What you should know about sleeping pills What you should know about sleeping pills

Prescription sleep medications can be helpful in treating insomnia, thus avoiding some of its risks. 

Insomnia can be true torture for those who suffer from it. Tossing and turning night after night is an illness that can severely affect mental health and the energy levels your body needs to function during the day.

To counteract this, there are medications that should be prescribed by a doctor that help sleep more deeply and for a longer time. You should only take them with a prescription, sticking to the parameters the specialist recommended, and do it consciously and responsibly to enjoy only its positive effects.

According to a report by the Mayo Clinic, excess or uncontrolled use of these medications can lead to adverse side effects, such as dizziness or lightheadedness, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, drowsiness, serious allergic reactions, sleep behaviors, such as driving or eating without being completely awake, or problems with memory and performance during the day.

Also, according to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States (FDA), all sleeping pills have risks, especially for those with kidney or liver diseases, and they can cause dependency.

Here are some tips for taking sleeping pills safely:

  • The first thing you need to do is have a medical checkup. A specialist will determine which medication is best, the recommended dose, and form of control. Self-medicating is a serious mistake.
  • Only take the pills when you have finished all your activities for the day – right when you are getting ready to go to sleep. It is also important to be sure that you could sleep all night, or at least seven or eight hours.
  • Always avoid alcohol, because even in small quantities it can cause dizziness, confusion, or fainting if it is combined with the pills.
  • Never exceed the prescription. If the initial dose does not produce the desired effect, you should not take more without talking to a doctor first.
  • When it is time to stop taking the medication, you should also follow the doctor’s recommendations, as this could be a gradual process where you have episodes of insomnia in the short term as a rebound effect for a few days.

Read also: Combatting insomnia during quarantine