Continued from page 7 Judy Garland died of barbiturate overdoses, and barbiturates contributed to Elvis Presley’s death. As a result of the government paying closer attention to the sleeping pill industry in the 1970s, a safer family of sedatives emerged, called benzodiazepines. Valium and Xanax are examples. Benzodiazepines are safer than their predecessors, but they also can be addictive and have harsh side effects. They act quickly and therefore are also used as recreational drugs, commonly known as “bennys.”
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Many insomniacs have begun questioning the wisdom of using drugs with known side effects to help them sleep, and things are turning full circle with the resurgence of natural sleep aids, including some foods. The tech industry is also playing a huge part in helping people sleep. We’ll look at that in another article soon. After 2,400 years of use, St. John’s Wort still works, not only to treat depression, but to help you sleep. Other herbal sleep aids include vitex agnus castus (chaste tree), valerian (which was used in ancient Greece), lemon balm, and the very popular chamomile tea, which will also calm an upset stomach and boost your immune system. Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the brain.
The May 2014 issue of An Apple a Day magazine.