For more information visit my sleep news, articles and reviews site.

Looking to get better sleep? It is not only the amount of sleep you get in a night, but the quality of that sleep. There are many different stages of sleep, and to get better sleep at night you should consider the amount of REM, and deep sleep you get. It has been shown that getting better sleep during the REM cycle improves mood and energy levels, whereas lacking it leaves people irritable and often drowsy. Lacking in deep sleep can have a similar effect, you may have experienced this before; an instance where you got your regular seven or eight hours but did not feel refreshed. The question is "How do we get better sleep?" You must address physical and psychological factors which may be keeping you from getting better sleep. A poor diet or lack of exercise can be damaging to the sleep cycle. If you cut down on fatty foods and increase your exercise, you may notice you are getting not only more but better sleep. Dealing with stress and anxiety will also help you get better sleep. Even though you might not be aware of it, being anxious can keep you from falling into a deep sleep. For both physical and psychological health, herbal supplements are available to help you get better sleep.

Many people recognize the heavily marketed product Xanax, but very few know the chemical name alprazolam. Usually used for the treatment of anxiety, alprazolam is sometimes used in the treatment of insomnia as well because of the effect high levels of anxiety have on sleep. While it is the first thing people think to try when suffering from anxiety related insomnia (and sometimes the alprazolam is the first thing doctors recommend as well) it should only be used as a last resort because of the side effects and dependency issues. Alprazolam gives an immediate and euphoric feeling to many of its users, and this also can result in addiction. For anxiety related insomnia, there are self relaxation techniques and herbal supplements which are far more effective than a lot of people give credit to and should be considered before the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Alprazolam can cause hallucination, loss of sex drive, blurred vision and many, many other things and should be considered your last resort.

If you are thinking of using Ativan think again! Even by the standards of other prescription drugs it is dangerous, and people using Ativan require constant monitoring of kidney and liver function to ensure that it is not causing permanent damage to the body. Ativan is prescribed all too often, both for anxiety and sleep problems, but the prescription of a pharmaceutical drug like Ativan makes the assumption that your anxiety and sleeping problems are being caused by a chemical imbalance when there are many other factors which could be affecting you. Before resorting to the use of Ativan or another benzodiazepine you should try a combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy and/or herbal remedies. All of these are obviously side effect and dependency free methods of dealing with anxiety and insomnia, whereas Ativan can lead to addiction, dependency and permanent damage to the body.


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