your stomach is empty, or when you are in a significant calorie deficit. Satisfying your hunger cravings by eating food typically lowers your levels of ghrelin and increases your leptin levels. Leptin is the “full” hormone that tells your stomach and your body not to eat anymore. But when you don’t get enough sleep, this natural balance of leptin and ghrelin doesn’t stay balanced at all. Ghrelin production speeds up, while leptin production tanks. These hormone fluctuations will trick you into eating more, which will most likely make you gain weight.

Then there’s cortisol, the stress hormone. Too much stress (read: cortisol) at night can inhibit your sleep quality in the first place; and when that happens, your body’s ability to control cortisol production in a healthy way flies out the window. If you have too much cortisol in your body during the day, the stress and anxiety that it makes you feel may persuade you into eating unhealthy “comfort food” as opposed to making smart food choices. Naturally, if more of your calories are coming from sugars, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates, they are more likely be stored as fat before anything else.

It Only Gets Worse the More Weight You Gain

Have you ever seen a cartoon where a small pebble starts rolling down a frosty mountainside, collecting snow as it goes, and eventually turns into a giant, white boulder of destruction? Well, in this metaphor, a single poor night’s sleep is that pebble and your metabolism is the sleepy town at the foot of the mountain which is about to be destroyed. The longer you go without quality sleep, the worse your hormone imbalances (ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol) will become. The stronger your hormone imbalances are, the easier it will be to gain weight and the harder it will be to lose it. If you gain enough weight to develop some form of sleep apnea, that can further degrade the quality of what little sleep you do get. This, of course, will exacerbate your hormone imbalances even further, leading to more weight gain and poor sleep quality, and so on, and so forth…

Thankfully, though, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. You can improve your sleep quality, lose weight, and get your hormones back in balance – but it’s going to take a little bit of work.

Want a Quick, Easy Way to Lose Weight? Improve Your Sleep Quality!

There are many changes you can make to your daily routine which can help you get the quality sleep you need to lose weight and get healthy. These new, sleep-friendly habits are often referred to as practicing “good sleep hygiene”. Some of them are quite simple, while others are a bit more challenging. You don’t have to try them all at once, but slowly incorporating one or a few at a time can make a huge difference and how well you sleep at night.

  • Blue, electric light stops your body from producing melatonin (the “sleep hormone”). The most common sources of electric blue light are cell phones, television sets, and computer monitors. Either turn off every electronic you have two hours before bed, or get some blue light neutralizing glasses. This will help your body produce more melatonin to make you sleepy.
  • Exercise more during the day, especially outside. Daily exposure to sunlight strengthens your melatonin response in the evening. Furthermore, exercise during the day helps you expend energy so that your body will want to rest and recover at night.
  • Turn your bedroom into the perfect sleep sanctuary. If it doesn’t involve sleep or sex, don’t do it in your bedroom! You can also put up some blackout curtains to keep out ambient light, wear a sleeping mask, move your electronics into another room, and get a pet bed (or several) for your furry friend(s). That way, they won’t accidentally wake you up in the middle of the night.
  • Reserve certain foods and beverages for the daytime hours, only. This is especially important for spicy food, which can keep you up due to indigestion, and caffeinated beverages.
  • Try to eat most of your calories while the sun is up, too. You’ll have more energy, and you won’t feel wide awake at night.
  • Lastly, try to limit your alcohol intake in the evening; you may think it helps you fall asleep, but it dramatically disrupts your sleep quality while your body is processing the alcohol and flushing it out of your system.

If you’re thinking about taking something to help you get to sleep at night, make sure you reach for the safest option possible. There are a lot of problems with prescription sleep aids, as well as over the counter sleeping pills, that could make the problem worse in the long run. Natural sleep supplements like Avinol PM, on the other hand, can help you feel sleepy and relaxed at bedtime – and they can do it without causing any long-term physical damage, unlike prescriptions or OTCs. We strongly suggest you try a natural sleep aid first, and only resort to other medications when absolutely necessary. After all, it’s for your health!

The 411 on the “Good Sleep Diet”

The 411 on the “Good Sleep Diet”

Yes, you read that correctly. You are not crazy. There is such a thing as a “good sleep diet”. But it’s not quite as simple as “eat this, not that”. Below, we’ll go into specifics about both what and how you should eat to help your body sleep better at night.

The Secret to a Great Sleep Diet: Following the Right Schedule

While there are some specific food choices which you can make that will improve your nightly rest, the most important thing is to follow a daily eating regimen which works naturally with your internal body clock. It’s important to adjust your daily meal schedule according to how humans have evolved over thousands of years if you really want to transform your body into an unstoppable sleep machine.

We don’t think it’s a coincidence that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is SAD. The way we have been conditioned to consume our meals over the last few decades has been mostly engineered by food companies who would rather make a profit at the expense of people’s health than try to formulate a business model where healthy food and profits intersect. And this isn’t just a tinfoil hat theory, either; we don’t have the time to go into it here, but there’s plenty of information online (as well as some extremely educational documentaries on netflix) which will explain everything to you in a succinct, logical manner.

So what’s so wrong with the Standard American Diet that it’s leaving you unable to sleep at night? For most people, that anti-sleep meal plan goes a little something like this:

  • Skipping breakfast most days of the week, or only eating a small one
  • Snacking all day instead of eating a full lunch because you’re “too busy”
  • Eating the majority of their calories late in the day; the more complex the meal, the worse it is for your sleep

So what do the experts recommend? Well, we consulted some sleep scientists and took a look at their research. The common consensus right now suggests that people who are having trouble sleeping at night follow this daily eating schedule instead:

  • Make your breakfast the new dinner; try to make it your largest meal of the day with many different healthy ingredients
  • Don’t make excuses to skip lunch; polarized daily eating makes a big problem even bigger for people who are already having trouble sleeping at night
  • Make your dinner the new breakfast (as if you didn’t see that advice coming from a mile away); keep it simple, but do try to combine some complex carbs with foods that are high in B vitamins
  • On any given day, your caloric consumption should stop at least two hours before bed. However, some people may have a hard time going to sleep if their tummy is rumbling at bedtime. The simplest solution is to have a snack which is very similar to your dinner (complex carbs and B vitamins). Just make sure that it doesn’t contain any spice. Spicy food late at night will give you indigestion, and this discomfort will likely keep you awake.

When you sit down and give it some thought, the “upside-down pyramid” eating schedule makes a lot more sense than our Standard American Diet. You want to start your day with a full tank of gas, metaphorically speaking, so that you have the energy you need to get stuff done. And when you’re winding down at the end of the day, what do you need more calories for? Sure, the brain does a lot of work overnight to recharge and clean house, but that doesn’t mean you should be consuming the majority of your daily caloric intake before bed. The brain only uses so many calories refreshing itself during your natural sleep cycle. Anything else will likely be stored as fat, and may even get in the way of your brain’s nightly restorative process.

Start Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Speaking of changing your eating schedule, there are changes you should make to your bedtime routine which will also help improve your rest. This can include adopting one or more of the following habits:

  1. Stop using electronic devices 2 – 3 hours before bedtime so that the blue light won’t stop your brain from producing melatonin (the sleep hormone)
  2. If you can afford it, turn your thermostat down to about 68 degrees at night; a cool sleeping environment helps you sleep better
  3. Blackout curtains and/or sleep masks are a great way to block out ambient light, which can also disturb your sleep

If number one is too difficult – which it is for the majority of people – there are blue light glasses out there which can help you have your electronic cake and eat it too. Furthermore, a natural sleep aid is a far superior way to relax at night and get healthy, restorative sleep compared to prescription drugs or OTC sleeping pills.

Whole Foods and Healthy Macronutrients  

Here’s where we get to the fun part: dietary suggestions for a better sleep diet. After all, changing the way you eat is only so effective. But changing what you eat can make your new eating schedule that much more powerful.

The first step is to get very well acquainted with the produce section of your grocery store. The more whole food you eat, the better. Try to move away from eating anything that comes out of a box, a bag, a can, or the freezer section (with the exception of lentils and vegetables, respectively). Most boxed, bagged, canned, and frozen food is highly processed. Processed food is basically a(n intentionally addictive) combination of trans fats, sugar, and salt with little nutritional value. Whole foods and organic meats/dairy products are far superior, especially when it comes to your sleep. This is because:

  • Healthy protein helps your body convert amino acids into tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, which are the three hormones you need to relax and feel sleepy at bedtime
  • Complex carbs from vegetables and fruit provide B vitamins which unlock the sedative powers of tryptophan
  • Some sleep disturbances are caused by a lack of healthy fats in your diet; good examples of food which are high in healthy fats include nuts, dairy, eggs, and olive oil

We know we’ve just giving you a lot of information. But the truth is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. We will be periodically updating you on more specific topics with regard to healthy sleep diets in the near future. Keep checking back for new posts if you want to learn more!

 

Are You Supplementing With Melatonin at Night? If Not, Maybe You Should

Are You Supplementing With Melatonin at Night? If Not, Maybe You Should

Odds are, if you’ve ever complained about a lack of sleep out loud among other people, you’ve probably heard at least one of them swear by melatonin. But does melatonin really work? Can it actually help you fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep through the night, and achieve restful, quality sleep? The short answer is: yes, yes it can. But if you’re confused as to how, we will help clear the air and explain everything you need to know about supplementing with melatonin at night.

Melatonin and Your Circadian Rhythm

With the rise and fall of the sun comes the rise and fall of your circadian rhythm. The human circadian rhythm is made up of a series of biological processes which, depending on the time of day, can leave you feeling energetic and sharp or drowsy and fatigued. It all depends on whether or not you have a healthy sleep cycle.

Melatonin is a very important part of your circadian rhythm, especially after the sun goes down. Once it gets dark outside and your eyes are not exposed to as much blue light as they would be during the day, your brain starts to release melatonin into your system. This hormone lets the rest of your body know that it is time to sleep so that you can repair the wear and tear your body experiences throughout the day.

The modern world, however, is seriously interfering with melatonin production. Even after the sun goes down, our beloved modern technology – specifically, TVs, cell phones, tablets, computers, and more – are still exposing us to the blue light we would normally only get from the sun during the day. This confuses your brain, tricking it into thinking it is still daytime. This means that your brain won’t produce as much melatonin – if it releases any at all – and you won’t feel sleepy when it’s actually time for bed. If you’re an electronics junkie and you find yourself tossing and turning nearly every night, this may be the unfortunate reason why.

What Can People Do About Low Melatonin Levels?

There are some very practical steps people can take if they’re worried about their melatonin levels. Some of the best suggestions include:

  • Practicing mindfulness and/or meditating if stressful thoughts are keeping you up at night
  • Spend more time outside in natural light
  • Limit exposure to electronic lights after about 8 or 9 p.M.
  • If you can’t limit your exposure to electronics in the evening, consider buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses
  • If your bedroom has too much ambient light at night, consider investing in a quality sleep mask

We understand that making some of these changes may be hard or nearly impossible for most people to accomplish. That’s why melatonin supplements exist. And it’s a good thing they do, given how drastically our modern lives interfere with our natural circadian rhythms.

Arguing the Case for Melatonin Supplements

Yes, it’s true; taking a melatonin supplement at night (or a natural sleep supplement that contains melatonin) is a great way to help alleviate sleep problems. But that’s not the only reason you should be supplementing with melatonin. We have discovered a whole host of other health benefits that melatonin can provide. As you can see below.

Antioxidant Benefits

Many people don’t know this, but melatonin is also an antioxidant. It can help shield every cell in your body against the oxidative damage which is, unfortunately, a natural byproduct of cellular function. Over time, too much oxidative stress can damage your DNA, leading to premature aging, a poor complexion, chronic fatigue, chronic inflammation, and brain fog (among other things). And melatonin doesn’t just protect your cells from DNA damage – it helps give you more energy by maintaining good mitochondrial health. Mitochondria are little energy-producing organic machines that float around inside each and every cell in your body. When they aren’t functioning properly, you tend to feel tired all the time, and it also makes it harder to get a healthy amount of exercise. But supplementing with melatonin can help you overcome these challenges.

A Wide Range of Health and Wellness Benefits

While melatonin may help protect your body on a cellular level, it has some macro benefits as well. For starters, it’s great for maintaining a healthy and well functioning immune system. It’s especially potent when it comes to giving your immune system a boost in the face of viral or bacterial infection.

It protects your mental health as well. People suffering from ADHD, chronic anxiety, and even autism have reported experiencing less severe symptoms with melatonin supplementation. Obviously, melatonin is not a cure. You should still follow your doctor’s advice and take whatever medications are necessary if you do have any of these problems. But it can be a safe, gentle addition to help boost your current regimen.

Attention all of you headache sufferers out there: you should be supplementing with melatonin, too, despite whether you also have sleep problems or not. This is especially true if you are constantly plagued chronic cluster headaches. Supplementing with melatonin every night has the potential to reduce both the frequency and the severity of a cluster headache attack.

Melatonin Is Much Safer Than Most Sleep Medications

If you’re currently on a prescription sleep medication or taking over the counter sleeping pills on a regular basis, you may want to take a break from those (but only if your doctor says it’s safe, with regard to the prescription sleep meds) and switch to melatonin supplements for a while. This is especially true if you’ve never tried melatonin before. There are many dangerous side effects that come with both prescription and drugstore sleep medications, even though they’re downplayed by most drug companies and rarely advertised. But you should know what they are before blindly resorting to these harsh drugs every night.

Natural sleep supplements, on the other hand, are a safer and superior alternative to synthetic chemicals. Many of them, including Avinol PM, include a healthy dose of melatonin to help you sleep. Some formulas even include ingredients such as chamomile, valerian root, or hops extract to boost the effectiveness of melatonin. If you’re ready to give Avinol PM or similar supplements a try, you can learn more about them by clicking that link.

Test Your Sleep IQ With This Fun Quiz

Test Your Sleep IQ With This Fun Quiz

Take Our Sleep Quiz to Learn Fun Facts About Your Nightly Rest!

How much do you think you know about sleep? Well, the truth is that it may not be as much as you would assume. Below, you can take a quick, fun true or false quiz to learn new things about sleep that you never thought were possible.

True or false: People only dream in black and white – it is impossible to dream in color.

False. Medical experts used to believe this, but modern science has discovered that, in reality, less than 15% of people have pure monochromatic dreams. This means that the vast majority of sleepers who dream at night dream in vivid, beautiful colors.

True or false: Animals need about 8 hours of sleep a day, just like humans.

False. Different animals have vastly different needs when it comes to their natural sleep patterns. Cats, for example, (whether big or small) require about 16 to 20 hours of sleep per day. A giraffe, on the other hand, will sleep less than 2 hours per day and still be perfectly healthy.  

True or false: Prescription sleeping pills are more effective than herbal remedies, and have no safety concerns whatsoever.

False. There are a myriad of safety concerns with prescription sleeping pills, such as sleep driving and the potential for neurological damage. Furthermore, herbal sleep remedies have been around for centuries – so if they aren’t effective, why would anyone ever use them? Best of all, they don’t come with the risky side effects that prescription pills do.

True or false: Sleeping in specific positions can provide unique health benefits.

True. Sleeping on your right side elevates your heart, promoting better blood flow while you rest. Sleeping on your left side, on the other hand, can help those suffering from heartburn or gerd. Sleeping on your stomach discourages indigestion, especially if you sleep with your hands above your head. Finally, sleeping on either side helps improve the quality of the sleep you get. The lack of pressure along the back of your neck allows cerebrospinal fluid to flow more freely across the blood-brain barrier. This makes it easier for your brain to clean house at night, removing toxins and cellular waste to improve your neurological health.

True or false: There is no correlation between personality type and your preferred sleep position.

False. Much like your body language, the position you sleep in can convey a lot about your personality, or even the mood you were in when you went to bed. Sleeping in a fetal position, for example, conveys emotional sensitivity and higher levels of empathy – but may also indicate loneliness or a need for affection. Sleeping on your front with arms and legs splayed wide, like a skydiver, implies a very assertive personality (sometimes in a rude way) but it also suggests that such boldness is compensatory. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way around. A shy person, for example, can’t suddenly embolden themselves by sleeping in a different position. So just sleep in whatever way makes you the most comfortable!

True or false: Couples who sleep in separate beds have a troubled relationship.

False. As a matter of fact, forcing yourselves to sleep in the same bed can foster resentment and damage the relationship. But this is only the case if you and your partner have such different sleep habits that your nightly routines interfere with each others’ ability to get quality rest. Sleeping in separate beds – or even separate bedrooms – can actually help the relationship. Spending time apart at night can make the heart grow fonder during the day. It also gives you excuses to cuddle and show affection while you are awake and can appreciate it the most.

True or false: Sleeping in high altitudes can reduce the quality of your sleep.

True. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but the strongest theory they have is that it has to do with lower levels of oxygen at higher altitudes. Breathing less oxygen while you sleep can cause sleep disturbances, aggravate sleep apnea, and prevent the cellular restoration that your body does when you sleep.

True or false: Adjusting to a shift work schedule is physically impossible to do without running the risk of serious health problems.

True, unfortunately. Even if you successfully adjust your daily schedule to get an optimal amount of sleep, the natural biological processes in your body still work according to a normal day night cycle. And when the natural human circadian rhythm is out of balance with your actual sleep schedule, it can create health problems over time. Imbalances in important hormones such as melatonin, serotonin, leptin, ghrelin, and many more will happen if you won’t let your body sleep during the night and work during the day. Over time, these hormonal imbalances can create chronic diseases like cardiovascular problems or diabetes.

True or false: Being unable to sleep because your partner snores is annoying, but harmless.

False. The inability to sleep due to your partner’s snoring comes with all of the horrible physical and mental side effects that any type of sleep deprivation does. On top of that, experiencing distress due to an annoying noise (like snoring) comes with its own unique set of debilitating symptoms, too. The condition is called misophonia, which is defined as “a strong dislike or hatred of certain sounds”. It goes beyond mere annoyance. It actually creates a physical stress reaction in your body. It floods your bloodstream with cortisol, which is the stress hormone responsible for putting your body into fight or flight mode. Obviously, it isn’t going to improve your ability to get to sleep – much less your quality of sleep – if you have stress hormones surging through your body at night. And chronic stress has been shown to exacerbate serious health problems like heart disease, mental health issues, and obesity, among others.

We hope you enjoyed taking this little quiz today. For more information on sleep, be sure to check our blog regularly for updates!

Sleep Deprivation Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Sleepless nights will happen to everyone at some point or another. You can probably count the dozens of times you’ve complained about being “sleep deprived” off the top of your head right now. But the truth is that sleep deprivation is much more serious than people think. And the longer you spend accumulating sleep deprivation, the more likely it is to have a disastrous effect on your overall health. Below, we’ll tell you all about acute sleep deprivation, chronic sleep deprivation, and tips you can use to keep these conditions from harming your health.

Occasional Sleep Deprivation

Over 90% of adults will have a sleepless night every once in a while. This is referred to in medical circles as acute sleep deprivation. In general, this type of sleep deprivation may only have mild negative effects on your health, if you notice any at all. Usually, you’ll experience these negative effects within the first 24 to 36 hours after your restless night. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Overwhelming urge to yawn frequently
  • Impulsive tendencies
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Intense mood swings
  • Dull complexion
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Unhealthy food cravings
  • Making bad decisions
  • Lack of motor control

That last one can be especially dangerous if you operate heavy machinery for a living or have a particularly long work commute. It’ll make you more likely to get into an accident both on the job and on the road. Although rare, these accidents have the potential to be fatal. Certain studies show that driving a car while acutely sleep deprived can be just as risky as driving under the influence of 1-3 alcoholic drinks.

This may sound a little scary so far, but there is some good news. With acute sleep deprivation, you can alleviate the symptoms above with a good night’s rest the following evening. A strong power nap in the afternoon may also be helpful. However, too much sleep deprivation will eventually have a cumulative effect. When restless nights pile up over time, the consequences will be much worse than dark circles and too many yawns.

Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation is an incredibly common thing. In the United States alone, over 40 million adults suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. This chronic deficit has many negative effects on your overall health. Some of these can even become permanent if the issue isn’t properly addressed.

First and foremost, getting too little sleep (or getting poor quality sleep) can you make you gain weight. When you don’t sleep properly, the hormones which control your metabolism fall out of balance. These hormones are ghrelin – the “hunger” hormone – and leptin, the “full” hormone. In a healthy body, you only produce ghrelin when your body needs calories, and you produce leptin when you have eaten just enough to fuel yourself. But in a sleep-deprived body, too much ghrelin gets produced, leading to intense food cravings. More often than not, these cravings lead you towards sugary, fatty foods rather than healthy choices. It also fails to produce enough leptin, which protects you from overeating. Most people know that when you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you gain too much weight and keep it on for many years, it’s easy to develop chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, or type 2 diabetes, among other things.

Furthermore, chronic sleep deprivation can give you actual brain damage. Temporary memory problems and poor motor skills are only the tip of the iceberg. If left unchecked, you could make yourself vulnerable to depression and other mood disorders. Several days in a row with little or no sleep can cause visual and auditory hallucinations. Impulsive decisions or actions will become much more frequent. Erratic thoughts can leave you stressed out and eventually manifest as chronic anxiety or panic attacks. Over the months and years that your unhealthy sleep habits continue, these will become more permanent and more devastating.

When the brain accumulates too much physical damage, it can eventually become fatal after a certain amount of time. Animal studies have shown that continued sleep deprivation is definitely fatal, even in as little as 7 to 10 days. Fortunately, death from sleep deprivation in humans is very rare, and there are no known cases reported. But this doesn’t mean that several days of sleep deprivation won’t – for example – get you into a deadly accident.

Long-term sleep deprivation makes the likelihood of serious accidents much more common with time. Factory, dock, and warehouse workers are extremely vulnerable to this based on their odd sleeping schedules and the abundance of heavy machinery they work with. Even those with a normal desk job can get into an accident on the road if they have gone weeks or months (or longer) getting poor sleep at night. And you aren’t just putting yourself in danger, either. Pilots, surgeons, air traffic controllers, and the like have caused serious – and sometimes fail – accidents due to chronic sleep deprivation.

Thankfully, There Are Solutions

Whether your poor quality sleep is causing acute or chronic sleep deprivation, there are things you can do to help eliminate it from your life. For starters, stay away from harsh, chemical sleep aids. Yes, we know that most people reach for an over-the-counter sleeping pill or ask their doctor for a prescription sleep aid – but this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the quality sleep necessary for your brain and body to operate at their best. In some cases, these drugs can alter your brain in ways that make it difficult or impossible to get a restorative rest when you don’t take them. These effects can last for months or even years, depending on how long you take these drugs.

In our expert opinion, the best thing you can do for your health and safety is take a sleep aid that is made from natural ingredients. We’ve reviewed many of them, but we believe that Avinol PM is the safest and most effective formula you can get. If you’re ready to start sleeping better, go ahead and check it out.

Is Your Prescription Sleeping Pill Secretly Harming Your Health?

Is Your Prescription Sleeping Pill Secretly Harming Your Health?

Have you ever wondered exactly what prescription sleeping pills are made out of? Well, a lot of people have. And the answer is: nobody really knows, except for the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture them. All we know 100% for sure is that they aren’t made from anything natural. They’re chock-full of synthetic, manufactured molecules which some scientists – many of whom have been hired by pharmaceutical companies, for pharmaceutical companies – claim can help us alleviate our sleeping problems without too many harmful side effects.

But how true is that statement, really? We decided to do a little digging to find out the truth. And after you read what we have found, you may never want to take another prescription sleeping pill ever again.

Scary Side Effects of Prescription Sleeping Pills Even Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About

Have you ever wondered how your doctor knows which prescription medicines are best for which patients? Or when it’s okay to prescribe one patient a certain pill, but refuse to give it to another sick person with the same condition? In a perfect world, your doctor would occasionally crack open a medical journal to refresh and/or update their medical knowledge. This research helps them be a better doctor by learning which medications, as well as medical practices, are the most affordable and effective for patients today.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Often, doctors don’t have the time to search out the best medications for their patients. That’s where pharmaceutical reps come in. They visit doctor’s offices with the latest information, hoping that the doctor will agree to start prescribing it to their patients. But sometimes, these reps aren’t always honest with the doctor about which drugs are safe, and which aren’t; their main job is to get drugs sold so that they can keep their job and make money. Patient safety is, unfortunately, secondary.

If your doctor fell victim to a less-than-scrupulous pharmaceutical rep, he or she may be prescribing sleeping pills right now that are extremely hazardous to your health. And yes, there is proof out there that there are more risks than we know of. For starters, there is the BMJ Open, which recently published a study linking prescription sleep medications to cancer. The study has shown a positive link between high mortality rates in recently diagnosed cancer patients and people who take prescription sleeping pills. To be fair, the study in question has only established a correlation between high cancer mortality rates and those who depend on prescription pills in order to get to sleep. Scientists have yet to prove that there is a direct cause of higher mortality because of sleeping pill use (or abuse). But we suspect it won’t take much further study to uncover the truth.

A less fatal, but still serious problem associated with sleeping pills is the fact that they can cause withdrawal symptoms. If someone tries to quit taking a sleep medication all of a sudden – often referred to as “cold turkey” – they can experience a myriad of horrible side effects. Thankfully, most of these side effects aren’t as bad as quitting narcotic drugs or ending decades of alcohol abuse. But you may suffer anxiety, panic attacks, extreme irritability, and even rebound insomnia as a result. Millions of people have developed an unhealthy dependence on sleeping pills, even after they no longer need them, simply because they want to avoid these side effects.

Of course, we can’t gloss over the fact that many prescription sleeping pills can trick your brain into doing dangerous things while you are still technically “asleep”. Even when you are incapable of conscious thought, your body’s still capable of moving and acting out on wants or desires. People have found themselves binge eating, driving, and even having cogent conversations with friends and loved ones all while their brain is incapable of exercising good judgment or reacting as quickly as a sober mind would.

Despite all of the warnings, some people still insist on asking their doctor for a sleeping pill prescription because they don’t think they have alternative options available. But that isn’t the case. Although, we should mention that some alternative options are better than others.

Discussing Alternatives

Really, the best way to improve your inability to get to sleep at night is with a good diet, some healthy exercise during the week, and anything that can reduce your stress (like meditation, for example). But like we said a minute ago, we don’t live in a perfect world where most people have the opportunity to change their entire lifestyle in this way. So the quick and easy solution is to take something – anything – to alleviate their sleep problems.

One of the solutions people typically go for if they can’t or don’t want to take prescription sleeping pills are over-the-counter sleep medicines. They’re cheaper, easier to get, and many of them are pretty effective. But this comes with some inherent risk. Abusing over the counter sleeping pills over the long term may lead to an increased risk of brain diseases, such as alzheimer’s and dementia, developing later on in life. There are many medications, prescription and OTC, that can have very dangerous if not deadly reactions to an over the counter sleeping pill. Despite claims by the manufacturers who sell them at these pills or anything but habit-forming, most people who buy these pills fail to follow the “don’t take for longer than 2 weeks” disclaimer that is on the back of most packages. Despite all of these unnerving facts, combined with the threat of liver and kidney toxicity in high doses, along with sometimes dangerous next day drowsiness, it’s a wonder anyone ever takes an over the counter sleeping pill.

Natural Sleep Aids

So what else is there, you might be asking? Well, there are natural sleep supplements out there which are safer and much less expensive than either prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. They are made with natural ingredients which are proven safe when used as directed, and they don’t leave you with that next day groggy feeling. Avinol PM just so happens to be one of those sleep supplements. If you’re curious about what a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM can do for you, feel free to read up on how it works or visit their main website.