Are you using your sleep aids correctly? - Fox 2 News Headlines

FOX Medical Team

Are you using your sleep aids correctly?

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

If you can't sleep, you have plenty of options: over the counter sleep medications, prescription sleeping drugs like Lunesta, Sonata or Ambien, or you can try a sleep supplements like melatonin.
    
But, sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus says we're making some pretty big mistakes in how we use these sleep aids.

"Sometimes people can't fall asleep. Sometimes people can't stay asleep.  Some people will wake up too early.  Some people will have insomnia associated with pain, so only when they're feeling pain," said Breus.

If that's you, and you can't sleep because you're hurting, Breus says an over the counter pain medication with a sleep aid may help.
 
"If you find that you're taking one of those every single night and it's been months and months of doing it, you probably want to talk to your doctor about that. Are they safe? Yeah, they are safe.  Are they effective? They can absolutely be effective if you're using them the right way, for the right situation," Breus said.

The same explanation applies to prescription sleep medications like Ambien.

"Ambien is an excellent drug when used appropriately.  There have been a lot of stories about people doing different things, when taking Ambien: Sleep walking, sleep eating, sleep driving things like that," said Breus.

To lower your risk a problem like that, Breus says take it and turn the lights out. Don't brush your teeth, or wash your face.

"Because what happens is it lowers your inhibitions, and you're walking around and say, 'You know, I'm hungry!  I think I'm going to go to McDonalds and get some fries!'  Right?  And you've got Ambien on board, and that is when bad stuff can definitely happen," said Breus.

If you're taking melatonin, and it's not working that well, Breus says rethink your timing.

"Melatonin is a sleep regulator, not a sleep initiator," explained Breus.
 
Melatonin can help trick your brain into thinking it's bedtime, but Breus says it can't actually make you sleepy. So, don't take it like a sleeping pill. Take it about 90 minutes before bed.

"Most people take it five minutes before lights out and it doesn't work.  And they wonder why it doesn't work, so they take another one.  And it's still not working and they take a third one.  And that's where we start to see problems," Breus said.

Breus says if you're not sleeping well on a regular basis talk to your doctor about the problem. Remember, these medications can help you fall asleep, or stay asleep, but they don't really  address what's causing your insomnia.

  • More Health NewsMore>>

  • FOX Medical Team

    5 fat-burning foods you should try

    5 fat-burning foods you should try

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:19:49 GMT
    Tired of working out with no payoff, or counting calories and still not losing weight? Healthy chef Nancy Waldeck at the Family Wellness Center at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital pulled together five fat-burning foods you need to discover!
    Tired of working out with no payoff, or counting calories and still not losing weight? Healthy chef Nancy Waldeck at the Family Wellness Center at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital pulled together five fat-burning foods you need to discover!
  • Patients urged to 'partner' with caregivers & doctor

    Patients urged to 'partner' with caregivers & doctor

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-23 13:59:23 GMT
    One woman teamed up with her doctors and got some answers to her health problems.
    One woman teamed up with her doctors and got some answers to her health problems.
  • Summer camp helps kids with Tourette's syndrome

    Summer camp helps kids with Tourette's syndrome

    FOX Medical TeamFOX Medical Team
    A summer camp for children with Tourette's syndrome is helping children embrace their disorder.
    A summer camp for children with Tourette's syndrome is helping children embrace their disorder.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices