So I'm opening the floor. If you've got crazy sleeping-pill induced stories, or can recommend a good way to get to sleep without drugs (someone recently told me chewing apple skin works) we'd love to hear "˜em. Meanwhile, here's a few factoids on some ancient sleep aids:

  • Centuries ago, herbal potions and the opiate laudanum were used to induce sleep.
  • By the early 1900s, barbiturates were introduced.
  • Barbiturates may have put people to sleep, but they actually prevented patients from going into REM "“ a stage that has been proven to be a vital part of healthy, restful sleep.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, a new type of sleeping pill, called benzodiazepines, began replacing barbiturates. But benzodiazepines were found to produce personality changes that linger several weeks beyond the cessation of the drug.
  • My friends with newborns tell me the best sleep-aid is something called a live-in nanny.