Hectic lifestyle, situational anxiety, and stress can cause many people to have sleepless nights. Tossing and turning in your bed, counting sheep, looking at the clock… insomnia can really make you dread your own bed.
In general, sleeping pills are categorized into two groups: prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pills.
The best type of sleeping pill depends on the individual and the cause of the sleeping disorder. For example, people suffering from insomnia may benefit from one medication, while those experiencing jet lag may find a different type of pill to be more effective.
Many OTC medicines cause drowsiness. For instance, one of the most popular kinds of sleeping pills, sedating antihistamines, can be also used to alleviate symptoms caused by allergies. But since it causes drowsiness, most people choose non-sedating antihistamines to treat allergies.
The fact that these pills calm you down and cause drowsiness is what makes them perfect for insomnia. But unfortunately, they won’t keep you asleep for a long time.
While some people have only trouble falling asleep, others find it hard to stay asleep throughout the night. If you belong to the latter category, consider taking hypnotics. Hypnotic drugs are sleeping pills you can get only with a doctor’s prescription. The most common ones are zopiclone, zolpidem, eszopiclone, and ramelteon. These are very effective, but be careful because they can cause some really unpleasant side effects like headaches, nausea, muscle pains, etc.
Because of this, doctors tend to prescribe hypnotic drugs only for patients that have suffered from insomnia for a very long time and are at risk of developing serious health problems as a result.
Melatonin is also a popular category of sleeping pills. It is actually a synthetic version of the hormone melatonin found in the human body which plays a role in regulating our natural circadian rhythm. Melatonin is especially efficient in people suffering from insomnia caused by jet lag and those coping with shift work.
Insomnia can be caused by a number of different triggers and health problems like tinnitus and chronic pain.
Certain medications, like decongestants and beta-blockers, can also disrupt your sleep.
Mental health issues can have a negative effect on sleep quality as well. Suffering from anxiety, depression, or chronic stress often prevents people from getting a good night’s sleep.
In some cases, insomnia is triggered by day-to-day problems or lifestyle habits and you might be able to help yourself without taking sleeping pills. For instance, consuming too much coffee or other drinks that contain caffeine can disrupt your sleep patterns. Eating and drinking just before going to bed can have the same effect.
Try to detect the triggers that cause you to lose sleep and eliminate them. Stop drinking coffee after 5 pm and arrange your meal schedule in accordance with your planned bedtime.
Attempting to sleep in a room that is too noisy or bright can also cause insomnia. That’s why you should make sure your bedroom is clean, calm, and free of electronic devices.
By avoiding nicotine and alcohol, exercising, and practicing good sleep hygiene, you can improve your sleep cycle and prevent insomnia.
If lifestyle adjustments don’t work and you decide to get a doctor’s prescription for sleeping pills, make sure to follow the package instructions, as well as relevant guidelines and advice. Avoid using sleeping pills for a longer period of time because it can make insomnia worse, especially if you stop taking the pills.