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Sleeping Pills not always the Best Option

separator It can get harder to get a good night’s sleep as you get older, which is why many older people take sleeping pills. But these medications may not be such a good choice.

Recent research in the British Medical Journal showed that sedatives such as Ambien and Restoril did have modest improvement in sleep quality and duration. But use of the sedatives also increased the risk of

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Falling

Before turning to sleeping pills, ask yourself whether you’re taking other steps to improve your sleep. Do you get plenty of exercise every day? If not, that’s one reason why you can’t fall asleep. Your body hasn’t burned enough energy during the day. Do you strictly limit caffeine? Remember—carbonated drinks such as Coke are highly caffeinated and can affect the quality of your sleep. Do you keep your bedroom very dark a night? Too much light has a negative effect.

Give these suggestions at try for several weeks. You may find that you don’t really need sleeping pills after all. If you still have problems, talk with your doctor about other possible causes and what you can do about them.

British Medical Journal, 11 November 2005.
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