Sleep Aids: Awesome or Addictive?

Why are Sleep Aids Such a Huge Industry?

Think about it: Is there anything more terrible than being exhausted, knowing that you have to wake up in a few hours, and are still unable to fall asleep?  What kind of twisted trick is nature pulling on us when this happens?  It would be so much easier if our brains could just tell our bodies what to do.  Enter sleep aids, our pharmaceutical answer to insomnia.

Alas, at least for me, my mind control doesn’t extend to ordering my body (and brain) to shut down and fall asleep.  However, since we live in the age of quick fixes, many people choose to rely on sleep aids to get them that elusive rest.  Do I use them?  No.  My personality is EXTREMELY addictive.  Some examples of what I’ve been addicted to?  Cigarettes, watermelon, crunchy tacos, baby oil lotion, the list goes on and on.  The only reason why I’m not in rehab is because I know that once I start something (like sleeping pills) that may be slightly addictive, I won’t stop.  But, don’t let my shortcomings preclude you from benefiting from the miracles of modern science, and from getting a complete night’s sleep.

The fact is that modern over the counter (OTC) sleep aids are very safe, and don’t foster addiction in normal people.  They are mostly antihistamines (like traditional allergy medicines), and are harmless to use for a short amount of time.  Of course, everything has side effects, but if you weigh some dry mouth with not sleeping for two days, dry mouth doesn’t seem that bad.  There are also natural supplement type aids, such as melatonin and valerian.

Info About Sleep Aids

  • Everyone recommends that you speak with your doctor before starting any new pill, even the OTC ones.  Do this especially if you are taking other medications, or have a chronic illness.
  • Follow directions.  Follow the dosage information, and only use it for the time period specified.  They aren’t long term solutions.  If you are still having problems sleeping after two weeks, you may have a more serious medical problem, and should see your doctor.
  • Your body builds up resistance to antihistamines when used continuously.  This means that the sleeping pill will not be effective after a while.  See your doctor.  Seriously.
  • Some sleep aids can make you wake up groggy or still tired.  Not all pills have the same active ingredients.
  • Melatonin and valerian are also available OTC, and are considered supplements.  These also have side effects, and can interfere with other medications, so check with your doctor.
  • Don’t take any of these pills with alcohol, or use before driving, or taking a bath or shower.  Alcohol can react with the chemicals in the pill, and can have deadly results.  Furthermore, alcohol actually impedes good sleep.  As for driving or bathing, the whole point of sleeping pills is to make you drowsy.  Falling asleep at the wheel usually ends up in an accident, and falling asleep while bathing usually ends up in drowning or falling down.  Just take the pill, and lay down in your nice, safe bed.

If you need something stronger, don’t be afraid to go to your doctor for a prescription medication.  Just make sure that you’re following dosage instructions, and that you only use them for as long as you need them.

My final point is that sometimes insomnia is a symptom of something else.  Not necessarily disease (although that is a possibility), but maybe something else that’s easily fixed.  Try changing things around: decrease caffeine, increase physical activity (but not before bed), try some meditation before bed time.  If your mind is racing, try to write all of your thoughts down, or find out the source of the stress in your life.  Stop taking naps in the daytime, get yourself on a regular sleep-wake schedule.  And finally…wait for it…maybe your insomnia is because your mattress is uncomfortable.  You can get better, undisturbed sleep on a new mattress such as a Comforpedic.

Sleep aids can help you sleep better, wake up refreshed, and get over the hump of insomnia.  Just be aware of your usage, and if your problem is deeper than just not being able to sleep for a night or two.

Why a Mattress Set Isn’t As Expensive As You Think: Part 2

I know, the last blog was a little dry, not everyone gets as excited about mattress components as I do.  However, this blog will knock your socks off.  For all of you that think that mattresses are overpriced, read on.

What I did was to compare a few different products that almost all of us have: a car (I Car or Mattress Set?evaluated both new and used), a cell phone, and a TV.  I didn’t go for the most expensive, I tried to find the average costs online (or I estimated), and then broke down the cost of the actual item over the expected life.  Please note that I did NOT include extras like gas, car insurance or registration, cell phone plans, or cable.  I also did not include any finance charges (which we all know can really get ya on the back end, especially for the cars).  Check it out:

New Car

Average Price: $30,748 (according to for 2012)

Average Time Kept: 6 years (according to

Average Trade-In Value after 6 years: $10,000 (according to me, estimating, with my not so vast knowledge about cars)

Average Time Spent in the Car Per Day: 2.5 hours (according to

Cost PER HOUR for that car, according to the figures above: $3.79

Used Car (up to 8 years old)

Average Price: $14,375 (according to National Automobile Dealers Association for 2013)

Average Time Kept: 6 years (according to

Average Trade-In Value after 6 years: $0 (I’m assuming that you’re driving it to death)

Average Time Spent in the Car Per Day: 2.5 hours (according to

Cost PER HOUR for that car, according to the figures above: $2.63

Cell Phone

Average Price: $200 (I’m assuming that you’re going for the new agreement discount price)

Average Time Kept: 2 years

Average Time Spent on Phone Per Day: 1.5 hours (according to, including gaming, texting, etc.)

Cost PER HOUR for that phone: $0.19


Average Price: $749 (for a 42”, at Best Buy)

Average Time Kept: 7 years (both LCD and LED last from 4-10 years, depending on quality.  Since I’m factoring in a middle of the road model, I figure it will last in the middle of the road for lifespan.)

Average Time Spent Watching TV per Day: 4 hours (that is ridiculous)

Average Price Per Hour: $0.07

 Mattress Set

Average Price: $899 (this depends on where you are, and what sales you find.  I’d say that you can get a decent bed pretty much anywhere for $899-$1000)

Average Time Kept: 10 years (this is according to me, and how long the mattress is really supposed to last)

Average Time Spent in Bed per Day: 8 hours (perfect world, and all)

Average Price Per Hour: $0.03

 three cents for a mattress set

What?  Three cents an hour?  What else can you get for three cents an hour?  Even if you DOUBLED the price of the bed to $1799 (which is a pretty snazzy bed), you’d still be at $0.06 per hour, which is less than your TV, cell phone, and car.

I’ll give you my ideas on why we’re so cheap when it comes to our mattress set, and not with other items in our life:

  • Who sees your mattress set?  Um, no one.  Who sees your car, your TV, or your cell phone?  Everyone that matters.  It’s a status thing, and that’s ok.  I’ll admit that my car is less than 8 years old, I have a smartphone, and we have a pretty nice TV.  However, I also have a great bed to sleep on.  No one wants to be ridiculed for driving a ’72 Datsun, or for using a flip phone from 6 years ago.
  • We only go out to buy these things a few times in our lifetimes.  You’re used to the price that you paid for your mattress set ten years ago, and haven’t monitored prices since then.  You go into a store, and see that the price has DOUBLED.  Wow.  But think, what did you pay for a gallon of gas ten years ago?  I paid $1.25, and now it’s almost $4.00, which is more than triple.  We don’t notice because it’s only a few pennies per time we go to the pump, not all at one time.
  • In our society, sleep is an afterthought.  It’s not exciting.  It’s something to put off when there’s something better going on.  We’ll spend a ton of money for memory-making experiences, or for luxurious rest and rejuvenation, but we ignore what our body needs most: restful sleep.  It’s become kind of a badge of honor to tell how little sleep we got last night, or how much work we got done in a small amount of time because we didn’t sleep.  Aren’t energy drinks a billion dollar industry now?

old mattress setThat all being said, this is why you need to rethink your ideas about the price of a new mattress set:

  • Of all the stuff that I analyzed, a mattress is the ONLY THING THAT AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH.  It affects how you feel each day, your energy level, your body repairing itself, your immune system, even your weight.
  • If you buy something better now, you will get paid back with two benefits: you won’t have to worry about replacing it for quite a few years, and you’ll be more comfortable and supported on a daily basis.
  • You can live longer without food and water than you can without sleep.  Think about that.

So, before you buy the latest technology or upgrade that car that’s still running great, but has a few dings, think about your mattress set.  Your money might be spent more wisely in your bedroom.

Disagree?  Feel free to rant at me in the comments, I welcome the challenge!!


Sleep Facts – Moms sleeps almost 20{d066f20f781a5b527d275b31e1f8758c7870657f3e5775941a299b25a4f5af5a} LESS than Dads!

As we age, we need less and less sleep to be able to function normally.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns need the most, up to eighteen hours per day.  Infants from three to eleven months need about fourteen to fifteen hours, toddlers need twelve to fourteen.  Skip ahead to children up to age ten, and they still need ten to eleven hours.  Teens need at least eight, up to nine, and adults need between seven and nine hours.

For kids and teens, they need this larger quantity of sleep for a few reasons: first they are growing.  Children do the most growing at night, while they are asleep.  It’s also the time when muscles repair themselves, and cells regenerate.  Secondly, the mind processes all the learning that was done during the day at night.  Not getting enough sleep can affect short term memory, which in turn can affect test scores and school performance.  Those late night cramming sessions may not be as beneficial as we all thought that they were!  Thirdly, have you been around a kid that hasn’t gotten enough sleep?  Protect your own sanity, and make sure that your kids are getting the sleep that they need.

Not getting enough sleep

Now, adults.  Those of us who don’t sleep enough have a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and depression.  There is an increased risk of getting into an accident, both in the car and at work, and a decreased ability to pay attention and remember things.

We live in a society that seems to reward lack of sleep.  In my home, it seems like no one ever sleeps well, and we are always trying to one-up each other about who slept less.  It seems to me that you are looked down upon if you sleep too much (which may only be eight hours), and you’re considered to be lazy and less productive.

It may be that there is too much stimulation, too many things to do and check up on.  Most of us are working more than 40 hours per week, sometimes from home.  We need to catch up with our kids, our housework, our email, Facebook, and twitter.  I know that in my home, I often don’t get a moment to myself until my kids are in bed and asleep, and this can sometimes be as late as 10pm.  Although I’m tired, I still want to respond to an email, enjoy the peace and quiet, or watch a movie with my husband.  I feel like I’ve earned that relaxation time, and am willing to forgo sleep to be able to wind down.  Check out this infographic, it’s the story of my life:

Moms sleeps almost 20{d066f20f781a5b527d275b31e1f8758c7870657f3e5775941a299b25a4f5af5a} LESS than Dad’s

This blog is great at telling you what you should be getting, but is all this information going to change your sleeping habits in the real world?  Probably not.  So, instead of telling you what your body needs, I’m going to tell you how to make the most of what you’re already getting:

  • Buy a new bed if you need to, one that supports you well and relieves pressure.  Pick one that dampens motion disturbance, and is a large enough size (like a king for two people).  My blanket recommendation, regardless of how you sleep and what size and age you are is the Renewed Energy by Comforpedic.  I know, I’m predictable.
  • For that “me” time at the end of the night, turn off the TV, the laptop, and the cell phone.  Pick up a book, or take a bath.  These activities can help you fall asleep easier and faster, rather than keep you awake.
  • Try to change your kid’s sleep timers.  If they have trouble getting up in the morning (or sleeping until noon on the weekends), put them to bed earlier at night.  This can be hard with teens, but have them keep a sleep journal, detailing (honestly) how much they slept, how easy it was to get up, and how they felt during the day.  If your toddler gets cranky in the afternoon, re-introduce the nap, or move up bed time.
  • Stay away from sugary snacks in the evening, even that bowl of ice cream.  For both kids and adults, it can keep you awake longer than you want to be.

Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to help you get a better night’s sleep, chances are that they’re sleep deprived too.  It’s for your health, your longevity, and your attitude.

Amazing Facts on Sleep :


25 Crazy Facts About Sleep

Healthiest Sleeping Positions – Whats yours?

10 Interesting Craziest Facts about Sleep – Take a look