Sleeping pills may help when disruptions like travel, stress keep you awake. For long-term sleep disorders or insomnia, behavior changes learned in behavioral therapy are usually the best treatment.
If you are regularly having trouble either staying asleep or falling asleep, make an appointment with your health care expert. Most times, insomnia treatment depends on the cause behind insomnia. Sometimes, an underlying cause like a sleep disorder or medical condition can be found and treated – a much more effective approach than just managing the symptoms of insomnia (sleep difficulty) itself.
Behavior changes learned via cognitive behavioral therapy are the best treatment for persistent insomnia. Exercising regularly, sleeping on a regular schedule, avoiding caffeine, and keeping stress in check and daytime naps also are likely to help. But there are some times when the addition of prescription sleeping medicines may help you get some much-needed rest.
Here we have collected some information on the most common types of prescription sleeping pills used today.
Types of prescription sleeping pills
Prescription sleeping medicines may help you fall asleep or stay asleep longer or both. The benefits and risks of various prescription sleeping medications can differ. To find a suitable remedy to help you fall asleep, a doctor generally should:
- Order tests to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be causing sleep difficulty.
- Ask questions to find out a clear picture of your sleep patterns.
- Discuss options for taking prescription sleeping drugs, including when and how often to take them, and which form of mediation is right for you.
- Have you tried a different prescription medication if the first medicine you take does not work after the full prescribed course?
- He can prescribe a sleeping medicine for a limited period to determine the benefits and adverse effects for you.
- Help you understand whether there is a generic version that is typically less expensive than a brand-name version of the drug.
Insurance companies can have restrictions on which sleeping medicines are covered, and they can require that you try other alternatives to treat your insomnia first.
Side effects of prescription sleeping pills
It would help if you always ask your healthcare expert about potential side effects before choosing which sleeping medicine to consider taking. Depending on the type of sleeping pills, the following side effects can include:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness, which may lead to falls
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and nausea
- Severe allergic reaction
- Chronic drowsiness, more so with drugs that help you stay asleep
- Daytime memory and performance problems
- Sleep-related behaviors, like driving or eating when not fully awake, etc.
Antidepressants with a sedating effect
Sometimes prescription medications used mainly to treat depression may ease insomnia when used in lower doses. Although widely used, they have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for insomnia or sleep difficulties. When insomnia is secondary to anxiety or depression, antidepressants may improve both conditions at the same time.
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
Adverse effects of antidepressants with a sedating effect
Antidepressants with sedative properties may consist of side effects such as:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Headache, Nausea, Irregular heartbeat
- Prolonged drowsiness, Weight gain
- Dry mouth, Constipation
- Daytime memory and performance problems
Prescription sedative pills (including some non-prescription sleeping pills), as well as some antidepressants, may not be safe if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or an older adult. The use of such medications may increase the risk of nighttime falls and injury in older individuals. If you are an older adult, your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower amount of medication to reduce your risk of problems.
Some health problems, including low blood pressure, kidney disease, heart rhythm problems, or a history of seizures – may limit your options. Also, prescription medications and OTC (over-the-counter) sleep aids may interact with other medicines. And taking some prescription sleeping medicines can lead to drug dependence or drug abuse.
Taking prescription sleeping pills
If your attempts to get a good and sufficient night’s sleep have failed, sleeping pills may be an option. Here we have listed some instructions which you may take to get proper treatment.
- Get a Medical evaluation: Before you take such medications, see your doctor for a thorough exam. Often your healthcare expert may be able to find causes for your insomnia. If you are taking sleeping pills for more than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor about an appropriate follow-up schedule to discuss your medicines.
- Read your Medication guide: You should read your prescription label very carefully so that you understand how and when to take your medication. It will also help you to avoid side effects. You should talk to your doctor if unable to assume any part of the drug guide.
- Never take a prescription or OTC sleeping pill until you are going to bed: Sleeping medicines can make you less aware of what you are doing and increase the risk of dangerous situations. It would help if you waited to take your sleeping medicine until you have completed all your evening activities, immediately before going to bed.
- Take a sleeping pill when you can get a full night’s sleep: Take your prescription pill when you know you can get an entire night’s sleep of at least seven to eight hours. A few sleeping tablets are intended for the middle of the night awakenings, so you may take them when you can stay in bed for at least four hours.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping (insomnia) ask your doctor for additional help.