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The Sleep Cycle and the Truth about Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids

During the night, your sleep follows a predictable pattern, moving back and forth between deep restorative sleep (deep sleep) and more alert stages and dreaming (REM sleep). Together, the stages of REM and non-REM sleep form a complete sleep cycle that repeats until you wake up.

Getting good, restorative sleep is not just a matter of spending enough hours in bed. The amount of time you spend in each stage of sleep matters. The most damaging effects of sleep deprivation are from inadequate deep sleep. Deep sleep is when the body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead. This stage of sleep is instrumental in maintaining your health, stimulating growth and development, repairing muscles and tissues, and boosting your immune system. Waking up refreshed and energized depends on the quality of deep sleep each night.

Just as deep sleep renews the body, REM sleep renews the mind. REM sleep plays a key role in learning and memory. During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters, including feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that boost your mood during the day.

During the night, your sleep follows this predictable pattern … except when it doesn’t.

One-third of U.S. adults say they don’t get enough sleep to function at their best, and many desperately sleep-deprived individuals are reaching for sleeping pills as a solution. In 2008, Americans filled more than 56 million prescriptions for sleeping pills and spent more than $600 million on over-the-counter sleep aids. Even with millions spent on trying to get a good night’s sleep, the effectiveness of sleep aids is called into question.

Do Sleep Aids Really Work?

The latest finding on sleep aids comes from a study that should have come out more than a decade ago. The industry-sponsored study, submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995, evaluated the effectiveness of over-the-counter sleep aids, such as Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM. The drugs, a combination of acetaminophen (a painkiller) and diphenhydramine citrate (a sleep aid), were found to work only slightly better than a placebo. The FDA is now ruling the findings insufficient as the study is 15 years old.

Dr. Charles Ganley, director of the Office of Nonprescription Products at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said in a letter to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, reported by CBS News: “FDA has reviewed the submission and concluded the study results do not demonstrate a contribution of both ingredients to the efficacy of the combination for OTC relief of occasional sleeplessness when associated with minor aches and pains.”

Although the products have been on the market for years, there is no explanation for why this news is coming out so late. The fact remains statistics of sleep deprived Americans stay the same regardless of what drugs are available. In 2007, an analysis of sleep studies financed by the National Institutes of Health found sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata reduced the average time to fall asleep by just under 13 minutes in comparison with placebos or fake pills.

Are the Side-Effects and Risks Worth 13 Extra Minutes?

Knowing that sleep aids reduce the average time it takes to fall asleep is less than 13 minutes, is it really worth it? Because many OTC sleep aids contain acetaminophen (Tylenol type products), especially if they advertise pain relief as well, there are definite risks and side effects involved. The NUMBER ONE cause of acute liver failure in the United States is taking too much acetaminophen. Considering how many over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain acetaminophen, it’s very easy to do without knowing you are putting yourself at risk for liver damage or liver failure. This risk is important to be aware of, especially if you take Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM or other acetaminophen-containing sleep aids on a regular basis.

Dependency is also a side effect of taking sleep aids. Because the drugs do the work for the body, it disturbs the body’s natural rhythms. With dependency, the body requires increasing dosages to fall asleep. The side effects that play a part in everyday life, however, are those that impact our waking hours. Daytime drowsiness, feeling groggy and irritable are all part of the sleep aid “hangover” that come with falling asleep just a little bit faster at night.

What Is The Solution?

There are several simple things to do to get a great night’s sleep.

• Make your bedroom dark, cool and quiet.
• Turn off the television 1 hour before bedtime.
• Reserve your bedroom for sleep – not work.
• Get enough exercise and eat a healthy diet during the day.

The team at SRS also recommends adding these all natural products to your sleep solution. Enjoy a great night’s sleep with the SLEEP™ holographic disc! New scientific, all-natural sleep technology helps you to;

• Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
• Experience Better, Deeper Sleep Patterns
• Decrease Daytime Fatigue
• Balance Hormone Levels
• Reduce Physical, Mental and Emotional Stress
• Increase Concentration
• Alleviate Mood Swings

The SRS holographic disks work with your body’s own energetic pathways to activate optimal sleep patterns. The safe, non-habit forming peel-and-stick discs are completely drug-free and herb-free allowing you to wake up refreshed and energetic not groggy and irritable.

Nighttime Recovery is an amino acid recovery herbal supplement to help you enhance the body’s natural processes that take place during the sleep cycle. With a unique combination of adaptogens and other nutrients from around the world, Nighttime Recovery allows bodies to more effectively respond to the demands of physical activity. It naturally supports the production of hormones that manage a healthy weight, enhances energy production and supports metabolism.

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