A troubled sleep can be a cause of worry. Lack of sleep not only affects your routine but also impacts your cognitive behavior. If you have insomnia, the first thing you must do is consult your doctor. To overcome sleep disorders, at times, your doctor may prescribe sleeping aids. Sleeping pills may help to overcome stress, travel fatigue, and short-term insomnia. However, regular usage will make you dependent on these pills for sleep. In addition, it can also damage your health and cause dangerous side effects.
What Are Sleeping Aids?
Sleeping aids are medicines known as sedative-hypnotics or sleeping pills. These are drugs that can induce sleep by creating specific changes in your mind and body. The most common medications include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other hypnotic drugs.
Most of these medications are anti-anxiety drugs that increase drowsiness and help people sleep. These medicines help in the short term but have adverse side effects when used for a long time. As per FDA norms, all these prescriptions require a black box warning printed on the labels, and it gives life-threatening risks and requires serious attention.
Side Effects Of Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills help in some cases to overcome short-term problems. However, long-term usage has its side effects that can also be dangerous. Always consult a doctor and take these pills only after prescription. Here are some of the commonly seen side effects of these medicines.
- Concentration And Memory Lapses During The Routine Day To Day Work
- Dizziness And Headache During The Day
- Allergic Reactions Like Itching, Swelling, Or Redness In The Skin
- Eating Disorders Or Increase In Appetite Excessively
- Diarrhea, Nausea, And Other Gastrointestinal Problems
- Prolonged Drowsiness And Lack Of Attention In Work
- Sleep-related Behavior, Including Drug Dependence
- Constipation And Dehydration
- Uncontrolled Shaking
Complex Side Effects
There are other complex side effects that you should be aware of before nightly usage. The problematic side effects include sleepwalking, sleep eating, making calls in sleep, and talking in your sleep. Parasomnia behaviors and movements are when you lose control over your activities and behaviors. In addition, at times, you don’t even know what is happening. In most cases, complex side effects occur when you increase the medication dose without your doctor’s approval.
What Should I Do If There Are Side Effects?
If you notice any of these side effects, you should first consult a doctor. Especially when the results are more than mild and make you restless, your doctor may reduce the dose or prescribe alternative medicine in these cases.
There are side effects even when you stop the medication all of a sudden. The rebound insomnia that occurs after stopping sleeping pills can be more dangerous and frustrating. Always consult your doctor, who may reduce the dose in a specified pattern.
Can I Become Dependent On Sleeping Aids?
The dangers of becoming dependent for short-term usage are low. For short-term insomnia or disturbed sleep, your doctor may prescribe the medicine for a few weeks. Taking them as prescribed by your doctor is safe. However, long-term usage may develop medicine tolerance, making you dependent on these medicines.
The best way to tackle the problem is to seek medical advice. Certain medicines such as Rozerem and Belsomra have shown non-habit-forming patterns. These medicines are better alternatives than benzodiazepine.
Here are some safety guidelines that you must follow when prescribed sleeping pills.
- Get A Medical Examination
Before you start taking sleeping aids, get a thorough check-up done with your doctor. Especially if you have a medical history or any other health concern, do tell your doctor. At times your doctor might find the cause of insomnia and provide better methods than sleeping pills. If you are on sleeping aids for a considerable time, discuss a follow-up schedule with your doctor.
- Avoid alcohol
Sleeping pills and alcohol do not go well together. Alcohol increases the sedative effect and can prove dangerous when taken with medication. It can affect your breathing, heart rate and even shoot up your blood pressure dangerously.
- Watch For Any Side Effects
We have already seen numerous side effects of sleeping pills. If you notice any of these side effects, keep track of it. In case the symptoms increase or become persistent, take medical advice.
- Avoid Pills For Short Naps
You must take sleeping pills when you know you will be resting for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours. If you take a short nap in the afternoon, do not take pills. Shorter naps with medications will create disturbed sleep patterns, and you will be dizzy at your work.
- Read The Instructions
Before you start your medication, read the instructions in detail. The guide will tell you all about the safety precautions and when to take medicine. In addition, the instruction leaflet will tell you everything about the side effects and potential dangers. In case of more queries, you can ask the pharmacist.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
The best way to tackle sleep disorders is by cognitive behavior therapy. These are non-drug therapy and are preferable to taking sleeping pills. The treatment is safe and does not have any side effects.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy emphasizes the importance of relationships in a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. The therapist works on highlighting the unhealthy patterns of the patient. In addition, the focus is on identifying the problem and finding means and ways to overcome them. People who do not succeed with cognitive behavior therapy should be treated with medication.
The best remedy to insomnia is cognitive behavior therapy. Little change in your lifestyle can solve a lot of problems. Regular exercise, a proper healthy diet, maintaining your sleep schedule, and avoiding excessive alcohol can keep you from sleeping aids.
Sleeping pills must be taken when you feel these drugs are a temporary solution to a temporary problem. Most importantly, they must be accepted if prescribed by your doctor.