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Ambien Can Trigger Bad Heartburn Along with Sleep

Q. Doctors believe Ambien is a relatively benign sleeping pill, but it wreaked havoc with my stomach. The bloating was the worst, followed closely by the acid reflux and extreme eructation (burping beyond belief).

It has been three years since I quit Ambien. I felt better almost immediately.

To sleep I use melatonin, a regular 15-minute cool down yoga routine and a cup of herbal tea before bedtime. I have also learned to quiet my mind if I start worrying that I will not get to sleep by reassuring myself that I WILL sleep eventually.

A. Thank you for sharing your experience. More than 100 visitors to our website have reported similar problems. Research reveals a connection between the use of zolpidem (Ambien) and reflux-related GI damage (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Sept., 2009).

Your non-drug approaches to insomnia sound sensible. A cup of fennel tea might be useful against both sleeplessness and indigestion.

We suggest other helpful herbs and behaviors, such as a hot bath and a relaxing routine before bed, in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. Our Guide to Digestive Disorders offers many methods for overcoming heartburn without medications.

If you are interested in non-drug approaches to common problems such as insomnia or heartburn, you may wish to listen to our one-hour interview with Tieraona Low Dog, MD, about her book, Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescription Drugs.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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