If you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, one of the solutions that you may be considering are sleep medications. As you know, when you are having difficulties getting a good nights sleep, for any reason, you will likely be seeking ways to help you to fall and stay asleep. But before you start to take any type of medication, there are several factors that you need to consider.
Type of sleep disorder
What kind of sleeping problems are you having? If it is short term insomnia due to stress, than an over the counter sleep aid or even just an adjustment to your sleep environment may do the trick. If you are suffering from a more complicated medical problem such as Restless Legs Syndrome or sleep apnea, than a visit to your doctor for a discussion about options, including prescription medications, may be in order. If your condition involves snoring, than there are many natural remedies that you can try. Because each of these conditions is very different in terms of their causes and treatments, its important to determine the type of sleep problem that you are having.
Considerations of Sleep Medications
Before you take any kind of sleeping pills or drugs, it is best to consider some of the possible effects. One thing to keep in mind is that sleeping medication is recommended for short periods of time and not as a long term solution to your sleeping problems. These medications can have many side effects, including worsening your sleep problems and drug dependency. You may develop a tolerance for them so that you will need to increase the dosage over time. If you have any concerns or problems, be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.
Over the Counter Medications
There are many types of sleep medications that you can purchase at your local drug store or pharmacy. Two over the counter (OTC) sleeping pill types are diphenhydramine (common brand names: Sominex, Nytol, Compoz and Sleepinal) and doxylamine (found in Unisom and Nighttime Sleep Aid). Another category of OTC sleep aid combines sleep medication with a pain reliever such as acetaminophen and/or alcohol. These are often used when sleeplessness is due to a cold or flu. Brand names include Tylenol PM, Anacin PM and NyQuil.
Melatonin is a natural supplement that is thought to promote sleep by simulating a hormone produced by the body. Look for it at your natural health food store.
There are several common side effects associated with OTC sleep medications, including drowsiness the next day, dizziness or forgetfulness, feeling clumsy or off balance, constipation, blurred vision, and having a dry mouth or throat. You also want to be careful of any drug interactions with other medications you are taking. And of course, you should never mix sleep medications with alcohol.
Prescription sleep medications
Depending on the type of sleep disorder or problems that you are having, you may be a good candidate for prescription sleep medication. There are several different types available, some focused on helping you fall asleep and others concentrated on helping you stay asleep.
One common type of prescription sleep aid is benzodiazepine sleeping medication. This category of drug is thought to have a higher risk of dependency, which is something to be aware of. Common brand names include ProSom, Restoril, Halcion, Dalmane and Doral. Non-benzodiazepine drugs seem to have fewer side effects and less risk for dependency, but still have known side effects such as drug tolerance, morning grogginess, headaches, dizziness or nausea and rebound insomnia. Brand names include Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien.
If your sleep problems are due to Restless Leg Syndrome, your doctor will likely prescribe a medication to address this issue, or recommend other treatments to help you find relief.
As you can see, there are many sleep medications available to help address your insomnia problems, but it is important to take the right type of medicine. There are also many natural sleep solutions available. Hopefully, with a little experimentation, you will find just the right solution to your sleep issues.