The past decade has witnessed a major interest in the diagnosis and management of sleep problems. Sleep centers have sprung up all over the country and every community hospital has at least one physician who has a special background in sleep disorders. There has been a widespread, but unhealthy tendency, for a large proportion of the population to rely on drugs to induce sleep. All pharmaceuticals possess disadvantages or limitations, including cost, side-effects and tolerance. Many different types of drugs that depress brain function are being used to induce sleep.
Among the most popular prescription drugs for sleep are pharmaceuticals that belong to the class of short-acting benzodiazepines. These drugs should not be used for more than a few days because they may promote dependence and an individual can become tolerant to their actions, so that increasing doses of these drugs may be required to have a desired effect. Cessation of these drugs is a common cause of rebound sleeplessness.
There are more than 20 million people who take over-the-counter drugs for sleep. Popular OTC sleep remedies are often antihistamine drugs that cause drowsiness, hence sleep. The use of over-the-counter antihistamines for sleep is a major public health problem, especially in the elderly; since these drugs can cause confusion, promote accidents at night, interfere with bladder function and cause unpleasant drying of mucous membrane.OTC sleeping pills may be more dangerous than we have recognized. Over the past 15 years, there has been a trend for a reduction in the use of prescription drugs for sleep, as many people have become aware of the side effects and problems that exist with several pharmaceuticals. Dietary supplementation offers a natural, cost-effective, side-effect way to get a good nights rest. Also, certain behavior and lifestyle techniques can be practiced that help people with sleeping problems fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
In the new book Sleep Naturally by Dr. Stephen Holt, M.D. (Wellness Publishing; Newark, NJ; 2003), a holistic lifestyle program to assist in the achievement of restful sleep is presented in detail. The Sleep Naturally program focuses on many behavioral changes required to combat insomnia and it introduces the concept of the use of natural, herbal, botanical and nutrients through dietary supplementation as a potential first-line approaches in relieving sleeping problems.
Leading-edge dietary supplement technology has led to the formulation of the product Sleep Naturally (www.sleepnaturally.com and www.naturesbenefit.com). Natural substances known to assist in the achievement of restful sleep are best used in safe combinations. A relatively small dose of a number of natural substances which promote sleep can work together, in concert, to produce a superior, safe, simple and effective outcome. This is the concept of synergy where ingredients have helper effects on each other.
This approach of synergy may help avoid the tolerance that may invariably occur when a single natural substance or drug is used to promote sleep. Of course, the most important thing is to use a combination of natural substances where scientific evidence supports their potential effectiveness.
Sleep Naturally is a proprietary product that combines the herbal ingredients of Valerian Root, Chamomile Flower, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, Skullcap Whole and Ashwagandha Root, and specific vitamins and minerals (Magnesium, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid) with the power of the sleep hormone melatonin and the natural precursor effects of 5 Hydroxytryptophan.
There are many natural ways to promote restful sleep, including lifestyle change, good nutrition, attention to the sleep environment and the use of carefully selected dietary supplements. We live in an age of a distorted belief in medical miracles or quick-fixes. Clearly, there is a major incentive to seek simpler, gentler and natural alternatives to drugs in promoting sleep. These notions are thoroughly outlined in Holts Sleep Naturally Plan.
Stephen Holt, MD, ChB., FRCP (C), MRCP (UK), FACP, FACG, FACN, FACAM is a best-selling author and practicing physician. He is a consultant to Natures Benefit, a supplement manufacturer who recently developed an all natural sleep supplement. For more info, please see the ad below, or visit: www.naturesbenefit.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Holts recent book entitled Sleep Naturally is available at www.wellnesspublishing.com and major bookstores and health food stores.