Far too many people use various drugs throughout the day — to help sleep, stay awake, or fight anxiety — instead of encouraging natural and restorative sleep. There is probably nothing better on this Earth than awakening each day energized, regenerated, and well rested. Here we will explore some new and interesting ways to help us get a healthful and restorative night’s sleep.
Many people simply have not heard about other options to encourage sleep naturally. They can resort to taking both a medication for sleep and for the anxiety that ensues from a lack of rest, which virtually becomes a 24-hour cycle of drug dependence. This all too often creates side effects that can lead up to dangerous complications that even include death. New research exposes that regular use of these powerful drugs is now linked to dementia. If you have ever seen anyone you love suffer from dementia you know how devastating this can be, let alone consider having this condition yourself.
Researchers compared a group of approximately 100 French seniors who took benzodiazepines and similar drugs to 1,000 people who did not take any drugs, over a 15 year period. The ones who took the drugs had a 60 percent higher risk of dementia — and that’s even after adjusting for the usual variety of risk factors, according to the study in BMJ.
What makes this even more disturbing is that the drugs they tracked are practically household names — including Ambien, Halcion, Klonopin, Restoril, Valium, and Xanax. These types of meds were never meant for long-term use. The problem, of course, is that people who turn to them for a short-term problem with sleep or stress, can end up relying on them day after day (or night after night), and year after year. You probably know some people who are most likely ‘hooked’ on these drugs, even if they don’t walk around advertising it. There could, however, be a happy ending, and that is the fact that dementia caused by medications can sometimes be completely reversed by getting off those drugs and onto safe, natural alternatives.
Alas sometimes, it’s too late — and that’s why the better plan of action is to not take these drugs in the first place. Why not seek, or recommend to someone, a second opinion before starting treatment which could help those facing this decision find a way to sleep naturally and have pleasant dreams without taking drugs.
Simple practices can be explored, such as: no caffeine after midday, a cup of chamomile tea, and a warm bath with lavender bath salts in the evening before bedtime. (Read here for some more diet strategies for better sleep.)
I like to envision beautiful sleeping spaces and places that encourage a restful sleep. A simple scrap book or vision board can be created and paged through at bedtime to set a restful tone for your positive affirmations during the evening sleep cycle.