Sleeping Pills

Insomnia is the most common sleeping problem. Many people are suffering from sleepless nights due to work-load, unhealthy eating pressure, stress, unhealthy relationships or environment.

Sleep is the most important requirement of our body. It recharges us from all our stress and tiredness that we are facing.

It is the restoring and relaxing point of the body. If no proper sleep is given to the body, it causes restlessness, tiredness, anxiousness and anger issues.

In case you are facing sleeping issues you can try sleeping pills with the recommendation of your doctors.

What is a Sleeping Pill?

Sleeping pills is the medication prescribed for long term and short term sleeping problems. People with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, may use these drugs to help them fall asleep. If you have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night, sleeping medications can help you stay asleep.

According to studies, sleeping medications are not particularly effective in supporting a good night’s sleep. The person will fall asleep for eight to twenty minutes. On average, you might get an extra 35 minutes of sleep.

Types of Sleeping Pills

There are three types of sleep aids: prescription pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements.

It is impossible to select the optimal sleep drug for every case. When a sleep aid is required, the best option relies on a person’s specific circumstances, such as the type of their sleep issues, overall health and concomitant conditions.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription medications are only available at pharmacies and must be prescribed by a doctor for a specific patient.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tightly regulates these treatments, requiring any prescription drug to be approved based on its clinical trial safety and efficacy.

Every FDA-approved medicine has a specific indication, which outlines the medical problems it is designed to treat.

However, once a medicine has been approved for one indication, doctors may prescribe it for another, a practice known as “off-label” use.

The following are the types of prescription pills to treat sleep difficulties.


Hypnotics and sedatives are medications that induce sleepiness. The first generation of prescription hypnotics, known as benzodiazepines, functioned by increasing the brain’s production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a molecule that causes drowsiness.

In recent years, a newer family of hypnotics, known as Z-drugs due to their medical nomenclature, has become increasingly often prescribed. These medications typically have less negative effects than standard benzodiazepines.

Other sedative medicines, such as barbiturates, may help patients fall asleep, but they are rarely used for sleep disorders due to the danger of addiction and overdose.

Orexin receptor antagonists:

Orexin receptor antagonists act by inhibiting the effects of orexin, a natural chemical that promotes wakefulness. These medications increase sleepiness by decreasing orexin levels, while avoiding some of the side effects associated with other hypnotics such as headache, nausea, and short-term forgetting.

Melatonin receptor agonists:

Melatonin is a hormone that is generated by the body to fall asleep and maintains a consistent circadian rhythm.

This is the most commonly advised medicine. It generates melatonin in the body to help patients who have difficulty falling asleep.


Antidepressants are mainly used to treat anxiety and depression in people who are effectively partially or strongly. Some of these medications, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), have been shown to produce drowsiness in some persons.

As a result, antidepressants are occasionally given for sleep disorders. However, the FDA has not expressly authorized antidepressants for sleep disorders.


Anticonvulsants are medications that are primarily used to treat seizures, although they are also sometimes prescribed off-label for sleep disorders.

Their influence on sleep is linked to their possible anti-anxiety effects, however research on their sleep benefits is sparse.

Over-the-counter medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be acquired without a prescription and are widely available at pharmacies, drug stores, and supermarkets. Individual brands of OTC drugs do not require direct FDA clearance; nevertheless, the active substance in them must be FDA approved and meet certain requirements.

The FDA protects the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices, as well as the safety of our country’s food supply, cosmetics, and radiation-emitting goods.

There are numerous brands of over-the-counter sleep medicines. Almost all of these are antihistamines, which are widely prescribed to treat allergies. Antihistamines typically cause drowsiness, resulting in its use as an OTC.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements include a variety of sleep aids. Dietary supplements do not require FDA approval before being sold, and they are not subject to the same regulations as prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Dietary supplements are available without a prescription and can be purchased from pharmacies, drug stores, supermarkets, specialized stores, or online.

Natural sleep aids such as melatonin, kava, valerian, magnesium, and other items are available as dietary supplements. Many sleep supplements usually contain chemicals that help people to fall asleep.

Most nutritional supplements have insufficient research showing their advantages and hazards. For this reason, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does not normally prescribe these items for insufficient sleep.

Potential Benefits and Risks of Sleep Medication

Sleep medicines may enhance sleep duration, capacity to sleep through the night, and provide a more regular sleep routine. Improving sleep can help minimize daytime tiredness. Sleep aids may help to reset sleep patterns and encourage better behaviors.

Some of the risks of using sleep aids are:

Habit Formation:

Even if a medication is not meant for long-term usage, a person can develop a dependence on it. Abruptly discontinuing the medicine after lengthy use may result in worsened sleep issues or withdrawal symptoms.

Decreased effectiveness:

People can develop a tolerance to many drugs, including hypnotics, which reduces their advantages and may cause negative effects if the dosage is increased.

Excess grogginess:

Many sleep aids cause tiredness, which can impair thinking and balance. Being overly drowsy may increase the risk of falls or other incidents at night, particularly for older persons and people with dementia.

Next day drowsiness:

Some sleeping drugs have long-term effects, affecting a person even when they wake up the next day. According to some studies, up to 80% of adults who used sleep aids had at least one side effect, such as difficulty concentrating or feeling foggy the next day.

Interactions between drugs:

There may be several interactions between prescription medications, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and dietary supplements, including natural sleep aids. These interactions can increase or decrease the potency of medications and have unforeseen consequences.

Additional side effects:

Virtually every drug can cause adverse effects, which are not necessarily anticipated. Hypnotics, for example, have been linked to an increased risk of death, which could be related to secondary dangers such as depression, cancer, infections, and/or accidents.

Mislabeled Supplements:

According to studies, many nutritional supplements on the market do not appropriately state the dosage of each ingredient. The FDA has also received multiple reports of contaminated sleep aids containing measurable amounts of other medications.

Who should and should not take sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills are most likely to be beneficial when used under the supervision of a medical practitioner, who may advise on specific medicines, dosages, and times to take them.

Many people take sleeping pills nowadays due to stress load, work pressure and unhealthy habits. This kind of lifestyle causes insomnia in people and they take sleeping pills.

Because of the increased risk of side effects, the following people should typically avoid using any sort of sleeping medications without first checking with their doctor:

People with mobility issues:

This includes many senior persons, who are more prone to accidents and falls as a result of excessive sleepiness.

Pregnant Women:

Many sleep drugs might be harmful to pregnant women or their babies.


Sleep drugs for children are frequently not the same as those for adults. Many sleep aids have not been proven safe for youngsters and may require a lower dose to be effective.

People with other medical conditions:

Drugs and supplements can have an impact on physical or mental health, therefore anyone with a preexisting health condition should exercise caution while taking a new sleep aid.

People using other drugs:

To avoid undesired interactions, consult a doctor and/or pharmacist before using any sleeping pills.

How Can You Ensure That Sleep Medications Are Used Safely?

There are various steps you may take to ensure that you take your sleep prescription safely, regardless of the type.

Step 1:

Talk to your doctor about your sleep difficulties and which sleep aid has the most potential advantages and least drawbacks. If feasible, see a doctor to figure out what’s causing the issue.

Many issues like depression, pain, anxiety, asthma and heart failure can interfere with your sleep.

Step 2:

Keep in mind that these medications are not meant to be taken for an extended period. The idea is to help you sleep better in the near term while also teaching you healthy sleep habits that will benefit you in the long run.

Step 3:

Double-check with your doctor or pharmacist that the dosage is appropriate for you. For example, because women dispose of sleep aids differently, the FDA has recommended lowering the dose of various sleep drugs in response to numerous reports of excessive next-day grogginess.

The dosage should also be adjusted to reflect whether you have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Step 4:

Carefully follow the directions for taking your sleep medication. This involves only taking the specified dose at the appropriate time to promote the best possible sleep and limit the chance of grogginess the next morning.

While this step may appear straightforward, a study discovered widespread misuse of common prescription sleep medications.

It was observed that many consumers took an excessively high dose, took the pill too late at night, and/or used the medicine for longer than intended.

Step 5:

As you take the sleep medication, keep an eye out for symptoms of side effects and contact your doctor if you notice any. Examples of these warning indicators are:

  • Excessive drowsiness, loss of focus, or slow thinking during the day
  • Feeling unsteady or in danger of falling.
  • Unexpected mental or emotional changes, such as anxiousness, bewilderment, or euphoria.
  • Changed breathing during sleep, such as noisy snoring
  • If you stop using the sleep medication, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle soreness, vomiting, or shaking.
  • Other inexplicable health changes include gastrointestinal or other disorders.

What are the probable side effects or consequences of sleeping pills?

When you take sleeping pills night after night, your body may begin to rely on them. When you stop using the medication, your sleeplessness may worsen. This is commonly known as rebound insomnia.

If you’ve been using sleep aids for a long period, talk to your doctor about how to stop safely. It may take several months to quit using the medicines.

You should also avoid combining sleep aids with other sedatives or alcohol. There is a risk of overdose.

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