Sleeping Pills

Sleeping Pills with white container

Defining Sleeping Pills

Many studies show that between one half and one-third of Americans suffer from many forms of consistent or chronic sleep trouble. As people get older, the proper amount of sleep they get a night decreases. As inconsistent sleep can impact daily functioning and increase the risk for health issues, some adults choose to take sleeping pills to aid in receiving a full night’s sleep.

These are classified as benzodiazepines, or drugs that sedate the body by calming the central nervous system. They are used to treat the effects of insomnia such as restlessness and inability to delve into a normal sleep cycle through the night. Because of the possibility of addiction, these should be taken only before bed-time to help with long-term sleep. Sometimes people while treating insomnia may caught into more chronic sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea even without realizing it.

Some examples that people may choose to take are Ambien, Lunesta, and Rozerem. Like other drugs, these also affect each individual differently and take effect differently for each respective individual. They usually take effect within 10-15 minutes for 4-8 hours.

Side Effects

Short-Term

  • Increased drowsiness
  • Inconsistencies in appetite and bodily functions
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness

Long-Term

  • Dependency
  • Desire to increase dosage

Sleeping Pills Do’s and Don’ts

These should only be used on a short-term basis. People who decide to use or get off of these should consult a doctor before doing so.

Alcohol should not be mixed with sleeping pills. Individuals who use both should monitor the timing of their intake. There should be a significant time lapse between the usage of both as the sedating effects of both would be doubled if taken too closely. If alcohol is to be consumed, it is recommended to wait at least four hours before taking the sleeping pill, so that the pill can produce the proper effects needed for normal sleep.

Addiction and Overdose

As these are benzodiazepines and contain sedative hypnotics, they have the potential to be addictive if overused. These can become dangerous if used too frequently, and taking too many may lead to dependency and the desire to increase the dosage. People who overdose have the feeling that the prescribed amount is no longer enough. As a result, people become fearful that old sleep habits will return if they do not get the pill’s full effects, thereby, leading to anxiety.

These have been used as a method of overdosing to commit suicide. As these slow down body processes, ingesting too many would shut the body down during sleep.

Treatment

If you or someone you know is mishandling a prescription or using pills to overdose, medical assistance and the help of a drug rehabilitation facility should be sought immediately. Physicians and therapists at the facility can help realize that the addiction is the problem, yet with the right help, it can be easily treated.

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