If you are someone who relies on sleeping pills to get a good night’s rest, you may be wondering how to kick the habit. Sleeping pills can be effective in the short term, but they can also cause unwanted side effects and become addictive if used for an extended period. Sleeping pills are medicines that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleeping pills may help people with sleep disorders like insomnia. They can also help people who often wake up during the night, like insomniacs or shift workers.
Effectiveness of sleeping pills
The most effective way to fall asleep and stay asleep is to sleep in a quiet, comfortable space, with no distractions. If you have ever tried to sleep while at work or in a noisy environment, you know that it can be difficult. Sleepless nights are part of life. Sometimes you just cannot sleep. But there are things you can do to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer, like taking a supplement that helps your body produce melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythm). This supplement should help you fall asleep right away. Taking a sleeping pill can help you fall asleep right away and stay asleep through the night. Also, many people are not satisfied with the results they get from sleeping pills because they do not feel tired when they take them.
What are the types of over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills?
OTCs (Over counter) sleep medications include antihistamines like diphenhydramine and loratadine. This drug treats allergies, but it can also make you drowsy. Some people take melatonin or valerian supplements to help them fall asleep. They contain naturally occurring substances that help promote sleep, like chemicals called tryptophan, 5-HTP, and L-tryptophan. Although these products are easily accessible at grocery stores and pharmacies, you should check with your doctor before taking any OTC sleep aid. They can interfere with other medications or make health conditions worse.
What are the potential side effects of sleeping pills?
Over-the-counter and prescription, sleeping pills can cause the following side effects: constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, and headaches. Because of these side effects, you may be less likely to stay asleep longer than usual when taking sleep medicine. It is important for you to take your medication as prescribed to prevent serious medical problems. Dependence on sleeping pills can take a toll on your body. If you have been taking sleep aids for a long time, talk to your doctor about how to stop safely. For example, it may take months for the effects of withdrawal from a sedative to wear off.
Dependence on sleeping pills
First, it is important to understand why you may be using sleeping pills in the first place. For many people, sleeping pills are used to cope with chronic insomnia, which is defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep at least three nights per week for at least three months. Insomnia can be caused by various factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other medical conditions. If you are using sleeping pills to cope with insomnia, it is important to address the underlying cause of your sleep problems to break the sleeping pill habit.
Benzodiazepines, also known as BZDs or tricyclic antihistamines, are used to treat both epilepsy and high blood pressure. These powerful drugs can do a lot of good when they are prescribed in the right doses. But there is a problem: People who take benzodiazepines for too long or in too high a dose can easily become dependent. That is why it is important to take as low a dosage for as short a time as possible. It is not possible to say at what stage their use becomes a problem – it varies from person to person. But people might become dependent after only a few weeks. But it is quite common for these drugs to be taken for several months or even on a permanent basis.
Symptoms of Sleeping Pill Addiction
You are steadily increasing your dosage – According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), benzodiazepines are highly addictive drugs. Over time, the amount of drug you are prescribed stops working and you need more to get the same effect, or at least you might think that is what is happening. A 2019 article in the British Journal of General Practice points out that benzodiazepines are known to be highly addictive. With newer Z-drugs, psychological dependence may be more common than physical dependence.
You have taken sleep aids for months or years and cannot quit – Chronic use of sleeping pills at any dose should not be taken for long periods of time. High doses will result in withdrawal symptoms, so even if you think you are off the pills, discontinue use immediately if you experience any symptoms of withdrawal. Sleep Aid Addiction is also characterized by a need to take the drug repeatedly to get relief from its effects (once-daily drugs do not fit this category)
You look for new doctors to write you a prescription – The research shows they find the best deals, which are often less expensive than what is listed online. Of course, it is possible to buy those medications online and have them delivered right to your door – but there are fees and shipping involved, too.
You start blowing off social and professional obligations – Not feeling well after you stop taking the sleeping medication? It is a very real possibility. Sleeping pills and other benzodiazepines can have an addictive quality to them that turns people away from other habits and addictions. And when you do not feel good, you may want to take some of that back with you.
How to get help
If you need help falling asleep, there are a few things you can do. If your doctor has recommended medication that helps you sleep, but you have been taking it for a long time, taper off slowly to minimize withdrawal symptoms. It may help to read up on the psychological and physical aspects of sleep disorders, which can also make falling asleep harder. Certain types of therapy can also help you sleep without meds. Of course, you should sleep at least seven hours every night, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). But if you are finding it hard to get quality sleep at night, do not worry. Many Americans struggle with getting quality sleep every so often, and there are several ways to get better rest.
Ways to abandon sleeping pills
One way to do this is to practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote healthy sleep. Some tips for good sleep hygiene include:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed. These substances can interfere with sleep.
- Relax before bedtime. Try to wind down and release tension with activities like reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath.
- Avoid screens before bed. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with melatonin production, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
In addition to practicing good sleep hygiene, you may also want to try some natural remedies for insomnia. Some people find that certain herbs and supplements can help them sleep better. For example, valerian root and melatonin are both popular supplements that are said to promote sleep. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, as they can interact with certain medications and may not be safe for everyone.
Another option is to try cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I is a type of therapy that helps people change their thoughts and behaviors related to sleep. The goal of CBT-I is to help people develop healthy sleep habits and overcome insomnia without relying on sleeping pills. CBT-I typically involves a combination of education, relaxation techniques, and strategies for changing thoughts and behaviors related to sleep.
If you are having trouble breaking the sleeping pill habit on your own, it may be helpful to seek support from a healthcare provider or a sleep specialist. A healthcare provider can evaluate your sleep habits and recommend a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. They may also be able to help you gradually taper off sleeping pills in a safe and effective way.
In conclusion, if you are using sleeping pills to get a good night’s rest, it is important to consider the potential risks and side effects. By practicing good sleep hygiene, trying natural remedies, and seeking help from a healthcare provider or sleep specialist, you can break the sleeping pill habit and get the restful sleep you need without medication.
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