Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Hypnotic, or soporific drugs, generally known as sleeping pills, are medications used for inducing sleep. People who have difficulty in falling asleep take them either to initiate or extend their sleep. They serve to relieve anxiety and cause drowsiness by alteration in brain functions.
Disadvantages of Taking Sleeping Pills
There are several factors that can cause a person to lose sleep. It might be because of too much caffeine consumption, depression or even underlying health problems. And for quick relief, people take sleeping pills. More than 2 million people are on some sort of medication to have a good sleep in the US alone, but are they really the answer to your problem?
Why You Should Not Take Sleeping Pills
Even at best, sleeping pills are just band-aids. They are not the cure to your insomnia and if there’s something wrong in your medication, it might make your problems way worse than before. They can also ruin your healthy diet. So here are some demerits of taking sleeping pills that you should consider before taking them.
1. Side Effects
Most of the people feel the side effects of sleeping pills one way or another. Some of the most common side effects include dizziness, nausea, daytime drowsiness, headache, weakness, constipation, burning in various parts of the body, dry mouth and so on. The side effects can sometimes be more painful than having a good sleep at night. Struggling all day with headache and nausea just to sleep peacefully does not sound practical at all.
2. Allergic Reactions
Some people might get allergic reactions due to sleeping medication ranging anywhere from itching and vomiting to even anaphylaxis. There can be an ingredient in the drug that can initiate different allergies and can cause a great deal of pain to the consumer.
3. Drug Dependence
Once your body gets used to the drug, you will basically be unable to sleep without having them. These pills can be really addictive making it difficult to stop taking them. And if you take these pills for an extended period of time you’ll develop something known as ‘drug tolerance’.
4. Drug Tolerance
If you happen to consume these sleeping medications for over a long period of time, your body might develop tolerance against them forcing you to take a stronger dose. This will be dangerous as you’ll be prone to more side effects. You might even reach a point when you take double than a normal dose which can cause serious problems.
5. Drug Interactions
If you’re on a different medication, sleeping pills can interact with your ongoing medication and can cause different side effects. Sleeping pills might not work, you might feel the side effects harder and if your medication has sedatives, it can turn really dangerous.
6. Erratic Behavior
Erratic behaviour has been reported by many people after taking sleeping aids, including shopping and driving, without remembering what happened afterwards. This can be really dangerous if you’re doing things that need your full attention like driving.
7. Increased Cancer Risks
About six to ten per cent of Americans who take sleeping medications are more likely to develop cancer and very more likely to die prematurely than people who don’t take any sleep aids. That is more than 120,000 people in the US alone.
Alternatives to Sleeping Pills
There are many ways to deal with insomnia that does not include a specific sleeping pill. These are a few things that one can try:
- Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine as they can be stimulating especially in the evenings
- Avoiding naps throughout the day
- Avoid large meals or alcohol before going to bed
- A quiet and dark bedroom can help
- Try relaxing activities like yoga and meditation before bed
These are a few of the many things that can help your insomnia significantly. Even if it doesn’t work, you can always try another one or multiple at a time because it does not affect your body like sleep aids.
While sleeping pills can help as a temporary relief, it’s not something to use on a daily basis. The side effects are too dangerous and one should try not to consume them. People who have their sleep-deprived for a few days should not take them at any cost.
However, if you’re compelled to use safety pills then, you should always take medication as prescribed by the doctor. You should not mix sleeping pills with other sedatives or alcohol and do not use them while doing things like driving. But if you can, it is best to avoid them