Monday, August 26, 2013

The Daytime Risks of Nighttime Sleep Aids

This month The New York Times published an article on important current research into the safety of sleep medications.

The safety and effectiveness for falling asleep is always studied prior to being put on the market (which doesn't mean risks don't come to light later). The newer research is also studying to what degree functioning is affected the morning after.

To Judge Sleep Aids, U.S. Looks at Drowsy Driving in the Morning, by Katie Thomas. She talks about research results and some pretty harrowing statistics. I'll let you read those for yourself. She also talks about some strong steps the FDA has taken, including:
  • Rejecting Merck's latest sleep drug because people had difficulty driving the next day.
  • Requiring that the dosage of Ambien and its generic form zolpiderm be cut in half for women.
  • Warning that the sedative effects of allergy medication Benadryl - often purchased over the counter for use as a sleep aid - can persist into the next day.
Have you read the "don't operate heavy machinery" warning so often that you ignore it? My advice is to think again.

If you are interested in an alternative to prescribed or over-the-counter sleep aids, many chronic sleep problems respond well to neurofeedback.  As a NeurOptimal® neurofeedback trainer for ten years now, I've seen some terrific results, both professionally and personally (which is how I became a trainer).

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
New York Neurofeedback


  1. I've taken 10mg ambien which acts for 4hours for years then took a break and am now back on it. If not for this drug, I would not work because I am nocturnal. This is the only drug that helps me. I do NOT like extended release 8hr sleep aids. Trazadone was very very dangerous to me as I could not wake up until 3pm the next day and they prescribe that crap like candy. THAT was a dangerous drug that is not classified as dangerous for some weird reason by the FDA. Lay off drugs that work well and are NOT dangerous for the vast percentage of us and target those that make people into zombies the next day = long acting drugs.

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