How Do Sleeping Pills Work?

Meta: Are sleeping pills the answer to your sleeping problems? Read on to see why sleeping pills can do more bad than good.


I know over the years I have gotten a great deal of questions around sleeping pills and sleep. Today Addiction Rehab Treatment has put together an in-depth piece to answer many asked questions and breakdown more about sleeping pills.

How Do Sleeping Pills Work? Will I Get Addicted?


Americans are getting less sleep than ever, with time spent on work, play, and family. Countless TV advertisements promise the world if all you take is a small pill but is all that they say true?


When taken correctly, sleeping pills can give people the sleep they need. At the same time, as more people have started to use sleeping aids, there has been a steep incline in the reports of abuse and side effects.


How do the drugs work both on the brain and in the body? What are the side effects - and the risk of dependency? What are the consequences? Read on to learn everything about the sleeping aids you're tempted to reach for each night. Here is what you need to know if you are taking a sleep aid or think you should.


How Sleep Aids Work


Sleep medications have one job, which is to affect the brain to promote drowsiness. Some medicines are designed especially to act as sleeping aids; others are sedative medicines.


The following guide includes sleeping pills most frequently used. Before using a sleep aid, please talk to your doctor.


Sleeping Pills for Mild Insomnia


Diphenhydramine is commonly taken for allergy symptoms and is an over-the-counter drug. Somnolence (drowsiness) is a more common side effect making diphenhydramine an accessible sleep aid. Many of the most popular sleeping aids contain diphenhydramine:


  • Excedrin PM

  • Nytol

  • Tylenol PM


Diphenhydramine assists those who have mild or intermittent insomnia. But sleep professionals reported that very few people are suffering from persistent insomnia and sleep well when taking the drug making its effectiveness questionable.


According to Susan Esther, MD, member of the board of directors of the National Sleep Fund, diphenhydramine can also cause unwanted tiredness and groggy feeling in the morning.


Other side effects of diphenhydramine include:


  • Difficulty urinating

  • Confusion or delirium


These side effects noted above are more common in those aged 65 and older. Younger people should refrain from taking any medication containing diphenhydramine for more than two weeks to prevent tolerance from developing.


Common Prescription Sleep Aids


Selective Gamma-aminobutyric acid medications are included in some of the latest sleep medicines and include:


  • Ambien (zolpidem tartrate)

  • Ambien CR (zolpidem tartrate extended-release)

  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)

  • Sonata (zaleplon)


People use these pills to control awareness and enhance relaxation levels in the brain on the GABA receptors. The selective GABA medicines only target a particular type of GABA receptor, which promotes better sleep.


Initially, they kick in faster, are more selective, and are less susceptible to side effects. Most people metabolize particular GABA drugs before morning.


Because these medicines don't work on all the GABA receptors throughout the brain, thoughts are that sleeping aids are relatively safe, safer than benzodiazepines, the original drugs they're based on, and decrease the chances of an addiction-forming.


However, like all medicines, selective GABA medicines do have potential side effects, which are usually mild and include:


  • Gaps in memory

  • Modification of sleeping patterns and behavior

  • In this class, Ambien and other drugs have also been responsible for confounding excitement episodes - what would most of us call sleepwalking.

The Risk of Dependence


According to sleep experts, all sleep medicines can cause dependency. Dependence means that stopping taking the drug can cause problems. This is almost always an absence of psychology.


You will not be able to sleep without taking the medication - even though you are not dependent on the medicine physically - if you're used to sleeping.


See your physician if you feel you depend on sleep medicine. You are going to tackle your problem. Your medical practitioner will most likely refer you to a sleep specialist.


Many people who try to stop using them are rebounding. This occurs when you stop, and your insomnia comes back worse than ever before. People who are rebounding should always seek the advice of their doctor before returning to their old habits.


The regular consumption of benzodiazepines can result in physical tolerance or dependence. Do not stop abruptly if you have taken these medicines for a long time. Take action and speak to your physician and make a plan to stop taking them safely.


Resolving Insomnia Long-Term

Cognitive insomnia therapy or CBTI is the best way of tackling sleep problems. Trained professionals with this form of therapy will help you promote sleep and deal with sleep problems, and the tools they offer may help improve the quality of your sleep. Therapy treatment can also help reduce sleep-free anxiety.


Finding The Right Solution For You


You should only take advice from a sleep specialist when taking sleeping pills. The sleeping pills currently on the market do not induce natural sleeping conditions. They sedate you instead. Both states are very distinct. Research shows that the electric signature of sleep is not the same as a typical night's sleep when taking medications.


Natural good quality REM sleep not only improves your physical and mental performance but can also add years to your life.


If you are looking for more information and resources on the topic of sleeping pills please click HERE to find an in-depth article and guide.





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