We all have days where we feel overwhelmed and crave a good night’s sleep. With the rise of sleeping aids and medications available to combat insomnia, it’s time to discuss the truth behind using this type of medication. Is it safe? What are the long-term effects? Are there any risks associated with taking sleeping aids? Here’s what you need to know before taking a sleeping aid:
Understand Your Sleep Cycle
Before attempting to take any medication for your sleeplessness, it’s important to assess your sleep cycle and understand why you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest. Many factors can contribute, from stress or diet all the way down to how long and how often you’re exposed to artificial light. All of these things may play a part in disrupting your circadian rhythm or depriving your body of necessary restorative processes during sleep.
Know the Side Effects of Using Sleep Aids
When considering taking medication for insomnia, it is important that you research and understand the potential side effects before deciding on the best course of treatment for yourself. Some common side effects are listed below:
1. Morning Fatigue
Many people who use prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids experience a hangover effect known as morning grogginess, which is especially common when taken for long periods of time. It can make daily activities such as getting up for work or school more difficult as you may feel lethargic and sleepy throughout the day.
2. Changes in Appetite
Certain types of sleeping medications have been linked to changes in appetite that range from anorexia (loss of appetite) to compulsive eating disorder (binge eating). Those who take sleep aids might find that their cravings for unhealthy snacks may increase after taking the medication, leading to weight gain over time.
3. Dry Mouth and Constipation
In some cases, taking a sleep aid medication could lead to dry mouth resulting in difficulty speaking or breathing normally while asleep, disrupting normal sleeping patterns. Additionally, certain medications used for treating insomnia also cause constipation due to decreased motility of the gastrointestinal tract. Note that these side effects vary depending on both the prescription strength and duration taken.
4. Allergic Reactions
Taken under medical supervision or not, there is still a risk associated with using sleep aid medications. Allergic reactions may trigger in those who are sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients listed on labels. Sleep medications typically contain antihistamines which are powerful anti-allergic compounds. So it’s important to consult with your physician before taking any OTC or even prescription-strength sleep aid product.
5. Dependence/Addiction Risk
It’s true that certain types of sleep aids are potentially addictive substances. People who take these medications regularly often become physically dependent on them. This means they require more medication doses to get the same effects. And sometimes it no longer produces any effects at all. Regular users also find themselves unable to stop taking the medication when needed. Hence, they may suffer withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and increased agitation.
Others include fatigue, dizziness, headache, and stomach ache — all of which can be disruptive enough to deal with them on their own but can also negatively affect your daily activities such as driving or concentrating at work/school.
Investigate Other Natural Remedies
Prior to resorting to medication as a solution for improving your sleeping habits, research natural remedies that could address underlying issues causing sleepless nights: promoting relaxation techniques before bedtime; regulating caffeine consumption; reducing blue light exposure during nighttime (from screens); incorporating exercise during daytime; proper sleep hygiene techniques such as regular wake times even on weekends; creating an ideal bedroom environment with comfortable bedding; avoiding heavy meals right before bedtime; etc.
Consult Your Doctor Beforehand
If you choose to take any type of medication for insomnia or poor sleep quality, be sure to consult your doctor about potential risks or alternative treatments available before taking anything off the shelf at home or from online stores. As someone connected closely with your health care team they will be able to provide better guidance based on both personal medical history/condition(s) plus top recognized expert information when needed.