Is it Safe to take Sleeping Pills to treat Insomnia?

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Finding a quick fix with medications is not often the first choice when it comes to treating insomnia. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is the preferred first line of treatment. This form of therapy provides techniques to help the body relax and develop habits to improve sleep. It’s performed by a medical professional with specialized training. Medications are typically used as add-on therapy when general sleep hygiene and CBT do not work. Because they can be addictive and they often come with side effects.

Is It Safe To Take Sleeping Pills Every Night?

Most experts agree that sleep aids should not be used long-term. Sleeping pills are best used for short-term stressors, jet lag, or similar sleep problems. Daily use of sleep aids may be linked to a higher risk of mortality. Sleep aids may also affect sleep stages, with corresponding effects on sleep quality.
Many people develop a tolerance to sleep aids, meaning they need higher doses of the drug over time to get the same effects. This may be accompanied by addiction or withdrawal symptoms, including rebound insomnia, anxiety, irritability, or strange dreams.

What Is the Safest Sleep Aid?

Among the different families of sleep medications, newer medications are generally considered safer than older ones. However, the safest sleep aid for each individual will depend on their age, health, and other personal factors.
Typically, medications that have a shorter duration of action (or stay in your body for a shorter amount of time) are preferred but tend to be more habit forming.
The hardest type of insomnia to treat is early morning awakenings. This requires medications with a long half-life, so it remains in the body all night.
The problem with long-acting medications is that they may cause “sleep drunkenness” or sleep inertia the following day.

Potential risks/side effects of sleeping pills?

Almost all prescription medications can cause mild side effects, such as:
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
All benzodiazepines can be habit forming. They have amnesic (memory loss) and hypnotic properties.
Prescription medications that are not FDA-approved for insomnia may have higher risks, because they’re used for other psychiatric and behavioral concerns. They may themselves cause issues such as:
  • altered behavior
  • atypical sleep patterns
  • hallucinations

How can I take sleep medication safely?

Any medications that can make you drowsy should typically not be taken when drinking or driving and should be avoided by older adults.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Follow prescriptions.
  • Follow up with your doctor regularly.
  • Have an endpoint for medications.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat a balanced diet.

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