If taken properly, sleeping pills give enormous benefit to people suffering from an inability to get restful sleep. At the same time, the rise in the use of sleep medication has unpleasant side effects. All sleep medications work on the brain to promote drowsiness. Some drugs are specially designed as sleep aids; consult with your doctor before initiating the use of sleep aid.
Side Effects of Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills have side effects like most medications. Sleeping pills can disturb the normal breathing and can prove to be dangerous for people having lung problems such as asthma, emphysema, or forms of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Common side effects of sleep remedies include:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty keeping balance
- Mental slowing or problems with attention or memory
- Irresistible shaking of a part of the body
Dependency on Sleeping Pills
For short-term insomnia, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for several weeks, but regular use for a longer period of sleeping pills stops working as you build a tolerance to the medication. It may also increase your psychological dependency on the medicine. Then, even the thought of sleeping without it will make you anxious.
Without the sleeping pill, you might find it difficult to sleep. If that happens, it could be a sign of a physical or emotional dependence or both. Long-term use of sleeping pills actually interferes with sleep. The finest way to avoid dependence on sleeping pills is to follow your doctor’s instructions and quit taking the drug when recommended.
Natural Sleep Aids: Dietary Supplements
The options for people who don’t want to take prescription sleep medications, but crave a good night’s sleep includes some of the natural sleep remedies, i.e.,
- Valerian: It is a dietary supplement and is used for insomniaand nervousness. Many people rate valerian as the best sleep aid.
- Chamomile- It is a traditional herbal remedy that is used to fightsleep issues and a wide range of other health complaints. Chamomile is available in the form of tea, extract, and topical ointment. Chamomile can easily be found in health food stores and supermarkets.
- Melatonin- It is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatoninis believed to play a central role in regulating sleep and circadian rhythms. Synthetic melatonin, a dietary supplement is sold as a natural sleeping pill and antioxidant.
Safe Use of Sleeping Pills for Insomnia
Here are some tips to use over-the-counter sleep aids safely:
- Allow enough time for a full night’s sleep- Sleep aids only work correctly if you set aside enough time to rest your eyes. Most sleep aids recommend a full eight hours to be devoted to sleep, so patients are encouraged to ensure they are sleeping adequately.
- Don’t try sleeping pills before a big day- initially trying a sleep aid on a night when you won’t need to wake early, drive or make important decisions the next day. If you take a higher dose than required or you don’t get enough sleep, you will experience morning drowsiness. You could also potentially sleepwalk, or even talk on the phone or send emails and texts without remembering it. Sleep aids work by activating the sleep centers in the brain and turning off the wake centers.
- Be on the lookout for side effects- the medications reduce anxiety and relax your muscles. For people having a history of depression, sleep aids can make it worse. Headaches and nausea are possible side effects.
- Take pills for a short time- Doctors recommend patients use sleep aids nightly for two to four weeks. If you need such aids for longer, you are recommended to consult your doctor for it.
- Don’t stop taking a sleep aid suddenly- If you take a sleep aid every night, try reducing the dose for some weeks. Follow the pattern till you are not dependent on the medication. If you have already been taking lowest doses, then try cutting out, taking it once in a week and slowly eliminate it fully.
Modifying your living style and sleep habits is the best way to deal with insomnia. Changes in behavior and surroundings can affect sleep and medication positively, without any risk of its side effects or dependency.