Wednesday, January 6, 2016

John Stamos opens a can of worms about Ambien

Actor John Stamos recently described his nightmarish experience being addicted to and quitting the sleep drug Ambien in an interview with Howard Stern.

Stamos described how Ambien impaired his thinking, memory and ability to work, and said it was easier for him to give up heavy drinking than to quit Ambien.

The strong potential addiction and other frightening side effects (including severe allergiic/anaphylactic reaction, memory loss, anxiety, and sleep-driving, -cooking and even -intercourse) are inconvenient little truths that manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis would probably like to sweep under the rug.

But Stamos’ candid statements are raising a new awareness in a very public way.

Here are some other “hidden truths” about Ambien:

It’s designed for “short-term” relief from insomnia
This is a joke.
How many people do you think use a sleep drug on just a “short-term” basis, as in a few weeks?
And what happens during that short-term usage?  Does their chronic insomnia magically disappear, never to return?
Or do they become slaves to the drug, unable to sleep without it?

It’s never been tested for more than 4-5 weeks of use.
Anyone taking it for longer than 35 days is a human guinea pig, period.

It hasn’t been studied in pregnant women.
But it has certainly been taken by many. 
Plus it hasn’t been proven safe for use in children, but that hasn’t stopped it from being prescribed, especially to teens.

It can worsen depression.
When used by patients with depression, Ambien can increase the risk of suicidal ideation and tendencies.
And the most obvious one of all…

Inducing sleep with a drug does absolutely nothing to address the underlying cause of insomnia!
Chronic insomnia can be the result of several factors, and forcing sleep with a drug without considering why the insomnia is occurring to begin with does nothing but guarantee you will be a drug company customer for a good long time.
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, it can make a tremendous difference when you look at what might be causing it and do something about it!
Here are some thing to consider:

Address stress and unresolved issues
Stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol) lower your body's levels of serotonin and melatonin, which are two important neurotransmitters involved in relaxation and sleep.

If you’re stressed then regular exercise (with your doctor’s OK), counseling, prayer, meditation, aromatherapy, deep breathing, acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga can all help. 

Plus if you’ve gone through a tragic event or have unresolved issues based on something that happened to you, those can certainly impact your ability to sleep.  A good therapist can help you work through everything. 

Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol in the evening
Caffeinated drinks (like coffee and soda) and alcohol are both common drinks to sip in the evening before going to bed, but they’re also the worst sleep inhibitors on the planet.  

Plus sugar is a culprit too. 

Sugar can trigger elevated cortisol levels, and since cortisol is one of your body’s “fight or flight reaction” hormones, that can hamper your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and/or wake up refreshed. 

Restless legs and cramps
Many people lose sleep from muscle cramps or restless legs.

If that includes you, consider taking 250 mg. of magnesium at night, plus 400-800 IUs of vitamin E each day.

Read medication package inserts
Certain medications like bronchodilators and antidepressants can trigger insomnia. 

If you are on any kind of medication, check the package insert to see if insomnia is a side effect and if so, talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Consider fish oil supplements
Studies have shown that a higher level of the Omega-3 EFA Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with better sleep…unfortunately our typical processed/fast food diets are anemic when it comes to providing proper levels of Omega-3 EFAs. 

But you can easily help turn that around with a quality fish oil formula that contains the crucial DHA, as well as its “partner” in brain and cardiovascular health—Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). 

VitalMega-3 is your ticket to making sure your body has the Omega-3 EFAs it so desperately needs. 

VitalMega-3 provides 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in a daily two-capsule serving, including the all-important EPA and DHA in the 3:2 ratio recommended by experts.

Get your hormones tested
In the years leading up to and into menopause, many women suffer sleep disturbances including chronic insomnia due to the significant hormonal changes taking place in their bodies.

If that includes you, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may be a big help.

In health reports from the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical and Stanford University, it’s been stated that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can have long-term health benefits--including relief from menopausal-related sleep problems!
When you address what may be behind your problems with insomnia, a whole new world of peaceful, restful sleep can open up for you!


  1. I wondered why having any kind of sugared drink in the hour before bed would always cause foot and leg cramps.

  2. I see you touched on bio identical hormones for women. I have asked my doctor who pooh-poohed such an notion. If there was a doctor on the East Coast that would prescribe bio identical I would go! The only doctor I have found is on the West Coast in Oregon and that is too far to go for an appt. I live in Central New York. If anyone knows of bio ID doctor, please post! I will check back to see if anyone answers!

    1. Did you ask Sherry? (-:

    2. Dr. Banerjee in Richmond, VA - awesome doc!

    3. Just wanted to add, lots of doctors use ID hormones, and some doctors give ID hormone shots but I'm not sure I would feel safe with those. Dr. Banerjee prescribes a cream (which is made up in a local pharmacy and mailed to me) and she monitors my hormone levels regularly, very important.

    4. bio-ID, not ID…..

    5. Sherry highly recommends Suzanne Somers' book "Ageless" for more information. In addition, Dr. Salerno's practice in Manhattan, The Salerno Center ( is an outstanding provider of this service. 

  3. I take a miniscule amount of Ambien 1 or 2 nights a week, and it doesn't impair anything.It helps me get the needed amount of sleep so I don't feel like a zombie the next day. Maybe you need to take a poll, and hear from some who are not addicted and really need something to help them rest.

  4. There are lots of doctors prescribing identical hormones, in MN. Diamond's Women's Center comes to mind.

  5. I take Omega 3's….but, use the FlaxSeed Oil Capsules. Does anyone know if they are the equivalent of the fish oil omega 3's?

    1. Even though the omega 3 oils in flaxseed oil and fish oil are related, they have a different chemical makeup.The omega 3 oils found in fish oil supplements, such as our VitalMega-3, are EPA and DHA fatty acids.You can read more about VitalMega-3 by visiting our website ( While the omega 3 oils found in flaxseed are ALA fatty acids. If your main goal is to take a suitable omega 3 supplement, you are better off taking fish oil as your body has a difficult time obtaining the omega 3s from the ALA fatty acids found in flaxseed.

      However, besides omega 3 oils, flaxseed does offer many other wonderful health benefits as it is loaded with fiber (soluble and insoluble) and lignans.

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