Medliorate

Improving medical students

Understanding Sleep Pills

Posted by medliorator on September 22, 2008

“Often people attribute everything bad that happens to them, including being angry and crabby, to lack of sleep,” says Donna Arand, Ph.D., clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Kettering, Ohio. “It puts such a burden on sleep that not sleeping gets blown out of proportion.”

many [OTC sleep aides] — like Nytol, Simply Sleep, Som­inex, and Unisom — contain antihistamines (similar to the allergy medicine Benadryl) that can have side effects like dry mouth and eyes and next-day grogginess, Arand says. OTC sleep aids are best for people who have occasional sleep problems.

Never drink and then immediately take a sleep aid. Why? Alcohol acts like a sedative at first, so you’d essentially be getting a double dose of sedatives. This can dangerously slow your heart rate and lead to dizziness, fainting, and shallow breathing, which can deprive your body of oxygen and damage brain cells. Worst case: You may even stop breathing altogether

Q: Can I safely take sleeping pills for several months?
A: There are no known long-term health risks with most sleep aids, but some are more addictive than others.
“The newer medications like Ambien C.R., Sonata, Rozerem, and Lunesta have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration without a limit on how long they can be prescribed,” Arand says. “They have a small addiction potential, and some have been shown to be effective up to one year.” The older sleeping pills with secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal) pose a much higher risk of addiction.

When to take a sleeping pill [CNN Health]

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