Hit the Hay

For many people, getting to sleep or even getting back to sleep can be a struggle. We spoke with pharmacist Anne Friar and Ayurvedic practitioner Sunny Rose at Pharmaca in Albuquerque to find out about the range of solutions available to help the sleepless get more rest. From time-tested herbal formulas to doctor-recommended prescriptions, Pharmaca can help you conquer short-term sleeplessness and chronic insomnia.

Sunny: Insomnia is often a result of stress, worry and having too much on the mind. I like to start by recommending remedies that gently relax the nerves-ones that don’t interact or have side effects. Bach’s Rescue Sleep is great because people can use it if they wake up in the middle of the night and it won’t make them drowsy the next day. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go to herbal combinations like Deep Sleep from Herbs, Etc. with things like valerian, lemon balm, poppy and passionflower.

Anne: Ambien or its generic versions and Trazodone are the two prescriptions we see most often for insomnia. For people who are prescribed Ambien, I tell them not to take more than the recommended dose and to avoid drinking alcohol. It’s a pretty quickly metabolized drug, so it’s best to have 6-8 hours of sleep time to avoid the “hangover” the next morning. Ambien is really only recommended for occasional sleeplessness, a few times a week, but a lot of people start taking it every night. Because it can be mildly addictive, we can advise on alternative options so people don’t become reliant.

Sunny: I try to recommend melatonin in moderation because people can become habituated to it and need increasing amounts. In certain cases, I suggest Natural Health International’s Herbatonin, because it is a low-dose, plant-based melatonin that is safer for the long term. I also like Pharmaca brand Sleep Formula, which combines an herbal blend with melatonin-perfect for taking during an especially stressful period or for jet lag.

I see more people with insomnia than almost anything else. Being an Ayurvedic practitioner, I also encourage people to try restorative yoga and good breathing practices. In my opinion these are some of the most important things you can do.

Speak with one of Pharmaca’s pharmacists or licensed practitioners for advice and information that suits your specific needs. And enjoy getting your zzzs.

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