Many people complain that they suffer from insomnia and are looking for ways to improve their sleep. Many turn to the use of sleeping pills in an effort to help them get a good night’s sleep and not spend the entire night staring at the computer or playing games at an Everygame Red casino. However, before starting with sleeping pills it is important to really understand everything about them, and especially the side effects.
What exactly are sleeping pills?
Sleeping pills are categorized as “sedative hypnotics”- drugs used to make you go to sleep and stay asleep. These drugs include benzodiazepines, barbiturates and some hypnotics. Benzodiazepines, like Valium, Librium and Xanax are anti-anxiety medications but they also cause drowsiness so aid sleep. All of these are potentially addictive and therefore should only be used for short periods. It is not recommended that they be used for long periods of time so they are not ideal for problems with sleep.
Barbiturates are also categorized as “sedative-hypnotic”; can cause sedation. These are used as sleeping pills and also as an anesthesia and can be dangerous. An overdose can be fatal.
There are newer drugs that may also aid sleep, working quickly to cause drowsiness. These include Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata. There is some indication that they are less addictive but taken for a long period of time may lead to physical dependence.
There are some other sleep medicines that work a little differently. For example, Rozerem which is not addictive and affects the hormone melatonin. Another is Belsomra which is also not addictive. Silenor is a low-dose antidepressant and is also not addictive.
Sleeping pills and their side effects.
All medicines have side effects. However, they act differently on each individual so until you try the medicine you will not know. If you have breathing problems, asthma or emphysema, you should discuss the side effects with your doctor as these medicines can affect breathing. It is important to read what the side effects might be so you can stop immediately if they are causing more health problems.
Some of the common side effects are as follows:
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Constipation of diarrhea
- Altered appetite
- Problems with balance/dizziness
- Feeling drowsy during the day
- Dry mouth
- Feeling weak
- Feeling less alert, difficulty with memory
- Stomach ache
- Feeling shaky
- Strange dreams
Older adults and the use of sleeping pills
If you are over 65 years sleeping pills are not recommended and this includes those you can buy without a prescription. The reason being that older people are more at risk for health problems when taking sleeping pills. These medicines remain in your body longer when you are older and therefore the following day you may feel drowsy.
Side effects like difficulty with memory and/or confusion can lead to falls or even car accidents. Over-the-counter medicines can lead to constipation and difficulties with passing urine which can be difficult if you are older. Whatever you decide, you should discuss it with your doctor, perhaps there are other options.
More complicated side effects of sleeping pills
Parasomnias are potentially very harmful side effects of some sleeping pills. For instance, sleepwalking, eating while asleep, and driving while not fully awake. These situations are quite rare but do happen. Never take more than recommended by your doctor as this can increase the likelihood of these potentially dangerous side effects
Is it possible to be allergic to sleeping pills?
All medicines can cause an allergic reaction, and that includes sleeping pills. Obviously, if you have an allergic reaction, you should stop immediately. You should discuss with your doctor the possibility of switching to something else.
More serious side effects may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Breathing difficulties
- Problems with swallowing or throat closing
- Feeling nauseous
- Strong heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Puffiness of eyes, face, lips
If you have any reason to think you may be at risk of an allergic reaction, discuss it with your doctor before starting any medication.
When is the correct time to take the medication?
The recommended time to take a sleeping pill is just before you go to bed. However, each medicine will come with instructions and your doctor will also instruct you on the best time for you.
Sleeping pills and alcohol
Drinking alcohol when taking sleeping pills is definitely not recommended. Both have sedating effects and could cause you to stop breathing. All sleeping pills have a warning to not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills.
Grapefruit should also be avoided when using sleeping pills. Because grapefruit has the ability to increase the amount of medication that is absorbed into the bloodstream and, therefore increase sedation, it should be avoided.
Sleeping pills and dependency
Most sleeping pills are prescribed to help with insomnia in the short term, a few weeks. Some sleeping pills if taken for a longer period, like benzodiazepines, zolpidem or eszopiclone become ineffective and stop working because your body will adjust to the medication. On the other hand, medications that are not addictive like Belsomra, Rozeremm and Silenor have been shown to continue to work. However, you may develop a psychological dependence on them, feeling anxious to go to sleep without them.
Long-term use of sleeping pills is not recommended. In fact, experts say that long-term use of sleeping pills actually interferes with sleep. It is wise to follow the guidance of your medical practitioner and stop taking them when advised to do so.