Sleeping pills side effects: When you are hungry, it is possible to resist the hunger for some time, but when you are sleep-deprived, you can’t resist the intermittent bouts of sleep – as a result, you feel sleepy, sluggish and you may run out of energy. If you go on sleepless for a few nights or don’t sleep properly or if you have day-to-day sleep problems – then you will suffer from insomnia. Insomnia slowly deteriorates your health making you susceptible to some very serious health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Nowadays many people are becoming prone to this problem.

Once you become insomniac you resort to taking sleeping pills. Though such pills make you relax a bit and sleep better, they do come with a fair deal of side effects. If you are unaware of such risks, then read the following information carefully to become knowledgeable about the sleeping pills side effects.

Sleep Inducing Medications

The drugs used to treat insomnia are a category of drugs called sedative-hypnotics – namely, Benzodiazepine sedatives like temazepam (Restoril), quazepam (Doral), estazolam, lorazepam, triazolam, flurazepam and non-benzodiazepine sedatives zaleplon, eszopiclone, and zolpidem. These drugs have the ability to induce sleep; these should be taken up on prescription by a physician. Extended usage may make an individual addicted with serious side effects.

Long-term side effects of sleeping pills

Increased tolerance and dependence

If you too often depend on sleeping pills and extend the usage for prolong period of time, you will develop tolerance – which means, you have to take high doses. Moreover, sleeping pills make your breath slow and less deep. If your physician prescribes them owing to your health condition, then he/she might suggest you how long you can continue the usage safely.

Behavioral problems

Sleeping pills’ side effects: These pills may cause parasomnias (behaviors over which you don’t have any control). Serious dependence on sleeping pills such as benzodiazepines can lead to certain behavioral changes too. There are many individuals who suffer from sleepwalking, sleep-driving, sleep eating, having sex while in a sleep state, etc. Other than that, these pills can also predispose an individual to short-term memory loss or amnesia. Therefore, it would be better to consult your doctor prior to taking them.

Nervous issues

Nervous disorders can also be regarded as one of the major side effects of sleeping pills. Uncontrollable convulsions tend to be another cause for concern. Dry mouth along with stomach aches; Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs; Dizziness, Daytime drowsiness, attention or memory problems, weakness, unusual dreams are the other neurological issues associated with sleeping pills.

Driving with drowsiness

Sleeping pills effects sometimes don’t get vanished the next morning when you wake up and thus continue to affect you during the daytime as well. If that happens, the consequences might prove disastrous. Your day-to-day activities may get hampered owing to dizziness and daytime drowsiness. You might always be under the constant threat of accidents. Following your doctor’s dosage instructions will be the best thing to do, in this regard. Devote at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep when you take such medications in order to mitigate the severe risks.

Changes in metabolic activities

Apart from your tolerance to the drugs, your metabolic activities may also get affected. Constipation, heartburn, gas, headache, dry mouth or throat, stomach pain or tenderness, changes in appetite are some of the symptoms of tummy upset. If the symptoms persist, ask you, healthcare provider.

Factors to consider

Even though sound sleep is a key to better health, we rarely take care of it. Improper eating habits, lack of rest, helter-skelter lifestyle are all making us sleep-deprived. Therefore, it is imperative to sleep well to maintain your physical and psychological health.

As food and water are important for your health, sleep is also a key to better health. Though sleeping pills and scheduled drugs are effective treatments for sleep disorders, knowing the side effects of sleeping pills prior to their usage is quite necessary. Don’t take over-the-counter sleeping pills. And never even ask yourself this question – how many mg of sleeping pills is safe. There is no safer mg to consider unless you talk to your doctor.

To minimize their usage relying on meditation and cognitive therapies might prove to be effective in reducing your dependence on these sleep-inducing drugs.

Bottom Line

If insomnia is giving you sleepless nights and nightmares for prolong period of time, you may need a thorough physical examination, alteration in some habits, medical treatment, counseling and psychotherapy to know the unknown cause. There might be a possibility of any subtle health condition causing insomnia and its symptoms. Just treating symptoms without reaching out to the main cause will not give you long-term benefits. Therefore, to treat insomnia, it is mandatory to approach a healthcare professional as early as possible. Remember there is no best sleeping pill for insomnia as such.

For more information about the sleeping pills side effects, meet

Dr Vikram Sharma

Consultant Neurologist