One area of health where natural medicine offers some great possibilities is in sleep. And we all know how critical a good night’s sleep is — for reasons we can and cannot feel. A new study illustrates a problem with sleeping pills, which further suggests that the world of alternative health is the way to go.
The study found that more and more people are relying on sleeping pills. But it links such drugs to a 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer cases. This is a $2.0-billion drug industry, by the way.
It shows that eight of the most commonly used hypnotic drugs were associated with increased hazards of mortality and cancer, including “Ambien” and “Restoril,” which were thought to have been safer.
The researchers tried many strategies to see if this alarming link held up, and it did no matter what they used. Even among patients who were prescribed one to 18 sleeping pills per year, the risk of death was 3.6 times higher than among similar participants who did not take the medications.
Rates of new cancers were 35% higher among patients who were prescribed at least 132 hypnotic doses a year as compared with those who did not take the drugs. The health news comes from a very large sample size.
This seems a good opportunity to talk about what alternative medicine could do for you. Some experts focus on cognitive therapy that teaches patients to better understand the nature of sleep. For example, some people suffering from insomnia might require less than the eight hours of sleep commonly recommended for each night.
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Good sleeping habits and relaxation can do wonders. Meditation, acupuncture, yoga, eating nutritiously, even hypnotherapy are all good possibilities. For supplements, the best bets remain the natural hormone melatonin (use at your doctor’s direction) and the herbal supplement valerian root (commonly found as tea).
There is a long list of studies attesting to the huge importance of sleep for a proper functioning body. Get sleep the right way and don’t put yourself in harm’s way.