We’ve grown accustomed to taking pills when we feel bad–for headaches, insomnia, mild depression, indigestion, and the aches and pains of aging, to name a few common complaints. We’re so used to automatically reaching into our medicine cabinets for quick relief that we don’t stop to ask an obvious question: What’s causing the discomfort?
We want to mask our symptoms, and the pharmaceutical companies and conventional doctors are more than happy to oblige. The problem is, a headache isn’t caused by aspirin deficiency, so aspirin isn’t going to cure it! Even worse, many common drugs we take to relieve our symptoms–both over-the-counter and prescription medications–often make the symptoms worse and can make you sicker than if you never took them.
Here are five drugs you may take regularly without a second thought–and what you may not know about their harmful effect on your health.
1. Sleeping pills deprive you of sleep.
Most people don’t realize that sleeping pills disrupt healthy sleep cycles–the “repair” mechanisms that help us feel rested, happy, and ready to face the day. Powerful drugs that interfere with normal brain function, most sleeping pills are highly addictive, cause depression, and have been shown to produce a 25 percent increase in early mortality.
Safer alternatives: Eliminate substances that disrupt sleep patterns, including alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drugs such as marijuana. Try taking 2,000 mg of L-tryptophan in combination with vitamin B6, niacin, and magnesium. 5-HTP, melatonin, L-theanine, and valerian have been shown to be highly effective–but make sure with supplements that you a use a high-quality brand. Exercise and progressive relaxation techniques are also great insomnia remedies.