Sleeping pills are sedatives that may help people who are suffering from transient sleeping troubles. These medications are meant to be used for short periods. However, the overuse of sleeping pills has many side effects. It can lead to addiction, which is a major concern. There are multiple types of sleeping pills that work in different ways. Sleeping pills, such as anti-anxiety medications Xanax and Valium (benzodiazepines), are likely to cause physical dependence. The other sleeping pills Seconal (secobarbital) and Nembutal (pentobarbital) pose a much higher risk of addiction. Tolerance is a common problem with all sleeping pills. After taking the pills for a while, people need more than the usual dose to help them sleep, which may lead to addiction. If the drug does not seem to be working and if people are used to it, they may start taking more than the prescribed dosage. Symptoms of sleeping pill misuse may include:
- Slurred speech
- Balance problems
- Walking unsteadily
- Problems with memory and concentration
Some sleeping pills may cause rebound insomnia, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Others may have sleepwalking, sleep talking, and/or hallucinations while on the pills.
Signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction may include:
- Needing to use sleeping pills every night
- Becoming tolerant to the prescribed dose and needing to use larger doses to feel an effect
- Craving sleeping pills
- Ignoring personal relationships or responsibilities
- Acting confused, withdrawn, or depressed
- Taking sleeping pills to try to get high, rather than to try to go to sleep
- Needing to refill a prescription early because they took sleeping pills too often or at too high a dose
Sleeping pill side effects may include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach pain
- Clumsiness or loss of coordination
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vivid dreams
- Dry mouth
- Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Appetite changes
- Tingling sensations in the hands or feet
- Balance problems and dizziness
- Muscle weakness
- Shaking or tremors
Is it dangerous to combine sleeping pills and alcohol?
Yes, mixing alcohol and sleeping pills can have additive sedating effects from both drugs, and the combination can cause someone to stop breathing, which could cause death. Sleeping pill labels warn against using alcohol while taking the drug.
Also, grapefruit or grapefruit juice should not be consumed while taking some sleeping pills. Grapefruit increases the amount of the drug absorbed into the bloodstream and the duration it stays in the body. That can cause over-sedation.
- Often, a physical and psychological disorder is what causes sleeping troubles (thyroid problems, anxiety, and depression) and treatment of this will take care of the sleep issue too.
- The solution to sleep problems and getting enough sleep lies in the practice of yoga, meditation, avoiding too much caffeine intake (especially in the evening), and practicing sleep hygiene, regular exercise, and healthy life.
- Cutting down the number of late nights has helped many patients sleep better.
- Another simple step should be consciously decluttering thoughts before hitting the bed by meditating or listening to soothing music.
- Herbs, such as chamomile and lavender, in form of brewed teas, may calm the mind and help in getting good sleep.
- Sedatives should be taken only under the doctor’s supervision and for a short-term.
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HelpGuide.Org. Sleeping Pills and Natural Sleep Aids. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleeping-pills-and-natural-sleep-aids.htm
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
doxylamineDoxylamine is an over-the-counter sedative medication used as an insomnia sleep aid and an antihistamine drug used for allergies, hay fever, the common cold, and pregnancy nausea and vomiting. Side effects may include rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), palpitations, upper abdominal pain (epigastric pain), diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite (anorexia), dry mouth (xerostomia), dryness of mucous membranes, painful urination (dysuria), urinary retention, headache, disorientation, drowsiness, dizziness, vertigo, paradoxical central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, blurred vision, and double vision (diplopia). Doxylamine is safe to use when pregnant. Use with caution while breastfeeding.
Edluar (zolpidem tartrate)Edluar is a prescription sleep medication used to treat insomnia (trouble falling asleep) in adults. Serious side effects of Edluar include getting out of bed while not being fully awake and doing an activity that you do not know you are doing, abnormal thoughts and behavior, memory loss, anxiety, and severe allergic reactions.
estazolamEstazolam is a medication used for short-term management of insomnia characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, frequent awakening in the night and/or waking up extremely early in the morning. Do not use estazolam in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepines, including estazolam have a high potential for abuse, misuse, and addiction. Common side effects of estazolam include drowsiness (somnolence), diminished body movement (hypokinesia), dizziness, abnormal coordination, nervousness, hangover, confusion, anxiety, depression, abnormal thinking, abnormal dreams, headache, weakness (asthenia), feeling unwell (malaise), lower extremity pain, and others.
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How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart?Sleep is an important part of your body's functions. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a negative impact on your heart.
Is Drinking Water at Night Before Bed Bad for You?You need to drink water and you need sleep, but when and how much are equally disputed. Drinking too much water before bed can override this programming, causing potential problems with your sleep. But there are plenty of benefits to drinking water before bed, too, so let's look at both sides.
Is Valerian Root Similar to Xanax and Valium?Valerian root is one of the most popular alternatives to sleep medications. While valerian is a herb, Xanax and Valium are considered benzodiazepines (benzos).
melatoninMelatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is also a synthetic dietary supplement used to improve nighttime sleep in people with insomnia and treat other conditions such as jet lag, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, nicotine withdrawal, winter depression, prevention of cluster headache, migraine headache, cancer (as an adjunct therapy), and others. Common side effects of melatonin include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, abdominal cramps, disruption of circadian rhythm, daytime sleepiness the next day, daytime fatigue, irritability, transient depression, and feeling of unease (dysphoria) in depressed persons. Avoid use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
modafinilModafinil is a drug prescribed for the treatment of excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. The most common side effects of modafinil include headache, upper respiratory tract infection, nausea, nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Do not take modafinil if pregnant and consult your doctor before taking if breastfeeding.
Sleep DisordersA number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep: 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement).
Sleep QuizTake our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep? Find out which medical treatments fight sleep deprivation, apnea, insomnia, and more!
suvorexantSuvorexant is a sedative medication used to treat insomnia, characterized by difficulty in falling and/or staying asleep at night. Suvorexant promotes sleep by reducing arousal and wakefulness. Do not use suvorexant to treat patients with narcolepsy. Suvorexant can worsen depression and cause suicidal ideation. Common side effects of suvorexant include headache, drowsiness (somnolence), dizziness, abnormal dreams, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, diarrhea, and dry mouth. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
valerianValerian is an herbal supplement made from Valeriana species of perennial plants, used as a mild sleep aid in people with insomnia. It's also used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, depression, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, restlessness, and tremors. Do not use valerian if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not give valerian to children younger than 3 years of age. Common side effects of valerian include allergic reactions, headache, dizziness, stomach upset, heart disturbances, uneasiness, excitability, mental dullness, drowsiness, and others.