The short: Always ask your doctor. Most sleep drugs have various side-effects, while non-drug therapies can treat specific underlying conditions causing your difficulty with sleep.
For those who have difficulty waking up feeling well-rested, PAQ has developed the most natural solution to help you get better sleep quality with minimal disruption.
Insomnia is one of the largest sleeping disorders that affect over 30% of adults in the US alone. A common treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders are sleeping pills. A quick and easy solution for difficulty sleeping: but what are the effects? How long should you take sleeping pills? Do you need them?
What do sleeping pills do?
Sleeping pills are sleep-inducing medications that help promote or extend sleep. They are typically sedatives or hypnotics, and come in different forms.
Most over-the-counter sleep pills are sedatives, or sedating antihistamines, which can be used by people who have difficulty falling asleep. They’re known to cause drowsiness, but are generally safe to take.
Prescription sleeping pills have stronger effects, and are recommended for those with more complex sleep disorders or sleep issues. There are risks and benefits to prescription sleep pills, so it’s important to make sure you and your doctor have a discussion to find the best medication for you:
- Discuss your sleep patterns
- Order tests for underlying conditions that might be causing your sleep issues
- Discuss your options- including alternatives
- If you do get a prescription, use it for a limited period of time to see if there are side-effects. Talk to your doctor
Should I take sleeping pills?
For people with difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, or with sleep disorders like insomnia, sleeping pills can be an effective short-term solution. Though sleeping pills can temporarily provide rest for sleepless nights, they don’t directly treat insomnia or other underlying conditions. Some situations where you might use sleeping pills include:
Underlying health problems
That being said, do you need sleeping pills? Ask your doctor to see if sleeping pills are right for you. They’ll typically start you at the lowest dose while also advising other sleep techniques and habits to treat you.
Are there side effects to using sleeping pills?
Again, it will depend on the individual and their treatment needs.
Sleeping pills are a short term treatment that will not directly treat insomnia or other sleep-related conditions you may have. There aren’t major concerns with long-term use, but taking them for extended periods of time can lead to various long-term health effects like:
Nausea or vomiting
Impaired coordination or motor skills
Grogginess during the day
A 2018 study found that hypnotic drugs like sleeping pills aren’t linked to any increased benefit in daytime performance, and the study concludes with recommending other therapies like bright light treatment and cognitive behavioral treatment for more effective ways to treat insomnia.
Regardless of what’s causing you to have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or just feeling well-rested, a professional can help identify the cause of your sleep-condition. Then you can identify proper treatment- whether it be sleeping pills or non-drug therapy.
Feeling exhausted in the morning
One of the major side effects of insomnia is waking up still feeling tired. Without getting sufficient sleep, your body isn’t able to restore energy to function well. Long-term sleep deprivation can impair your cognitive performance and ability, as well as your mood and energy levels. Feeling drowsy can even increase the risk of causing car accidents!
Over time it can also harm your body, increasing your risk of cardiovascular morbidity, diabetes, obesity. These are potential long-term health complications that are also attributed to long-term lack of sleep.
Sleep inertia or morning grogginess is something many people suffer from. It makes us foggy, affects our memory and performance, and can make us feel disorientated. It affects us when we wake up, but the consequences can linger.
How we wake up influences our recovery and energy that we get from sleep. It’s important to try to get enough sleep, or at least try to take care of how we’re waking up to feel the most well-rested we can.
Read more: Do I Have A Sleep Debt?
Natural sleep aids: melatonin
Have you heard of melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that naturally plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle. It regulates your circadian rhythm. At night, melatonin levels in your blood are high, which is what helps promote sleep.
A study found that those who took melatonin felt improved sleep quality and increased their total sleep time.
Your body produces melatonin naturally, but you can try supplements to help with short-term situations, such as if you’re experiencing jet lag, sleep deprivation, or insomnia.
Should I still try sleeping pills, or are there other options?
There are many ways to get better sleep health, and you should find the best method for you. Non-drug therapies have limited side effects and work well for specific conditions. We recommend getting a test done first with a professional and explore your options from there.
Medical News Today cites practicing healthy sleep hygiene, exercise, and avoiding stimulants like nicotine or caffeine as more natural sleep solutions to improve your sleep health.
The main takeaway is that there are many treatments available, and sleeping pills are not the only solution. While they temporarily help with sleepless nights, it’s recommended to talk to your health care professional about finding the right treatment for your underlying sleep needs.
For more information about natural sleep solutions, these are some suggestions.
Better sleep tech for better sleep
If you do have difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep, it’s also difficult to wake up feeling well-rested at all.
PAQ built the most natural way you can try to recalibrate your body’s cycle when you wake up. VibeRise is an advanced smart alarm that is 100% silent and gently wakes you from deep sleep. Instead of abruptly jolting you from sleep like loud alarms, you can
Note: We are not health professionals, but sleep specialists & research advocates for healthy sleeping behaviors.
For more info on things related to sleep, check out our other blogs.