Skip to comments.A Sleep Aid Without the Side Effects
Posted on 04/09/2013 6:43:34 PM PDT by neverdem
Insomniacs desperate for some zzzs may one day have a safer way to get them. Scientists have developed a new sleep medication that has induced sleep in rodents and monkeys without apparently impairing cognition, a potentially dangerous side effect of common sleep aids. The discovery, which originated in work explaining narcolepsy, could lead to a new class of drugs that help people who don't respond to other treatments.
Between 10% and 15% of Americans chronically struggle with getting to or staying asleep. Many of them turn to sleeping pills for relief, and most are prescribed drugs, such as zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta), that slow down the brain by binding to receptors for GABA, a neurotransmitter that's involved in mood, cognition, and muscle tone. But because the drugs target GABA indiscriminately, they can also impair cognition, causing amnesia, confusion, and other problems with learning and memory, along with a number of strange sleepwalking behaviors, including wandering, eating, and driving while asleep. This has led many researchers to seek out alternative mechanisms for inducing sleep.
Neuroscientist Jason Uslaner of Merck Research Laboratories in West Point, Pennsylvania, and colleagues decided to tap into the brain's orexin system. Orexin (also known as hypocretin) is a protein that controls wakefulness and is missing in people with narcolepsy. Past studies successfully induced sleep by inhibiting orexin, but had not looked into its effects on cognition. The researchers developed a new orexin-inhibiting compound called DORA-22 and confirmed that it could induce sleep in rats and rhesus monkeys as effectively as the GABA-modulating drugs.
Then the researchers went about testing the drugs' effects on the animals' cognition. They measured the rats' cognition and memory by assessing the rodents' ability to recognize objects. They presented the rats with a new object—say, a cone or a sphere—that the rats then sniffed and explored. Then they took the object away for an hour. After that hour, the rats were exposed to a new object and the one they'd already gotten to know; if the rats remembered, they spent less time checking out the familiar object. With the primates, Uslaner's team tested their ability to match colors on a touchscreen and to pay attention to and identify the origin of a flashing light. In all the cases, the researchers found the GABA-modulating sleeping pills caused both the rats and the primates to respond more slowly and less accurately. Monkeys taking the memory and attention tests, for example, were 20% less accurate on the highest dose of each of the GABA-modulating drugs. But DORA-22 had no such effect on cognition, the team reports today in Science Translational Medicine.
"We were very excited," Uslaner says. "Folks who take sleep medications need to be able to perform cognitive tasks when they awake, and this [compound] could help them do so without impairment."
Although DORA-22 has not yet been tested in humans, it holds tremendous promise for helping people suffering from sleep disorders, says Emmanuel Mignot, a sleep researcher with the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. "This study is encouraging and exciting, because there's good reason to believe it would work differently from what we've used in the past," says Mignot, who helped discover the link between orexin (or its absence) and narcolepsy. "Not every drug works for everyone, so it's really, really good news to have a potential new drug on the horizon."
Eat a spoonful of honey right before you go to bed. Go ahead, try it for a few days.
A CD of Biden speeches ?
I find the radio station on Direct TV (channel 856) to be a great sleep aid. Soft music. The station is called “New Age”. Anybody else listen to it?
I don’t listen to that, but I do have New Age relaxation music on my IPod and listen to that when I have trouble sleeping. I also like Celestial Seasons Sleepytime tea. It relaxes me so much and helps me to sleep without waking up feeling lethargic the next morning,. I drank it every day in the weeks leading up to the election.
Great music! Love it to sleep or when writing/working.
Reminds me of the music they played on subliminal tapes.
Back in the 1980s friend of mine who was overweight would listen to a weight loss tape in his car. Unfortunately he once listened to the self-hypnotic side and not the subliminal side and he was driving. He fell asleep and crashed his car. Major accident. He ended up in the hospital for several weeks, lost feet of his intestines. In the end, he lost about 100 pounds which was a few pounds below his targeted weight. True story!
I used to use Ambien which left me groggy in the morning. Melatonin works just a well, is cheaper and doesn’t have me walking around in the middle of the night fast asleep.
And ambien too.. At the start it was touted as non-tolerance and non-addictive.
I tturn on a rain app on my kindle with a low rumble of thunder in the background — works very well
Awwww Hell Naw!!
I have a terrible problem with insomnia. My body is tired, but my mind just won’t slow down. A melatonin helps me get to sleep, but doesn’t keep me asleep. About two in the morning I am wide awake, take a Benydryl and read FR. That helps. I refuse to use any prescription drugs for sleep.
Really! They give wierd dreams? In the summer I take one a day because I'm allergic to bee stings and someone told me that it's a good thing to take as it may lesson the effects of the bee sting.
When I was trying to stop smoking the doctor gave me those pills to help you stop (Chantex(sp) or something like that) those gave me wierd dreams. I stopped taking them and went to E-Cigs.
I didn't like that at all.
Eat a spoonful of honey right before you go to bed. Go ahead, try it for a few days.
No sugar rush?
The pharmaceuticl industry again assumes that we are stupid.
They have substitued the phrase ‘addicitve’ for ‘dependent’. ;-)
my wife and the kids nearly every night, works like a charm
Generic (store brand) benydryl. Great nights sleep and NO sniffles or hives!
I rarely have trouble falling asleep. I’ve tried counting down from 100 and some nights I never get to 85.
My problem is I sleep soundly for 4-5 hours and them BAM, wide awake. I don’t feel tired. I usually get up and read hundreds of posts on FR until it’s time to get ready for work.
But later in the day, I feel it. The next night I sleep like a baby, but rarely much more than 6-7 hours. This cycle can’t be good for me. What I need is something that is timed-released to knock me out just before I wake up. If I go to sleep at 10, some nights I am up for good by 2 or 3. Crazy!
Or ‘habit forming’ heheh.
I had heard that advice about raw honey and I was skeptical but thought it couldn’t hurt. I tried it and I was amazed at how well it worked. The explanation was that it gave the liver something to ‘work’ on during sleep which causes the release of melatonin. A depleted liver causes the release of cortisol which is a stress hormone.
Whatever you do, don’t mix ambien and alcohol. You might shoot yourself in the hand and have no memory of it.
Use raw honey only! Part of an article pasted below:
McInnes concluded that honeys potential role in restorative sleep may have implications for improving long-term health. He reviewed three possible mechanisms behind the recommendation of taking honey at bedtime:
1) honey provides enough glycogen (stored energy) for the liver over eight hours of sleep, which lessens the early morning release of cortisol and adrenalin (stress hormones);
2) honey stabilizes blood sugar levels;
3) honey contributes to the release of melatonin, the hormone required for recovery and rebuilding of body tissues during rest.
Honeys potential role in the suppression of the release of stress hormones and the promotion of restorative hormones has major health implications for a society suffering from a habit of inadequate sleep.
Thank you very much.
Correct! Thanks for pointing that out. Use RAW and UNFILTERED honey only.
Thank you, christianhomeschoolmommaof3.
Get stuff by Dan Gibson if you have Pandora. Nature sounds, birds, water, thunderstorms. Very nice.
GABA itself is sleep inducing, w/o side effects. 500 mg just before going to bed. And if something does wake you during the night, take another 500 mg when you go back to bed. For many people they will be asleep in the next 15 minutes or so.
It is very dangerous to mess with the GABA receptor sites. This can cause long term problems. Especially as we age. GABA receptor sites can be ‘permanently’ blocked.
Having read down the posts, I also agree with the ‘spoonful of honey’ before going to bed...for the reasons stated in the posts.
You are both welcome.
Do not take as tea other wise you will be up half the night swilling mouthwash to get rid of the taste.
But in pills or capsule form it works great.
I agree. Safe, effective and non-addictive. IMHO, time release is best.
Very interesting about honey — new information to me.
I have been using up to 10 mg of melatonin — including time release — definitely helps but still will wake up and stay awake way too early.
Diphenhydramine (generic Benedryl) helps as well but lasts only three hours. I must metabolize it quickly. Even so, it seems to “come back” like 10 AM and make me groggy - not good.
Same story with the antihistimine sleep-aid doxylamine succinate — somewhat stronger for me than Benedryl but pretty much the same story. I don’t want to be comatose, just asleep until the proper time.
So back to honey — the link with cortisol (stress hormone) makes perfect sense. I really do feel stressed out when lying there not sleeping. In fact, that is the most tiring part of the day when you can’t sleep.
So does “RAW and UNFILTERED” honey have to be purchased out at the bee farm or can you find it in stores?
Melatonin or Low Dose Naltroxene works great.
2 drops lavender essential oil.
100% natural and you’ll sleep so deeply that your dreams will be like something out of: “The Teachings of Don Juan”.
My thanks, too.
Good stuff, but does it ever give you wild dreams?
Your grocery store may actually have the Raw and Unfiltered kind, check the labels. Otherwise, there is a Honey Locator on this website: (scroll down a bit)
Try mullein tea.
Mullein is a common, easily identifiable weed with a long herbal history.
The FDA judges it safe, though doesn’t evaluate any health claims for it.
Personally, Ive found it a great expectorant and a mild sleep aid.
You are welcome. As per your question, you can find it in many places. I buy mine at the health food store in the winter and at the farmer’s market in the summer. Some grocery chains carry it in their natural food sections but it is more expensive. Raw honey is safe for diabetics because it does not spike your insulin like processed honey.