Used properly, sleeping pills can do a world of good when it’s time to settle down for the night.
They help you drift off to sleep and stay there for the night, but are sleeping pills really the solution to your sleeping woes?
Read on to find out the truth about sleeping pills and whether you’ll need to find a new way to get to Dreamland every night.
An Instant Fix
For most people, sleeping pills are an easy way to overcome temporary problems falling asleep. In fact, physicians often prescribe over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills to help people fall asleep faster and to stay asleep through the night. The sleeping pills you will find at your local drugstore are all deemed relatively safe if used properly. If taken only in dire circumstances, you should be able to fall asleep with relative ease.
Too Much of a Good Thing
As helpful as sleeping pills can be, taking them every day can pose dangers. The most immediate problem you may face is an inability to fall asleep.
Because while an occasional sleeping pill will help you get to sleep with ease, taking sleeping pills every day for a long period can actually cause your body to stop responding positively to the medication. After a few weeks of nightly use, sleeping pills can actually result in the opposite happening, as you wind up with problems falling and staying asleep.
While the worst complications affect those who use sleeping pills for prolonged periods or take too many at one time, occasional use of sleeping pills can result in a number of potential side effects. These include headaches, allergic reactions, feeling drowsy after a long night of sleep, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, facial swelling, and nausea.
Picking Your Pill
Though there are many over-the-counter sleeping pills on the market, you shouldn’t grab one until you talk it over with a health expert, such as your physician. By speaking with your physician or a sleep specialist, you can determine if there are lifestyle changes that may help you get to sleep with greater ease.
In the event a sleeping pill is your best bet for catching the shuteye you need, your physician or a sleep specialist will be able to recommend or prescribe one that best fits your needs. Once you regain the ability to fall and stay asleep for the night, quit taking the pills as prescribed. While some can be dropped immediately, others require a weaning process.
Take and Watch
Before you take a sleeping pill, check your watch and make sure it’s bedtime. If you take a sleeping pill before you’re ready to go to sleep, you may feel too tired to do activities of daily living. Also, pay careful attention to how you feel after taking a pill. If you experience any negative side effects, talk with your physician or a sleep specialist to determine if you should be using a different pill. And if your sleeping pill doesn’t do the trick for your sleeping woes, ask whether a different prescription will help.
Before the Pills
Having some trouble getting to sleep? There are some small lifestyle changes that will make large changes in your quality of sleep. So before you head to the drug store for some sleeping pills, try out the following suggestions:
- get a bedtime routine and stick with it
- go to bed at the same time every night, and make sure you go to bed when you feel tired-not three hours later
- get plenty of exercise on a regular basis
- don’t consume alcohol or caffeine after 2 or 3 p.m.
- avoid eating large amounts of food within two hours of bedtime
- make your bedroom an inviting place in which you want to sleep
- get a mattress and pillow that are comfortable
- take sleeping pills if nothing else seems to work