Are business problems keeping you awake nights? If so, you risk joining the one in four English people now taking sedatives, according to a recent symposium at the University of California School of Medicine.
The best advice, say doctors, is to steer clear of sleeping pills except in such non-recurring situations as a long plane trip. If you are a chronic non-sleeper - and the label may fit if you have had trouble sleeping for more than a week - see a doctor. Your restlessness may have deep physical or psychological roots.
Barbiturates, the most potent sleep producers, and tranquilizers both require a doctor's prescription. Both can become addictive. So avoid prolonged use and increasing amounts - you may wind up with typical drug withdrawal symptoms if you stop.
If your prescribed dosage no longer works, see your doctor - don't boost up the dosage on your own. Don't have dated prescriptions filled. Caution: Never mix barbiturates with alcohol. Both depress the central nervous system, and their combined effects can be fatal.
The milder over-the-counter sleeping pills usually contain antihistamines, not barbiturates, which produce drowsiness. They are not usually habit-forming. Note: Some people are sensitive to antihistamines, and get allergic side effects, such as rash or hives. Aspirin will help a dull headache, and thus enable you to sleep better; but stronger claims for aspirin are nonsense, say the medics.
How do you feel about the main currents of your life - career, family responsibilities, your marriage? Particularly, how do you feel about the role that sex plays in your life? For a man of, say, 45 to 55, clear-cut answers to these questions are often difficult. Says a leading London specialist: "The trouble is, too many men push this type of inventory-taking out of their minds."
The executive in this middle age bracket - working under heavy business and domestic pressure - may begin to experience something new: He finds himself tired, listless, too hemmed in by responsibility. He feels run down, and sometimes he notices with alarm that his interest in sex has run down, too. This point... see: Sex