About one-third to one-half of Americans have difficulty sleeping. Sleeping pills seem like the ideal way to combat the issue; they are effective and help most people who use them. However, sleeping pills have many negative side effects that people do not tend to think about when they begin taking a pill right before bed five nights a week. Sleeping pills can make you drowsy, along with a plethora of other effects.
Common Sleeping Pill Side Effects
The side effects of sleeping pills can manifest differently in each person that takes them. Some of the most common side effects include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- A headache
- Diarrhea or nausea
- Daytime memory issues
- Allergic reactions
Sleeping pills not only cause risky side effects – there are other dangerous consequences that come from taking sleeping pills frequently.
Your Body Builds a Tolerance
If you are consistently taking sleeping pills over a long period of time, your body may develop a tolerance for the drug. Once you develop a tolerance, it will take more pills, or a higher dosage, for you to get the desired effect. Taking too many sleeping pills can have extremely damaging, sometimes fatal effects. Most doctors do not recommend taking sleeping pills for more than two weeks at a time to avoid any dependence.
Drowsy Driving is Drunk Driving
Drowsy driving is another extremely dangerous type of impaired driving. Few people realize that sleeping pills can cause drowsiness, or that this drowsiness can be just as impairing to driving ability as alcohol or other drugs. Recent research has shown that people who use Ambien are sometimes still experiencing effects of the drug the morning after taking it, especially those that are taking extended-release Ambien. People are driving while drowsy in the morning – an extremely dangerous situation that can lead to accidents and injuries. The Food and Drug Administration now requires drug producers to lower the recommended Ambien dosage. Do not take Ambien without talking to your doctor first.
Erratic Behavior – Like Withdrawals
As in other types of medications, behavior changes can be one of the possible effects of sleeping pills. The behavior changes in sleeping pills, however, usually occur while you are asleep. Certain sleeping medications can cause sleepwalking or amnesia.
Patients in hospitals who took certain sleeping drugs were about four times more likely to fall. Sleeping pills work to dull your body’s inner workings so it is easier for you to fall asleep. However, dulled functions make it more difficult to stay balanced, especially for the elderly.
Cancer or Death
Studies found people taking prescription sleeping pills to be more likely to get cancer or die. Some doctors, however, are hesitant to say that sleeping pills caused cancer. Doctors argue that there could be many other health factors that would already have left the patients more vulnerable to cancer or death. Regardless, some sleeping pills can introduce dangerous chemicals into your body. Talk to your doctor before you begin regularly taking any type of sleeping pill.
Difficulty Getting Off the Sleeping Pills
One of the biggest dangers of sleeping pills is dependence. Many people, not realizing how quickly a dependence can develop, will take sleeping pills frequently to help themselves sleep. If you take the pills long enough, it can be extremely difficult for your body to stop using them and function effectively. Some people even struggle with extreme insomnia after ceasing to take the medication, as their bodies depending on the drug to sleep soundly. If you have been taking sleeping pills for a while and want to stop, talk to your doctor to set up a schedule to safely wean yourself off the drug.