Dangers Of Prescription Sleep Aids

dangers-of-prescription-sleep-aids

It’s no secret that sleep is important. However, while everyone knows they should be getting plenty of sleep, not many get the recommended amount of sleep a night. Getting plenty of sleep can help you reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health disorders. It’s recommended to get more than seven hours of sleep a night for adults, but that’s not always possible. Let’s take a look at what causes insomnia, why people look for prescription sleep aids, and if there are dangers of prescription sleep aids.

What Causes Insomnia?

To say insomnia is very common would be an understatement. Insomnia makes it difficult to fall asleep and difficult to stay asleep. Insomnia can make you feel sleepy and fatigued during the day. Suffering from insomnia doesn’t just have a negative effect on your energy and mood, but it can have a detrimental effect on your health as well. It can also have a negative effect on your mental health as well. Not getting enough sleep can also cause depression and anxiety. Now that we know how insomnia can affect your life, let’s look at some causes.

Stress is one of the major causes of insomnia. It’s not really a shocker that stress and insomnia are linked together. What’s worse about the link between stress and insomnia is it’s a vicious cycle. Stress can cause insomnia and suffering a lack of sleep can cause stress because when you don’t get enough sleep your body produces extra stress hormones. These hormones are only balanced by chemicals released during deep sleep.

Shift work is another issue that causes insomnia. Those with varying shifts at work are more likely to have trouble falling asleep. Rotating shifts from morning shifts to night shifts can cause issues for those trying to get consistent sleep. Shift work sleep disorder can cause a lack of energy, depression, and stress. Being sleepy at work, especially work that involves heavy machinery or other dangers, can be dangerous to the shift worker and others. Shift workers are more prone to seeking prescription sleep aids to help them get to bed at night.

Chronic pain is one of the worst causes of insomnia as that is something that is difficult to manage. Pain from cancer, injuries, or other diseases can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, those suffering from chronic pain are the ones most likely to seek out prescription sleep aids.

Why Do People Look For Prescription Sleep Aids?

Chronic pain is one of the reasons people talk to their doctor about prescription sleep pills. It’s a terrible cycle as sleep is when the body can rest and help battle pain, but when pain is too intense, it can cause serious insomnia.

Those who suffer from insomnia may have already tried a non-pharmaceutical approach to getting some sleep. One natural way insomnia sufferers try to help with sleep is meditation. Meditation helps slow breathing, reduces stress, and helps boost immunity. Many also try exercise, massage, and yoga, but unfortunately, even with lifestyle changes, prescription sleep aids feels like the only option after trying everything else.

One of the bigger reasons people turn to prescription sleeping pills is because over-the-counter sleep alternatives have done nothing for them. There are different over-the-counter options that people try. One of the options they use is basic melatonin supplements. While the body produces melatonin naturally, people supplement even more to try to help them battle insomnia. Unfortunately, while supplementing melatonin helps some, it’s not the solution for others.

Some even go as far as taking diphenhydramine or doxylamine, both are found in over-the-counter supplements such as Benadryl or Unisom. These are sedating antihistamines that are not good for long-term consumption. These over-the-counter options are good for when insomnia hits on occasion, but if insomnia is a chronic issue, then that’s when people turn to their doctors for prescription sleep aids but are there any pros to taking them?

There are some pros to taking prescription sleep aids for those whose bodies can handle them. They work quickly, they can work for those who are truly sleep-deprived get back into a good sleep pattern, and they prevent sleep interruptions for deeper sleep, but are there any dangers of taking prescription sleep aids?

What Are The Dangers Of Prescription Sleep Aids?

No prescription pharmaceutical goes into your body without a risk of side effects or even dangerous interactions. For some, they may experience only mild side effects such as dizziness or fatigue during the day, but others may experience dangerous, almost fatal, side effects.

Side effects such as daytime side effects or nausea can cause serious issues especially those who operate dangerous machinery or are older. Those who are older and taking sleeping pills may be prone to injury or fatal falls.

Operating heavy machinery also includes driving, which can be impaired by the effects of prescription sleep aids. Some may experience drowsiness or impairment on the level of consuming alcohol and that puts yourself or others at risk as you’re driving around a multi-ton vehicle on the road. Some individuals even exhibit abnormal behaviors such as sleep-driving which could also prove fatal.

Some may even experience an allergic reaction to taking sleeping pills. Others may have trouble breathing or develop seizures. It’s best to talk to your doctor if you experience or are at risk of these issues as they could prove fatal.

Of course, with as pharmaceutical medication, addiction and overdose is a huge risk, especially by those who don’t properly follow their dosage or increase their own dosage out of frustration. People develop an addiction because they believe their medication isn’t working for them anymore and, instead of consulting their doctor, end up trying to take more on their own without realizing the dangers of overdose. If you believe your dosage or medication is no longer working, then you should talk to your doctor about your options as taking yourself off the medication cold turkey could cause serious health complications.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from complications due to sleeping pills, it’s best to speak to a physician to talk about your options. One of the options you should talk about is a natural approach to insomnia so you can move off your reliance on sleeping pills for a healthier and natural lifestyle.

Please consult your physician before starting any sleep supplement or medication.

 

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538178/

https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/27/8/1453/2696766

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-30614-001