Monday, October 31, 2011

Best Over The Counter Sleep Aid OTC

If you have read my articles at A Sleep Easy you know that keeping a sleep routine, eliminating caffeine before bedtime and taking a nap before 4pm are a few tips in getting a good night’s rest. Still for some people insomnia may not be that easy to overcome and you may consider taking an over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aid. But what is the best over-the-counter sleep aid for you? OTC sleep aides are meant to be taken on an occasional sleepless night because the more you take them the less effective they become. OTC sleep aides affects linger in your system the next day causing you feel listless which makes it difficult to stay focused at work or school. If you haven’t slept well for over two weeks I recommend that you talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing your insomnia. If you are considering OTC supplements it is important to know their side effects.

[caption id="attachment_1619" align="alignright" width="306" caption="Over-the-Counter Sleep Aid side effect: Dependency"][/caption]

There many OTC sleep aides to choose from and most contain antihistamines that cause drowsiness. If you are taking an antidepressant or other drugs for depression, psychiatric, emotional conditions or Parkinson’s disease talk to your doctor first due to a drug interaction. OTC sleep aides such as Sominex, Benadryl, Tylenol PM and others can cause dry mouth, dizziness, afternoon sleepiness and memory problem. They are not recommended for those that are pregnant, breast feeding, suffer from glaucoma, have heart conditions or an enlarged prostate.

Unisom can cause prolonged drowsiness and in addition that it may not be safe for those pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not advised to be taken for those that have asthma, bronchitis, glaucoma, peptic ulcer or an enlarged prostate.

Besides OTC sleep aides there are various supplements that say they are effective to treat insomnia. Even though they are not FDA approved it has been reported that they help those more effectively that are experiencing jet lag or work the late shift. The most popular supplements are Melatonin and Valerian. Melatonin is naturally produced in the body and regulates the sleep/wake cycle. When you age you produce less melatonin and flying through many time zones can cause your body’s internal clock to go out of sync. Taking melatonin at night is promoted to correct these issues and allow you to get a good night’s sleep. There have be some reports of side effects including; dizziness, headaches and afternoon sleepiness. Other side effects, although rare, are stomach aches, short-term depression, mild tremor, mild anxiety, irritability and confusion. Melatonin may interact with other medications, may not be safe for those under the age of 20 and should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Valerian is made from a plant and may help you to fall asleep easy and deeper. Its potencies can vary from brand to brand due to the way it is prepared. The FDA considers valerian to be safe but side effects can include; headaches, excitability and heart disturbances. This herb may not be recommended for those that are pregnant or nursing and it may react with other medications and with alcohol.

With any OTC or supplement it is best to use it with caution. You don’t need your doctors approval to take them, but it is a good idea to check with your doctor first especially if you are taking other medications or have a medical condition. Your doctor can establish the correct dose and decide if your insomnia is caused by another reason, suggest further evaluation or refer a sleep specialist. Remember sleep aides are a temporary fix and shouldn’t be taken for more than three nights in a row. Never mix OTC’s with alcohol because it will increase the sedatives effects. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery when taking an OTC.

Note: Read the label! Numerous people die every year because they overdose themselves by taking multiple ingredients with different labels. The FDA has warned people that by taking an OTC sleep aid with a cold remedy that contains the same ingredients can result in kidney damage, liver failure and even death. Damage to organs can occur when drugs are not taken exactly as directed. If you want to check for a drug interaction there are various websites that offer this service, but make sure you read their disclaimer.

The content provided in Best Over The Counter Sleep Aid OTC is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bed Wetting Solution

When my daughter was 5 she still had a problem with wetting her bed. In fact, many times I would catch her during the day struggling not to go to the bathroom in order to finish playing or watching a television show. Although wetting herself because she didn’t want to miss out on anything can be easier to prevent, wetting her bed at night was entirely a different problem. Did you know that 20% of 5 year olds and 10% of 6 year olds wet the bed? Most children grow out of it and others need an easy bed wetting solution like a simple reward system to achieve a positive result, dry nights.

[caption id="attachment_1614" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Bed Wetting Solution"][/caption]

Bedwetting usually runs in families and the children will stop at about the same time their parents did. Night time bedwetting is not due to being too lazy to get out of bed or spite. Your pediatrician will first take a medical history of the child and family to rule out medical reasons such as constipation or infection. Most bedwetters have primary enuresis which means they always wet the bed. Doctors have determined in most cases that it is caused by lack of matured mechanisms that control the bladder. If the child stops for a period of time then starts back up again this is known as secondary enuresis and usually this form of bedwetting is due to a medical or psychological condition where the child will need additional treatment or consultation.

One solution to help the child stop wetting the bed and regarded most effective is a urinary bed alarm. Alarms are available in different styles that include a moisture sensor and an alarm. Some sensors are worn on the underwear or a pajama bottom which is attached to an alarm box worn on their pajama top. The sensor detects moisture almost immediately sounding an alarm that wakes the child to get up and go to the bathroom. According to the Journal of Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing bedwetting solutions such as giving rewards, using alarms and some medication were found to be most effective. Researchers found that 70% of 505 children that wore alarms didn’t wet the bed after roughly 10 weeks. Many parents have used bedwetting alarms before consulting with their pediatrician, while other parents have tried the reward system. Anything special to the child can be used as a reward and don’t forget to add in a lot of positive reinforcement.

Remember the 1976 movie "The Loneliest Runner", starring Lance Kerwin? Lance plays the "child version" of Michael Landon, who was in real life was a bed wetter until the age of 14. Michael Landon was an Olympic hopeful pondering on his childhood through the movie. In the movie Lance is a 13 year old bed wetter, and his mother hangs his un-washed wet sheets outside his bedroom window in a cruel effort to get him to stop wetting his bed. This is how he becomes such an excellent runner, having to run home after school for nearly a year to get the sheets out of his window to avoid embarrassment and harassment from his friends. Even though this negative approach eventually had a happy ending (it’s a movie), you never know if belittling a child to stop wetting their bed will cause psychological problems in the future, so it is best to stick to positive methods.

Another bed wetting solution known as lifting is a strategy that involves making sure the child goes to the bathroom before going to bed and also waking him up periodically during the night (every 2-3 hours) to urinate. This method may take some time and often it is a temporary solution until the child grows out of wetting their bed on their own. Other methods are: urination delay - seeing how long the child can hold it during the day, then ask them to hold it for another few minutes adding a couple minutes every day. This almost sounds like doing Kegal exercises to build up the pelvic floor muscles that help control bladder function and fluid retention – eliminating liquids 2-3 hours before bedtime. This solution might seem as punishment to the child so it’s best to discuss it before hand and get their approval. If your child uses the “I want a glass of water” ploy to stay up longer, they might need further encouragement to use this method.

What can you do in the meantime while trying a bed wetting solution to save your child’s mattress? Try a plastic sheet or super absorbent training pants which are available for children up to age 6.

There are medications on the market that help, but many have bad side effects and if the child stops taking them the problem usually starts again. Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a synthetic copy of a chemical that is naturally produced by the body that controls urine production. It is available in tables and given right before bedtime. DDAVP is prescribed as a temporary solution only to be used for overnight stays and not recommended for children younger than 5 years old.

Tofranil an imipramine is an antidepressant that may work by reducing urine production. Possible side effects include constipation, dry mouth, nervousness, anxiety, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), mood or personality changes, headaches, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, blurred vision, uncontrollable crying, fast heartbeat, seizures, coma and low blood pressure.

Would it surprise you to learn that as many as 2% of all 19 year olds still wet the bed? If you have an older child that is a bedwetter and it isn’t due to family history, immature bladder function or a medical/psychological reason it could be a sign that they have a low level of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH tells the kidneys when to stop producing urine when they sleep. They could also be very deep sleepers, so their brain doesn’t receive the full bladder signal or they have a smaller bladder that can’t hold urine through the night.

Many teens that cannot stop bedwetting are too ashamed to go to ask for help. This can affect their emotional health and cause them to avoid sleepovers and any type of close emotional attachments because they fear that their secret will get out. Have you ever considered a bed wetting solution might be as simple as chiropractic care? How does chiropractic care help to stop bedwetting? Chiropractors can locate spine misalignments that can affect the nerves that travel to the bladder and communicate with the brain. These adjustments can be effective in reducing or even eliminating the number of “wet” nights.

Chiropractors can’t claim for certain that they can help someone who is a bedwetter. However, they do know that there is a good chance that chiropractic can help stop bedwetting, or at least reduce the frequency of “wet” nights, if the bedwetting is related to a spinal misalignment.

Several research studies have explored the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments on bedwetters. In one such study, 25 % of children who received chiropractic adjustments experienced a 50 % or greater reduction in the number of wet nights. None of the children in the control group experienced this same result.

No matter what bed wetting solution you try encouragement is crucial and it is important that they understand that they will eventually have control over the problem.  Eventually my daughter stopped wetting her bed by the age of 6 using the reward system and today is using this same method with own her children.  The content provided in Bed Wetting Solution is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sleep too Easy Narcolepsy Facts

Some narcolepsy facts state that anyone, at any age (although most symptoms are usually first noticed in teenagers or younger adults) can develop this sleep disorder that affects the nervous system. Narcolepsy often runs in families with 8 to 12 percent of people with narcolepsy having a close relative with this condition. It can cause excessive sleepiness, including frequent sleep attacks during the day. If you have narcolepsy it can have a huge impact on your active, busy lifestyle.

[caption id="attachment_1609" align="alignright" width="330" caption="What is Narcolepsy?"][/caption]

Causes of narcolepsy, according to experts, is due to low levels of hyprocretin a protein made in the brain which makes the sufferers experience a strong, sudden urge to sleep. People have been known to have this urge after eating, diving a car or at a meeting and certain lifestyle factors and sleep conditions can make it worse. Some scientist have identified genes associated with narcolepsy the produce chemicals that signal our sleep/wake cycle. Also, researchers have discovered abnormalities in the brain that involve regulating REM sleep. Through this research the findings have deduced that this disorder involves multiple neurological dysfunctions and REM sleep instabilities.

Unfortunately many people today still believe that narcolepsy is a mental illness related to depression or anxiety. Doctors do prescribe antidepressant medication, but they only help the symptoms and not cure this potentially deadly disorder. Through all the years of research doctors still haven’t found a cure. Having a narcoleptic episode is not in itself fatal, but if you have a sleep attack while driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery it can be.

According to WebMD these are the Symptoms or Signs of Narcolepsy:

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS): In general, EDS interferes with normal activities on a daily basis, whether or not a person with narcolepsy has sufficient sleep at night. People with EDS report mental cloudiness, a lack of energy and concentration, memory lapses, a depressed mood, and/or extreme exhaustion.

Cataplexy: This symptom consists of a sudden loss of muscle tone that leads to feelings of weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control. It can cause symptoms ranging from slurred speech to total body collapse depending on the muscles involved and is often triggered by intense emotion, for example surprise, laughter, or anger.

Hallucinations: Usually, these delusional experiences are vivid and frequently they are frightening. The content is primarily visual, but any of the other senses can be involved. These are called hypnagogic hallucinations when accompanying sleep onset and hypnopompic hallucinations when occurring during awakening.

Sleep paralysis: This symptom involves the temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. These episodes are generally brief lasting a few seconds to several minutes. After episodes end, people rapidly recover their full capacity to move and speak.

Narcolepsy is diagnosed with an extensive physical exam and several specialized tests because none of the major symptoms are exclusive to this disorder. Many other medical conditions cause excessive sleepiness such as; insomnia, restless leg syndrome, seizures and sleep apnea. Blood work, an ECG which monitors the heart and an EEG that registers brain activity can rule out some of the other medical disorders. A thorough family medical history is also essential for proper diagnosis.

The two specialized tests are usually done in a clinic or sleep lab are the polysomnogram (PSG) and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). The PSG is an overnight test that measures the patients REM sleep and can help determine if the symptoms are from another condition. The MSLT is performed during the day to measure the person’s tendency to fall asleep and whether isolated elements of REM sleep intrude during inappropriate times while awake. Also the patient will be required to take four or five short (15-20 minute) naps, scheduled two hours apart and they will be monitored to determine how quick they fall asleep. Narcoleptics have a tendency to fall asleep faster than a person without the disorder.

Although there is no cure most of the symptoms can be controlled with medication. The most common drugs prescribed are stimulants such as modafinil, dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate (Ritalin) to keep narcoleptics awake during the day. If someone is diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy the drug Xyrem helps them get a better night’s sleep allowing them to be less sleepy during the day. Antidepressants help with sleep paralysis and hallucinations.

A narcoleptic can make lifestyle changes to reduce sleep attacks by eliminating caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and heavy meals. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, taking daytime power nap and incorporating an exercise routine can manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. If you are concern about narcolepsy make an appointment with your doctor. If you are taking prescription medication and have side effects tell you doctor as he may change the dose or the type of medication you are taking. The key is to seek medical help and make the right choices to lessen the symptoms of your narcolepsy.

What It Feels Like To Have Narcolepsy*

By Jimmy Kimmel, 35, Host of Jimmy Kimmel Live
Esquire August 2003

“Truth be told, I'd rather have narcolepsy than not have it. When I get on a flight to Vegas, I'll fall asleep before the plane takes off and wake up after it's landed. I'm always very close to sleep.”[Yawns.]

“I had no idea I had it until recently. All I knew about narcolepsy was a character on Hill Street Blues, Vic Hitler the Narcoleptic Comic, who would fall asleep in the middle of his act. But I did know that every afternoon between about three and six, I would get very tired for no reason. I would doze off in meetings, watching TV, even driving. You know how when you're regular tired, your whole body is tired? With narcolepsy, just the inside of your head is tired. It's like somebody's gently sitting on your brain. You have almost no focus. All you're thinking about is not falling asleep.”

“When I was emceeing Win Ben Stein's Money, I actually fell asleep during the show a few times. I would sit on the safe over to the side and just sort of doze off. But that was probably a combination of the narcolepsy and Ben's voice. Another time I was on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My head was diving, then jerking back up. All of a sudden, this loud voice over a megaphone says, "Are you awake enough to drive that vehicle?" And I practically jumped out of my skin. It was the police, one lane over”.

“Anyway, I just always figured I wasn't getting enough sleep, so I would drink gallons of iced tea to get me through the afternoon. Finally I went to a doctor. When I told him how much iced tea I drank, he said, "What?!" He decided I was self-medicating, and he prescribed these pills called Provigil. I have a pretty mild case with no other symptoms. Some narcoleptics experience cataplexy, which is a limpness in the arms and legs. I don't have that. I'd like to, though. It sounds great.”

“I've never used my narcolepsy in my work, though I do have a dream to someday use up an entire hour of television time by sleeping. Have I been approached to be the public face of narcolepsy? No, nobody wants me associated with their groups. I hope that changes, though. I would like to be to narcolepsy what Camille Grammer is to irritable-bowel syndrome.”

-As told to Brendan Vaughan

*The interview for this article was scheduled for 11:00 A.M., April 23, 2003. It was postponed until 2:30 P.M. because Jimmy was napping.

[caption id="attachment_1608" align="alignleft" width="395" caption="Jimmy Kimmel Narcoleptic"][/caption]









Narcolepsy Network ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to individuals with narcolepsy and related sleep disorders. Our mission is to provide services to educate, advocate, support and improve awareness of this neurological sleep disorder.

Stratosphere Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Pre-conference events Thursday, October 13, 2011
Conference Sessions: Friday Morning, October 14, 2011
Through Sunday Afternoon, October 16, 2011

The content provided in Narcolepsy Facts is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hotel Guests Lose Sleep

Since I travel a lot I get a bit picky about my hotel room. Not only is the size of the bed important for a good night sleep, the noise inside as well as outside the room is equally important. Location, location, location if the room is next to the elevator you will hear the mechanics all night. If the room is at the end of hall next to the stairwell you can imagine how many times you will hear the door slam in the morning. Having a room in the middle of the hallway you might be listening to children run up and down the hall all night. Then there is the lead foot that stays up all hours in the morning stomping overhead. So where is the best room location? I prefer to be a the end of the hall, away from the elevator, across from the stairwell on the top floor. If you are lucky enough to get an upgrade, such as with Hilton Honors or Priority Points, you might get a bigger room with some additional amenities with all the comforts of home, but in a bad location. So you have to make a decision, amenities or a little noise.

[caption id="attachment_1604" align="alignright" width="309" caption="Hotel Guest Lose Sleep with Noisy Neighbors"][/caption]

But what if all the noise is coming from inside the room. It drives me crazy when you have the air conditioner on and the fan never shuts off. Don’t you think when the room gets to your desired temperature it should shut off for awhile? Yes a fan does drown out the noise from a snoring neighbor or an amorous couple, but isn’t there a better way? USA Today reported that the Crowne Plaza Hotel has a snoring monitor that patrols the hallways in some of its British hotels and is trying out snore-absorption rooms in properties throughout Europe. The use of the snore monitor actively goes around the hotel’s quiet zones to ensure guests remain undisturbed and it is an effective way to make sure everyone can sleep easy. If a guest is too loud, they will contact the front desk to call the room and give solutions for toning down the noise. The monitor may knock on their door as a last resort.

Hotels know that their business customers need a good night sleep so they can get up early to go to meetings in the morning. Hotels also know that they are the ones that give them the most repeat business and if they demand something they make their comfort a top priority. In 2011 J.D. Power and Associates North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study reported that noise was the top hotel complaint that beat out smells, bad web connections and rude hotel staff. Besides snoring and amorous couples; slamming doors, housekeeping staff, leaking faucets and revving trucks were also among the noise complaints.

What can you do to lesson the noise? Try rolling a towel at the bottom of the door or bring some ear plugs to block out the sound. If it is a mechanical sound like a dripping faucet call maintenance or ask to change rooms. If your in an upgraded room next to the elevator or have an over zealous air conditioner/heating unit or mini-fridge try some white noise, sleep-inducing music or mp3/CDs of beach waves or a rain shower.

One of my worst experiences was when I had a room with a balcony over the indoor pool. At first I thought it was great while I was having a steak dinner as I watched everyone enjoying their swim. But when it came to sleeping I tossed and turned waiting for the pool to close as I listened to the kids yelling below. Have you stayed in a hotel that had a loud party down the hall? No matter what you do or complain about because a paid party especially a wedding party brings in a lot more money to the Hotel than you ever could. So maybe the best thing to do is get up and put on your party clothes. Can you say ”Wedding Crasher?”

The content provided in Hotel Guests Lose Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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