If you are one of the estimated 50-70 million people in this country who suffer from some form of sleep disorder, you may have considered sleep aids. You may be considering prescription-strength sleep aids or natural and herbal ones that you can get over the counter. In this article I will discuss some of the downsides and side effects to sleep aids, and ingredients that should be avoided. Sleeping pills or aids are not an end-all solution to insomnia. Medication can sometimes be a great help to people who suffer from sleep disorders, but for most people they should only be used in as-needed cases.
Sleep Aid Side Effects
The major downsides to sleep aids are the daytime side effects. Even if a sleep aid works magic for you as you are falling asleep, you may wake up groggy. Sometimes this grogginess lasts long in to the day. This grogginess can turn in to headaches and drowsiness and disrupt your daytime activities. People have experienced a wide variety of side effects with sleep aids, including muscle aches, constipation, dizziness, and rebound insomnia. It is important to keep this in mind when shopping for a sleep aid.
Other Risks With Sleep Aids
As with many medications, drug tolerance can be a frequent problem for users of sleep aid. If you’ve ver taken a sleep aid before, you know that your body soon gets used to the medication’s effects. To combat this growing tolerance, you take more of the sleep aid. This can be harmful, however, and lead to more side effects. Because your body becomes so used to the drug, when you do finally try and terminate your use, the symptoms that led you to the sleep aid in the first place may get even worse. It is worth keeping in mind that there are possible underlying issues at play, psychological or physical, that you are ignoring by taking sleep aids.
Sleep Aids To Avoid
If you are the type of person who wants to avoid any physical complications and harm from medications, you might want to avoid certain kinds of sleep aids known as sedative-hypnotics. These are very strong medications that have been known to cause lots of side effects, allergic reactions, and behavioral changes. But even some of the over-the-counter sleep aids have cause for concern. A lot of these sleep aids use an antihistamine called diphenhydramine to induce sleep. Antihistamine-based sleep aids are helpful, but their sedative effects can drag into the following day. While not a seemingly huge problem, this can be dangerous in some individuals when driving or operating machinery for instance. Other side effects from antihistamine include dizziness, forgetfulness, nausea, and blurred vision.
There are stronger alternatives that rank somewhere between over-the-counter sleep aids and the powerful sedative-hypnotics I mentioned earlier. These are called non-benzodiazepines. They have less harmful side effects, but the long-term effects are unknown and they still have some drawbacks. For instance, users of these types of sleep aids have experienced drug tolerance, depression, headaches, dizziness, and insomnia.
Should Sleep Aids Be Avoided?
Not necessarily. If you want to avoid the side effects and drawbacks that I’ve listed above, there are many natural, herbal sleep aid supplements that may help. In fact, many people report that these supplements are sufficient to fix their sleeping problems. If you do experience any interference in your cognitive ability or physical capacity, you should be careful when driving or doing other potentially dangerous activities. And if you want to try stronger sleep aid options, always consult with a doctor.