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Category: Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are both prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications that help induce sleep. They help an individual having difficulty sleeping or other sleep problems. Sleeping pills are sedatives, meaning that they impart a calming effect and promote drowsiness. They are also hypnotics, having a property to improve and extend sleep.

What are sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills is a generic term commonly used to describe prescription and over the counter medications helpful in promoting sleep. These pills help people who have difficulty falling asleep, or they struggle with staying asleep. The most widely prescribed sleeping pills fall under the drug class of benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine receptor agonists.
Sleeping pills help when depression, stress, travel, or other life problems disrupt your sleep and keep you awake. For long-term sleeping problems or insomnia, doctors generally prescribe sleeping pills along with behavior and lifestyle changes.

A person should take sleeping pills if they are regularly having problems falling or staying asleep. The type of sleeping pills a doctor prescribes depends upon the cause of sleep problems or insomnia. Many times, an underlying cause, like a health condition or a sleep disorder, can be effectively treated to treat insomnia.

Sleeping pills work best with the behavioral changes learned by cognitive behavioral therapy. The behavioral practices include regular exercise, proper sleep schedule, lesser or no daytime naps, minimized use of caffeine, and reduced stress levels. The addition of sleeping pills to these changes help induce a better sleep routine.

Why someone has sleep trouble?

A healthy person needs an average of about 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes, a person might have trouble getting this amount of sleep. The sleep problems that require sleeping pills could be due to several factors, such as:

  • Underlying health conditions
  • Medications for pre-existing medical conditions such as decongestants for allergies and cold, beta-blockers and other high blood pressure medicines, medicines for asthma or breathing problems, corticosteroids
  • Use of too much caffeine, particularly in the night
  • Stress or depression due to life situations
  • Having a bright or noisy sleep atmosphere
  • Eating or drinking at bedtime
  • Exercising too close to bedtime
  • Sleeping non-traditional hours due to night shifts
  • Sleep-related issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, impairing breathing during sleep, restless leg syndrome producing uncomfortable sensations in the leg at night, and others.

Why people get insomnia?

Insomnia or sleep troubles are a common problem among youngsters and adults these days. Insomnia is the difficulty of initiating or maintaining sleep. About forty-eight percent of Americans have occasional sleeplessness, and about twenty-two percent have persistent insomnia every night or nearly every night.

Females are more prone to insomnia than males. Approximately they are 1.3 times more likely to have insomnia. The problem is also very common for people above 65 years of age. These individuals are 1.5 times more likely to report insomnia than younger people.

Having insomnia can have life-long health and lifestyle consequences that include depression, heart diseases, falls, and traffic accidents. So if a person experiences insomnia, it is advisable to consult a doctor and take sleeping pills to prevent adverse effects caused due to sleep problems.

Who should use sleeping pills?

A health care provider will begin sleeping pills treatment by determining the contributing factors and the duration of insomnia. A doctor may first suggest non-pharmaceutical approaches such as behavior changes or lifestyle changes. Alternatively, if these changes do not work for an individual, or in conjunction with these therapies, doctors may prescribe sleeping pills.
Health care experts prescribe sleeping pills only to those people whose sleeplessness acutely affects their health and lifestyle negatively.

People should start sleeping pills treatment with the very lowest possible dose. They should also try to take the medications for as short as possible. A doctor may advise continuing relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other healthy sleeping habits in combination with the sleeping pills.

What are some of the types of prescription sleeping pills?.

There are many brands and classes of sleeping pills. A doctor will suggest the medicines that may work best for a person based upon the cause and duration of sleep problems, as well as the type of insomnia that a person is experiencing. A health care provider also takes into consideration any other health or mental conditions that a person has or the medications they are taking.

Some most commonly used sleep medications include zolpidem tartrate, triazolam, flurazepam hydrochloride, estazolam, zaleplon, and over the counter sleep medicines such as melatonin, antihistamines, and herbal formulations.

Is there any treatment of insomnia without sleeping pills?

There are some non-pharmaceutical approaches to help reduce insomnia and improve sleeping habits. However, a complete treatment of insomnia is not possible without sleeping pills.
A person can take these measures along with sleeping pills to help reduce insomnia:

  • Avoiding nicotine or caffeine
  • Avoiding alcohol at bedtime
  • Creating a proper sleep schedule and following it each day
  • Avoiding naps
  • Not exercising before bedtime
  • Not eating large meals at dinner
  • Making a bedroom comfortable for sleep
  • Trying relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation, or reading

It is advisable for people to use sleeping pills if they have problems related to sleep or insomnia, as these conditions can get worse with time and may cause other medical conditions.

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