Skip to main content

9 Sleeping Pill Side Affects You Should Be Aware Of


9 Sleeping Pill Side Affects

In the United States, 50 to 70 million persons suffer from sleep or wakefulness issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has even classified it as a public health issue. 1 While some people may try to get by with less sleep, ignoring the weariness, stress, and health problems that result from insufficient or unrestful sleep, sleeping tablets provide relief to many others. Unfortunately, these medicines are not a cure-all and have their own set of issues. Here's what you should know before you try to solve your sleeping problems with a prescription sleeping tablet.

How Do Sleeping Pills Function?

Prescription sleeping medications are classified into two types. Old-school benzodiazepines like lormetazepam, diazepam, temazepam, nitrazepam, or loprazolam target a range of sleep-promoting receptors in your brain. Unfortunately, they are addictive. The latest generation of sleeping pills include selective gamma-aminobutyric acid medicines, nonbenzodiazepines, or melatonin-receptor agonists that target more precise receptors than benzodiazepines. They are less addicting, but not without their drawbacks. 3 Over-the-counter sleeping aids are usually drugs like antihistamines whose primary goal is not to help someone sleep; the tiredness or sleepiness they create is an unintended side effect of the medication. They, too, have side effects.

According to a countrywide survey, about 4% of anyone aged 20 and up within the United States used a prescription sleep useful resource in the month preceding the poll. Not to mention the limitless greater who take antihistamines and other napping drugs. 5 Here's what you must appearance out for in case you're one in all of them.

Sleeping Pills' Harmful Impact

Unless your insomnia is severe and has not responded to cognitive/behavioral treatment, doctors will usually avoid prescription sleeping drugs. It is also considered a short-term remedy to help you get through a period of sleeplessness and is never indicated for long-term use due to its possibly dangerous adverse effects.

Here are some of the problems that persons who use either of these drugs may have.

1. Drowsiness during the day

Some people experience daytime drowsiness after taking sleeping medications. This can be perplexing. Decision-making and attention may become difficult. Some folks say they felt disoriented and drowsy the next day after using sleeping medications.

There is an additional risk for elderly persons who use sleeping medicines. Because it takes your body longer to break down the medicine, it stays in your system longer. You may feel a little shaky on your feet or disoriented and foggy when you wake up.

2. Nightmares and hallucinations

Medicines such as zaleplon, zopiclone, and zolpidem (commonly known as Z-drugs) are prescribed for a period of two to four weeks. Some persons may experience delusions or hallucinations as a result of them. Some users report having nightmares after using the medications.

3. Increasing Sleep Apnea

If you currently have sleep apnea, sleeping medications may exacerbate the condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which your airways get partially or completely clogged as you sleep, causing you to jolt awake when your body's oxygen levels drop. This causes a highly disturbed night's sleep, punctuated by frequent waking’s. 10 Unfortunately, sleeping drugs that you believe may help you sleep better may instead make matters worse. This effect is known to be caused by benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

4. Drug Abuse and Addiction

You may acquire drug tolerance over time, requiring bigger dosages of the sleep aid to get the same effect as previously. This higher consumption makes you more vulnerable to all of the adverse effects. You may become entirely dependent on them and find that you can't sleep if you don't take them. Prescription sleeping medications are infamous for being very addictive. When you stop taking them abruptly after taking them for a long period, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, or shaking.

Scroll to Continue

5. Muscle aches and pains

Sleep medications based on melatonin have been shown to alleviate insomnia by regulating the sleep cycle. It can, however, give you headaches or cause back or joint pain.

6. Interactions between drugs

There is some concern about the interaction of certain medicines, particularly prescription pain relievers and sleeping tablets. When used with sleeping drugs like benzodiazepines, they might cause respiratory depression, coma, or death. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration has proposed changes to drug labelling and patient information for this class of pharmaceuticals. If this is implemented, both patients and healthcare providers will be better informed about the serious risks of taking benzodiazepines with opioid drugs such as analgesics or cough medicine.

7. Increased Dementia Risk

Benzodiazepines have been related to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease type dementia. As a result, researchers believe that long-term drug use should be addressed as a public health issue. Excess risk is associated with using benzodiazepines and other comparable medicines such as anxiolytics and hypnotics for more than three months. Controlling your consumption becomes increasingly important as you become older.

8. The Risk of Death

As shocking as it may seem, recent evidence suggests that taking hypnotic medicines to deal with sleeping problems may increase your chance of death. Antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and medications such as zolpidem, temazepam, zaleplon, and eszopiclone fall under this category. In 2010, it is estimated that 6 to 10% of all American adults took hypnotic medications to address sleep disorders. Even taking fewer than 18 tablets per year can triple your risk of death. The risks of death were four or five times higher for those who used more than 18 but less than 132 tablets each year than for those who did not take any drugs. In those who took more than 132 doses each year, the medicine increased cancer risk in addition to producing a five to six-fold increase in death risk.

9. Dangers of Improper Use

If you plan to use an over-the-counter sleeping aid, such as an antihistamine, you should avoid doing anything strenuous inside or outside the house. Ideally, simply go to bed and get some shut-eye. The same is true for any sleeping drug, including those recommended to you. If you try to function normally while on a sleeping drug, you endanger yourself and others. It is risky to operate machinery, drive, or even go out after taking a sleeping tablet. You may be slow to react and lose your wits if you are disoriented and drowsy.

This is dangerous if you're driving, for example. You may also make poor decisions in minor situations such as crossing the street or handling household appliances.

Better Sleeping Without Sleeping Pills

Sleeping medications might not be what they're cracked up to be. In fact, some sleep studies suggest that they may help you sleep 8 to 20 minutes faster than if you didn't take the tablets. Overall, they may only help you sleep an extra 35 minutes on evenings when you take them. 18 So you should consider whether the medicines are truly necessary. And if not, what other alternatives do you have?

Here are some simple, all-natural sleep remedies:

Keep follow this*

  1. Set a specific bedtime and wake-up hour and schedule your day around it to guarantee you stick to it.
  2. Create and stick to a sleep routine. A warm bath, some calming music or a nice book, and a dimly lit room can all contribute to a good night's sleep.
  3. Remove all electronic devices and concentrate on resting your thoughts. A book or some peaceful music would be preferable.
  4. Avoid eating too close to bedtime.
  5. In the days leading up to night, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Avoid doing any of these for the at least 5-6 hours before going to bed.
  6. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you build habits that will allow you to sleep better, such as relaxing methods.


There are a few potential side effects of taking sleeping pills that you should be aware of. These include feeling drowsy or dizzy during the day, headaches, dry mouth, and upset stomach. If you experience any of these side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Related Articles