Sleep Aids

Most over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids contain diphenhydramine. This drug often causes constipation, confusion, dizziness, and next-day drowsiness. These are particularly bad side effects for older adults. OTC sleep aids also lead to impaired balance, poor coordination and poor driving performance the next day. The long time use of these drugs is linked to an increased risk of dementia.

The packaging says it is not ‘habit forming.’ But long term use of diphenhydramine can create psychological dependence. Psychological dependence is what happens on the night you do not take it and lie there for hours trying to sleep; your mind is convinced that you have to take a pill in order to sleep. How else are you to get to sleep?

Sedative-hypnotics are prescribed by physicians for sleep disorders. One-half of all sedative-hypnotics are prescribed for older adults. All have side effects that include falls, confusion, depression, and dependence. Best to avoid these medications.

A geriatric psychiatrist recently recommended playing yoga tapes at bedtime. At the end of most yoga sessions, there is a cool down period in which you consciously relax. Counting sheep and reading the phone book are substitutes, of course. But listening to relaxation tapes is safe and effective.

Advertisements

About kaypaggi

I am an Aging Life Care Professional/ geriatric care manager in private practice. I have been active in eldercare consulting since 1994. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, a National Certified Gerontological Counselor (the only one in north Texas), and a Care Manager, Certified. I have been a certified Mediator since 1993, and recently achieved certification as an ElderCare Mediator.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s