|1. The Habit: Popping Sleeping Pills|
"Many people take over-the-counter sleep aids that are a combination of painkillers and antihistamines, such as Tylenol PM or Advil PM," says David J. Clayton, MD; author of The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living. "If you're a healthy person who wants occasional help falling asleep, there's no need for the painkillers." Acetaminophens like Tylenol can damage your liver if taken long-term, and it's even more damaging if you've had alcohol, since the liver has to work over-time to break down all those toxins.
Damage control: If you're going to take something to help you sleep, try Benadryl instead of an OTC painkiller and sleep aid combination. The antihistamine ingredients minus the painkillers will help you snooze with less risk of liver damage or stomach irritation. Just be sure to take a dose one to three hours before you plan on hitting the sack, because it takes longer to take effect than say, Tylenol PM.
SLEEP SOLUTIONS: How to Sleep Right, Tonight