Sleep is a vital part of everyone’s life. Ensuring a good night’s rest means improved health overall. Lack of sleep can result in decreased health, increased weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and more.

It’s incredibly important to get enough sleep during the night and to ensure sleep isn’t frequently interrupted. The quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity. Sleeping aids are one of the most common treatments to help those with insomnia or other sleeping disorders.

When used properly, they can help with drifting off to sleep and getting a good night’s rest. They can also help with staying asleep throughout the night rather than waking up repeatedly. While sleeping aids can be helpful, developing unsafe habits around them is also possible.

Working with a doctor and understanding the associated risks will be crucial. If sleeping aids sound like they’d be helpful in getting more or better sleep, there are a few things you should consider.

Rebound Insomnia

One thing to consider with sleeping pills is that you may encounter rebound insomnia if you stop taking them suddenly. This is when your insomnia will come back worse than before you started taking the sleep aids.

Some side effects or concerns may come up while taking them, but it’s best to discuss with your doctor before quitting completely. In doing so, your doctor will work with you to ensure you safely stop the medication.

This will likely include weaning off of the medication by lowering the dosage and taking less and less of it over time, rather than stopping usage entirely. This way, you will be able to combat the potential rebound insomnia side effect.

If your doctor prescribed sleeping aids to you long-term, it’s likely you will go back for a follow-up visit after beginning them. You can discuss other options with your doctor if you feel they aren’t working for you. They can also change the dosage and work with you to determine what works best for your situation.

Complex Sleep Behaviors

In rare cases, sleep aids may cause people to carry out activities while not fully conscious, such as driving or operating machinery. These types of activities might happen the first time you take a sleep aid or after you’ve been taking it for a long time.

Other complex sleep behaviors are sleepwalking, sleep eating, and other activities when you’re not fully awake and conscious. These complex sleep behaviors can be extremely dangerous and even lead to death or serious injuries. When not fully conscious, it is much easier for you to injure yourself and not be aware until later.

Some ways to help avoid these behaviors are only to use the medication as prescribed by your doctor, don’t take the medication with alcohol as it can interfere with how your body responds to it, and don’t use the medication for naps. You should only be using the aids if you intend to sleep through the entire night.

If you experience any of the above behaviors, immediately stop taking the medication and inform your doctor. They will be able to help you find another medication or method to help you.

Interactions with Other Medications

Extreme care should be taken when taking sleeping aids. You shouldn’t take them and then consume alcohol, opiates, antidepressants, or antihistamines. Doing so can depress the central nervous system, leading to slower breathing and even death. Doctors will only prescribe those types of combinations when there is no other option.

Sleep aids also have additional risks for those who take other medications at the same time. They can also have risks for those with health conditions like kidney disease, liver problems, low blood pressure, and more. Women metabolize medicine slower, so they normally get a lower dosage. As such, it’s generally recommended for pregnant women to not take sleeping aids.

Additionally, older adults are more prone to accidents and injuries such as falls, so discussing with a doctor when considering a sleeping aid will be crucial. Any additional medications that are being consumed at the same time as a sleeping aid will need to be brought up with your doctor.

Alternatives to Sleeping Aids

Using a sleeping aid might seem ideal in scenarios where you’re looking to combat jet lag or acclimate to a new shift at work. However, no sleep aid is intended to be used as a long-term solution. Cognitive behavior therapy is a tool that some will use to help with improving sleep and curing insomnia rather than medicine.

You can also look at your diet and lifestyle to see if there are changes you can make that will also help. Consider avoiding large meals and alcohol before bed, cutting back on caffeine, quitting smoking, staying physically active, and being outside.

Outside of lifestyle changes, you can also make your bedroom a calming, relaxing place to sleep at night. Turn on soothing music, read a good book, or meditate before bed. Try to stick to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up on the same day, every day, even on weekends. You can even transform the actual space you’re sleeping in.

Consider black-out shades, essential oils, and better bedding to help make your room cozy. Take a look at Nolah mattress reviews to find a new mattress that will help you get better sleep throughout the entire night. By changing the area in which you’re sleeping to be one that’s a calm and cool sanctuary, you might find yourself getting better and longer sleep.

Getting the Sleep You Deserve

If you find yourself battling insomnia, especially over a long period of time, it may be time to seek medical help from your doctor. Sleeping aids can greatly improve your quality and quantity of sleep when taken properly and monitored by your doctor. Additionally, changing your lifestyle to be healthier and redoing your bedroom to be a place of rest and relaxation can drastically improve your sleep.

Ayush Bhansin

Ayush Bhansin has a degree in General Studies focusing on Interdisciplinary Sciences from Harvard University and has been a versatile contributor and analyst for 12 years. He offers a broad perspective on topics ranging from technology to lifestyle. His previous experience includes roles in market research and as a freelance journalist. He has brought his broad knowledge to various general content, providing insightful analysis and commentary. He is an emerging technology enthusiast and actively participates in various intellectual forums. He is also a classical music aficionado and enjoys exploring different culinary traditions.

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