Sleeping pills can have a number of harmful effects, both physically and psychologically. It’s difficult to believe that sleeping pills have any side effects, but they do. Sleeping pills may cause a variety of different adverse reactions, and understanding them before taking the medication is critical. This post will go through the most prevalent negative effects associated with sleeping tablets in order to give you an idea of what to anticipate if you choose to take these medicines!
The most prevalent type of sleeping pill is “sedative sleeping pills.” This is a special category of medications that are used to help you fall asleep or keep you asleep. Sedatives, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other hypnotics, are examples of sedatives.
Ativan, Librium, valium, and Xanax are examples of benzodiazepines. They are used to treat anxiety as well promote sleepiness and assist with the fall asleep of individuals. Halcion is a benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic drug that has largely been replaced by more contemporary medicines. While these drugs may be useful in the short term, all benzodiazepines have the potential to become addictive and cause memory and attention issues over time. Benzodiazepines are generally not advised for long-term sleeping disorder treatment.
Barbiturates, like other sedative-hypnotics, have a sedative impact on the central nervous system and can lead to drowsiness. Barbiturates are utilized as sedatives or hypnotics in tiny doses or for lengthy periods of time. However, barbiturates are only important during anesthesia.
Sleeping pills and other sleep treatments are more effective. Benzodiazepines are known to interact with the same brain receptors as drowsy-inducing drugs like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. They’re less prone to become habit-forming than Benzodiazepines over time, but they can still induce physical dependence. They may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly by reducing the time it takes for you to nod off.
Another sleeping pill, Rozerem, works in a different way than other sleeping pills. It modifies the sleep-wake cycle by altering a brain chemical called melatonin and is nonaddictive. Belsomra is a one-of-a-kind sleep aid that targets orexin, a brain neurotransmitter. And it isn’t addicting. Silenor (low-dose doxepin) is a low-dosage version of the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin that isn’t addictive.
Types of prescription sleeping pills
Sleeping pills may help you fall asleep or stay asleep longer, or they may help you do both. The advantages and disadvantages of various sleeping pill prescriptions can vary. Your doctor will usually need to:
- To obtain a clear picture of your sleeping routine, ask questions.
- Check your sleep habits and get tests for any underlying conditions that may be affecting your rest.
- Consider taking a prescription sleeping pill, including how often and when to take it, as well as the form in which you’re going to take it.
- To determine if Ambien is right for you, prescribe a sleeping pill for a limited time to see whether it provides any advantages and drawbacks.
- Have you ever tried another prescription sleeping pill if the first one you take doesn’t work after the full course of treatment?
- To assist you in determining whether a generic version of a product is typically less expensive than a proprietary drug.
Insurers may have rules regarding the medications that are covered by insurance, and they may insist that you try alternatives before resorting to sleeping pills.
Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills and sleeping pills
Sleeping pills that are available over-the-counter, on the other hand, include antihistamines as their most active component and cause drowsiness.
- Common over-the-counter sleep medications include
- Diphenhydramine (found in brands such as Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compiz)
- Doxylamine (trademarks such as Unisom, Nighttime Sleep Aid)
Antihistamines are sometimes used in combination with acetaminophen (such as Tylenol PM) to ease muscular pain. Others, such as NyQuil, combine antihistamines and alcohol.
The sedative effects of antihistamines usually continue for more than one day, resulting in a hangover the next. They can also induce forgetfulness and headaches with continuous usage. Sleep experts discourage the regular use of antihistamines because of their adverse side effects.
- Common side effects of antihistamine sleeping pills
- Moderate or severe drowsiness the next day.
- Dizziness and forgetfulness.
- Clumsiness, a sense of loss of balance.
- Constipation and urinary retention.
- Blurred vision.
- Dry mouth and throat.
Who should be afraid of sleeping pills?
Taking a sleeping pill is a significant choice that should be carefully considered, and first and foremost you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. When taking sleeping pills, certain people are at increased risk of suffering adverse events. People who fall into one of these categories are more likely to experience negative effects from sleeping pills:
- Asthma, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are all associated with serious breathing issues. Sleep apnea can be induced by some sleeping pills, which can heighten the risk of respiratory failure. People who have low blood pressure or arrhythmias should avoid taking sleeping medications.
- People who have liver or kidney diseases. These diseases impact the body’s metabolism, which can result in longer daytime disruptions and drowsiness as a consequence of altered metabolisms.
- Women who are pregnant or are nursing should not take this medication. In certain sleeping medicines, there is a greater danger of causing depression, memory loss, and poor coordination in expectant mothers. They may be advised against taking them altogether by their doctors. If treatment is necessary, physicians may prescribe it at lower dosages.
- The elderly. Sleeping pill side effects, according to research, are more common among the elderly, including dizziness, nausea, imbalance, dementia, and sedation. This might cause someone to fall or be harmed. If sleeping pills are required, doctors may prescribe a lower dose to minimize the chance of injury.
- Sleep pills can interact in a negative way with other medicines, increasing the risk of unwanted effects. If you’re taking any additional medications or supplements, talk to your doctor first about sleeping pills.
Prescription sleep medications
Sedative sleeping pills are a class of prescription sleep medicine that works on the brain to induce drowsiness. In general, these chemicals act on brain receptors, inhibiting the nervous system. Some medications are used to put people to sleep while others are used to keep them asleep. Some have a greater potential for addiction than others (longer half-life), while some have a higher addiction risk.
Non-Benzodiazepine sleeping pills
Although some new medicines have a different chemical structure from benzodiazepines, they function in the same parts of the brain. They are thought to have less harmful side effects and a lower risk of addiction, but they are still classified as controlled substances. Zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta) are examples of these medications that have been researched for long-term usage, up to six months.
Non-benzodiazepines have fewer disadvantages than benzodiazepines, but this does not make them superior for everyone. It may appear to some people that the long-term effects of this kind of sleeping pill are unknown, despite the fact that it has fewer drawbacks than benzo.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently ordered manufacturers of Ambien and other similar sleeping pills to reduce the advised dosage due to the increased risk of morning drowsiness while driving, especially in women. Other signs include:
- Tolerance to drugs.
- Recurrent insomnia.
- Headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty swallowing or breathing.
- In some cases, dangerous sleep-related behaviors such as sleepwalking, driving while asleep and overeating while asleep.
- New or worsening depression; suicidal thoughts or actions.
Ramelteon (Rozerem) is a sleep aid that imitates the hormone melatonin, which controls sleep. It has a low risk of physical dependence and comes with its own set of harmful effects. It’s indicated for issues relating to falling asleep and does not help you fall asleep on time.
Dizziness is the most reported Ramelteon side effect. It can also exacerbate depressive symptoms and should be avoided by individuals with severe liver disease.
Benzodiazepine sleeping pills
Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative-hypnotic that have been used for decades. Because they are a kind, benzodiazepines have been found to be more addictive than other sleep aids and are considered controlled substances. Estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion) are examples of benzodiazepines that have been authorized for the treatment of sleeplessness.
- Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and prone to dependence. They might contribute to physical and psychological addiction. You might believe you can’t sleep without them, so when you quit taking them, you may feel anxious or sleepless.
- Sleeping pills become less effective if taken at night since brain receptors decline sensitivity to their activity. Benzodiazepines can lose effectiveness after three to four weeks.
- Because to less restorative deep and REM sleep, the quality of your sleep may be lowered.
- You may feel sluggish and drowsy on the third day (the hangover effect), which can be much more severe than daytime dozing.
- Insomnia typically recurs after a sleeping pill has been discontinued, even if the medicine is effective throughout its duration. Instead of fighting sleeplessness, you merely postpone it, just as you would with all sleeping pills.
- There may be a link between benzo usage and dementia. Although an inquiry is now underway, there are concerns that benzodiazepine usage might contribute to dementia.
Antidepressants have not been evaluated by the FDA for the treatment of sleep disorders, and their usage has not been proven to be beneficial. However, some antidepressants have sedative effects that make them less effective for their intended purpose. When taking any anti-depressant, there is a tiny but real risk of suicidal thoughts or worsening depression in children and teenagers.
Safe reception of sleeping pills
Some sleeping pills (including some over-the-counter ones), as well as certain antidepressants, might not be safe for pregnant, breastfeeding, or elderly individuals. Sleeping pills have the potential to cause night falls and injuries in the elderly. If you are an older person, your doctor may prescribe a reduced dosage of medication to minimize the risk of problems.
There are a variety of factors that can prevent you from getting coverage. – Some health problems, such as kidney disease, low blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias), or a history of seizures, might restrict your choices. In addition, prescription medicines and over-the-counter sleeping medications may interact with one another. Taking some prescription sleep aids also has the potential to lead to substance abuse or drug addiction.
Taking sleeping pills
If you’ve been looking for a good night’s sleep but haven’t had any luck, prescription sleeping pills might be helpful. Here are some guidelines on how to use them safely.
Get a medical report. Before taking sleeping pills, get a complete examination from a doctor. If your sleeplessness is caused by an underlying condition, your doctor may be able to find it. If you’ve been using sleeping medication for more than a few weeks, schedule an appointment to talk about treatment options.
Read the medication guide. Read the drug’s manual for patients to learn how and when to take the medicine, as well as any typical adverse effects it might induce. If you have any questions, contact your pharmacist or doctor.
Never take sleeping pills until you go to bed. Sleeping pills make you less aware of your surroundings, posing a safety hazard. Take sleeping pills only after you’ve completed all of your evening tasks and are ready to sleep.
Take a sleeping pill when you can get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping pills should only be used as a last resort. Only take them if you know that you’ll be able to sleep for at least seven or eight hours straight. Short-acting sleeping pills are designed to wake you up in the middle of the night so that you can stay in bed for at least four hours.
Watch out for side effects. If you’re sleepy or dizzy during the day, or if you have any other major negative effects, talk to your doctor about lowering the dose or stopping the pills. Do not take a new sleeping pill before an important meeting or occasion since you won’t know how it will affect you.
Avoid alcohol. If you must consume alcohol, it’s advisable not to use sleeping pills at the same time. When taken in moderation, sleeping pills have a sleep-inducing (rather than sedative) impact. Even a little amount of alcohol can make you dizzy, confused, or faint when combined with sleeping pills. Drinking may cause sleeplessness and other problems.
Take sleeping pills strictly as prescribed by a doctor. Sleeping pills are only to be used for a maximum of 14 days. Before taking any medication, consult your doctor. Also, do not take more tablets than the prescription recommends. If the initial dose does not work, do if you’re told to by your physician.
Step out carefully. Follow the directions of your doctor or pharmacist or the label’s instructions when you’re ready to quit taking sleeping pills. Some drugs need to be tapered down gradually. Also, bear in mind that after stopping sleeping medicines, you could experience a few days of short-term sleeplessness.
Can there be an allergy to sleeping pills?
People’s reactions to medicines can be unpredictable and attributed to the medicine’s active component, as well as any of its inactive components (such as dyes, binders, or coatings). People who are allergic to a specific sleeping pill should avoid using it. It is extremely important that you inform your doctor if you experience one of these severe side effects, such whether:
- Blurred vision or any other vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- The feeling that the throat is closing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue or throat
Frequently asked questions
Is it harmful to take sleeping pills every night?
It isn’t. They are safe to take on a regular basis over time as long as you follow the physician’s instructions and utilize sleeping pills in moderate amounts.
Failing to sleep after taking a pill is not always dangerous; if you fall asleep before your usual bedtime while under medical supervision or at the very least once prescribed by a doctor, this effect may be considered beneficial for individuals with sleeping problems.
What problems can sleeping pills cause?
Sleeping pills may have different negative effects in different people. Some typical issues include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, poor balance, confusion, hallucinations, and memory loss.
If you have liver or kidney disease, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), low blood pressure, or an irregular heartbeat, you should avoid taking sleeping pills. Pregnant ladies and those over 65 years old are also more likely to have negative effects from sleeping pills. Taking other medicines at the same time as sleeping pills may cause unwanted effects. Always talk with your doctor before starting any new prescription.
Are there long-term risks associated with using sleeping pills?
Yes, doctor-prescribed sleeping pills are legal. While occasional use of sleeping pills is generally safe for most people, using them every night can lead to dependence and long-term health issues. Sleeping pills might make you drowsy and reduce your capacity to function properly during the day. They may also raise your risk of falling and other accidents. If you find that you require sleep aids every night, see your doctor about options.
How do I know if I'm allergic to a sleeping pill?
If you experience any severe adverse effects after taking a sleeping pill, such as difficulty breathing, throat swelling, or hives, contact your doctor right away. You could be allergic to the drug. If you have any additional symptoms following a sleeping pill usage, such as blurred vision or chest discomfort, notify your doctor. These might be indicators of a more serious condition.