The Risks of Taking Sleeping Pills

Insomnia is a sleep disorder, so you should see a doctor if you have difficulties getting asleep or staying asleep daily. The treatment for your sleeplessness will depend on the root cause. Insomnia treatment is more successful when the underlying cause is addressed, such as a medical or sleep-related issue.

The greatest treatment for chronic insomnia is the behavioural modifications learnt in cognitive behavioural therapy. Maintaining a normal sleep and wake time, working out regularly, staying away from coffee after 2 p.m., not napping throughout the day, and controlling your stress levels are all likely beneficial. Yet, there are situations when the addition of sleep aids prescribed by a doctor is necessary.

The elderly and those with preexisting diseases (such as liver or renal disease) are more vulnerable to the side effects of prescribed sleeping drugs. Before beginning any new therapy for insomnia, it is important to discuss the issue with your doctor.

Some of the most widely used sleeping medications available via prescription are described here.

How Do Sleeping Pills Work?

Sedative hypnotics are the most common kind of sleeping medicine. In other words, they are the medications that help you fall asleep and remain asleep. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other hypnotics fall under sedative-hypnotics.

Benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, Librium, Valium, and Ativan, are used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. They induce sleepiness and drowsiness. While formerly widely used, the benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic Halcion has been largely phased out in favour of newer, more effective treatments. Benzodiazepines have a variety of short-term applications, but they are all highly addictive and may impair one's ability to focus and remember information. The use of these pills to treat sleeplessness for an extended period is generally not advised.

Barbiturates are another family of medications in the sedative-hypnotic category, and they work by depressing the central nervous system. Barbiturates are often given as sedatives or sleeping tablets and may have either a short or lengthy duration of action. Nonetheless, the most prevalent use of hypnotic medicines is in the anaesthetic context. In large enough quantities, they may be lethal.

How do Tranquilisers Work?

Many varieties of sleep aids are available. Each uses several methods. Some sleep aids make you sleepy, while others dull the part of the brain that keeps you awake.

How Efficient are Sleeping Medications Typically?

Research shows that sleeping medications do not significantly improve sleep quality. Using a sleep aid often results in an eight- to twenty-minute reduction in time to go off to sleep. You might potentially get 35 more minutes of sleep every night.

Sleeping pills are only meant to be used temporarily. They might be particularly useful if you're having trouble sleeping because of a traumatic incident, such as a breakup or a death in the family.

Repercussions of Using Sleeping Pills

All drugs, including sleep aids, come with potentially negative consequences. Nevertheless, unless you take a new sleeping drug, you won't know whether it has any unwanted side effects.

If you have asthma or another medical condition, your doctor may be able to provide further information about potential side effects. Anyone with asthma, emphysema or another kind of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should avoid sleeping drugs since they might make their breathing difficulties worse (COPD).

Ambien, Halcion, Lunesta, Rozerem, and Sonata are just a few examples of commonly prescribed sleeping medicines.

  • Tingling or burning sensations in the limbs

  • Disturbances in Appetite

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Having trouble keeping your balance

  • Dizziness

  • Sleepiness throughout the day

  • Parched vocal cords/mouth

  • Gas

  • Headache

  • Heartburn

  • Damage to the next day's performance

  • Psychological sluggishness, including difficulties with focus and memory

  • Pain or soreness in the abdomen

  • Constant, involuntary trembling of one or more body parts

  • Weird Nightmares

  • Weakness

A person using a sleeping tablet should be prepared for any adverse reactions they may have to discontinue use and contact their doctor quickly should they develop.

Concerns About Safety

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and the elderly may not be safe candidates for using antidepressants, sleeping tablets, or other medications that induce sleep. It has been suggested that older persons who use sleeping pills are more likely to have falls and injuries in the middle of the night. The chance of side effects from medication increases with age; therefore, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage if you are an elderly patient.

Your choices may be more restricted if you suffer from renal illness, low blood pressure, cardiac rhythm issues, or a history of seizures. Both prescribed and over-the-counter sleep aids have the potential to interact with other medications. You must also listen to your doctor's orders about using any medication, including sleep aids, since some of these medications may lead to drug abuse or dependency.

Medicating for a Good Night's rest

If you've tried everything but still can't seem to sleep, maybe it's time to consider sleeping tablets from the doctor. This is a safety guide for when you do use them.

See a Doctor for an Examination

A doctor should check you out before using any sleeping aid. Your doctor may be able to pinpoint the root of your sleeplessness. Take the time to negotiate a follow-up schedule with your doctor if you plan on using sleeping drugs for longer than a few weeks.

Check the Drug Information Leaflet

Become familiar with the patient's guide to medication to learn about proper dosing, avoiding adverse reactions, and other important information. Your pharmacist or healthcare practitioner is the best person to answer your inquiries.

The best Time to Take Sleeping Medication is Just Before bed

Sleeping medications might impair your awareness, leading to disastrous outcomes. Take your sleeping pill just before bed, after you've finished your evening's activities.

The time to take a sleeping medication is when you know you will have a chance to sleep through the night.

Never take a sleeping tablet unless you're sure you'll be able to sleep for at least seven or eight hours straight. You may take short-acting sleeping medications if you know you can remain in bed for at least four hours to avoid waking up in the middle of the night.


Spending your evenings tossing and turning or staring at the clock is not a good idea. But, before using an OTC sleep medication, you should discuss using one with your doctor. You might try getting a sleep aid from your doctor. Changing your routine and trying new tactics are often all it takes to get a better night's rest. Your doctor can diagnose the root cause of your sleeplessness and provide treatment options.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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