This content was first published in Health magazine, September 2008

Q: Did actor Heath Ledger die from mixing sleeping pills with other meds?

A: Ledger died in January 2008 from an accidental overdose when he combined the prescription sleeping pill Restoril with prescription painkillers, antianxiety meds (Valium and Xanax), and an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Valium, Xanax, antidepressants like trazodone (Desyrel), and nonprescription sleeping pills are sedating drugs. Like alcohol, they can slow heart rate and cause breathing problems when combined with prescription sleeping pills.

If you take a sleep aid, play it safe by letting your doctor know about any other prescription and over-the-counter medications (as well as herbal remedies) you're using.

View a slideshow of Celebrity Sleep Issues: Heath Ledger, Brad Pill, Martha Stewart, and more