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Sleep Medication: Types, Side Effects and Treatment


By Sameen NaqviPublished 11 months ago 3 min read

Narcolepsy is more than just a sleeping disorder. Symptoms, other than excessive sleeping, involve sudden loss of muscle tone, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, changes in REM sleep, etc. Even though, there is no cure of narcolepsy, but certain medication and various lifestyle changes can help to manage the associated symptoms. That is why healthcare providers may prescribe you sleep medicines for this condition. Individuals should be well aware of the sleep medication, types, side effects and treatment options to better treat their problem. This article will encompass all of the mentioned aspects of sleep medication.

Sleep disorder


Sleep medications may be known by names like hypnotics, sedatives, sleep aids, sleep medicines, tranquilizers, etc. Antidepressants, benzodiazepines, Z-drugs, etc. are some prescription sleeping pills and are normally very strong as compared to the over-the-counter pills, and therefore require a prescription before use.

Sleep medications

Side effects

There are some potential side-effects of sleep medication. Studies have found that every 8th person in 10, using sleep medication, experiences hangover after taking these medicines. Drowsiness, muddled thinking, dizziness and having problem in balancing are other symptoms. These can have a negative impact on your ability to work, drive, work or even do the daily tasks. These pills can also cause constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, headaches, muscular weaknesses, problems with digestion, etc.

Potential risks

If you start taking sleep medication every day/ every night, your body will start to depend on it. Once you are addicted, leaving them will bring back your insomnia even worse than before. This is known as rebound insomnia. You should talk and discuss with your healthcare provider to identify ways for safely stopping these. There is also a possibility of overdosing, if you mix sleeping pills with alcohol/ other sedatives.

Parasomnia may also occur due to the use of some prescribed sleep medications. One may exhibit dangerous behaviors while still asleep. For example, patients taking Z-drugs may walk, eat, talk, drive or even take medicine while asleep. People like these usually appear to be awake but their brain is not fully awake or alert and so, they don’t remember doing any of this when they wake up. Benzodiazepines, on the other hand, may be very addictive and lead to substance abuse.

Are they safe for pregnancy?

Every medicine taken by a pregnant women, passes to her baby. You should discuss with your healthcare provider before taking any sleep medications. A pregnant women may be prescribed with short-term purpose, in cases of extreme insomnia.

How to sleep better without sleep medications

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an efficient way to improve sleep without sleep medications. This can be done by:

• Avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before going to bed

• Cutting short the caffeine intake i.e. coffee, chocolate or sodas the entire day especially before sleeping

• Quitting smoking

• Relaxing with soothing music, meditation, or reading a good book that will keep your mind off things

• Shutting off all your electronic devices that divert you from sleep

• Staying physically active throughout the day

• Going outside and keeping yourself busy

• Sticking to the same sleep schedule every day

• Turning off all the lights and making your room dark and quiet

You should immediately contact your healthcare provider if you experience chronic fatigue, parasomnia, memory loss, confusion, focusing problems, difficulty in completing everyday tasks, upset stomach, etc. Your healthcare provider will diagnose you for your problem. A formal diagnosis may require you to stay over for a night at the sleep center, where an in-depth analysis for your sleep schedule will be performed. Researchers are also thriving to develop a potential treatment option for sleep disorders.


About the Creator

Sameen Naqvi

Aviation Enthusiast, I do my best writing on cruise ships, in old castles, on airplanes, and at home in my chilly northern garden amidst mountains.

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Comments (1)

  • Test4 months ago

    informative content

Sameen NaqviWritten by Sameen Naqvi

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