Sleep is a necessity that should not be ignored because it is closely related to health. In order to get a good night’s sleep, some people even have to use sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are medicines with a certain content of substances that have a drowsiness and relaxing effect. People who have sleep disorders often have to use it. However, this drug cannot be used carelessly because there are risks. Here are some tips for choosing the right sleeping pills to sleep comfortably.
What Is Sleep Disorder?
According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep disorder is a term that refers to conditions that affect the quality, time, or duration of a person’s sleep and make the person unable to function properly while awake. This disorder may contribute to other health problems. It may also be a symptom of underlying mental health problems.
Sleep disorder may affect the quality and quantity of sleep and increase morbidity. Patients with sleep disorders can be divided into four categories:
- Unable to sleep
- Won’t sleep
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Frequent movement during sleep
Sleep disorder is a health problem that requires an immediate solution. The longer the sleep disorder remains unresolved, the greater the health risks the patient bears. In several studies, poor quality, quantity, and efficiency of sleep were found to be associated to a decrease in cognitive function as we aged.
Sleep Disorder Treatments without Medication
Sleep disorder is often treated with medication. But sometimes in the tips on choosing the right sleeping pills there are recommendations for the use of other ways that can be done at home. One of them is meditation to be able to sleep well without medication. A 2011 study found that meditation can cure chronic insomnia or sleep disorders associated with psychiatric problems.
Other ways are:
- Do yoga to keep stress levels down and make yourself calmer
- Exercise regularly to increase your energy and improve your mood
- Massage to relieve tension and relax the body
- Provide aromatherapy, such as lavender, for a soothing effect
- Do not use mobile phone, TV or other device for 1-2 hours before going to bed so that your eyes can rest
- Create a calm, dark, and cozy room atmosphere
- Do not consume caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol just before bedtime
Various Kinds of Sleeping Pills
There are several kinds of sleeping pills that have different functions, but all of them may help a person fall asleep. In general, sleeping pills are divided into prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Here are a few of them as quoted from the Sleep Foundation:
This medicine must be prescribed by a doctor for safe use.
Z-drug is a kind of a type of hypnotic-sedative drug that causes drowsiness effects. These drugs have the letter “Z” in their names so they are often called Z drugs. Examples include zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon.
Orexin receptor antagonist
It’s a new type of drug that helps induce sleep by affecting the sleep-wake cycle through a decrease in the production of orexin, a chemical in the brain that keeps people awake. Examples are suvorexant and lemborexant.
Melatonin receptor antagonists
This medicine increases melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin is a hormone that the body naturally produces to respond to dark surrounding conditions. Melatonin helps the body regulate circadian rhythms, which are sleep-wake cycles that repeat every 24 hours. For example, ramelteon.
This sedative-hypnotic drug functions to reduce brain activity, causing drowsiness. The drug is often called benzos. For example, temazepam, triazolam, estazolam, quazepam, and flurazepam.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression. This medicine has a sedative effect, so it can also be used as a sleeping pill.
Over-the-counter drugs are medicines sold in drugstores or pharmacies that can be purchased without a prescription. However, there are rules to follow. Examples of over-the-counter drugs that are often used to aid sleep include diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate.
When Do We Need Sleeping Pills?
Sleep disorder is a serious problem that should be consulted with a doctor. The doctor will conduct a thorough examination and advise the use of sleeping pills if necessary based on the results of such examinations. After all, sleeping pills have side effects so their use should be strictly observed. Sleeping pills may also make the user dependent so it takes anticipatory steps with the help of a doctor to prevent these side effects.
When to Change Sleeping Pills?
Sleeping pills are proven to help a person to sleep soundly and wake up refreshed the next day. But over time sleeping pills that are routinely used can decrease in effectiveness. This condition is called tachyphylaxis, which is when the body seems to become immune to the efficacy of a drug after administration in a certain amount of doses. At this time, perhaps the doctor will advise the patient to change or adjust the dose of sleeping pills when necessary.
It should be brought to mind that long-term use of sleeping pills, including constantly changing the pills, can be harmful. In a 2015 study it was found that people who used sleeping pills to cope with their sleep disorders in 13-15 years had a twice as high risk of death than those who did not take sleeping pills at all.
How to Prevent Sleeping Pills Dependence?
Sleep disorder is related to various things that may be the triggers. Sleeping pills are basically indeed useful for dealing with sleep disorders. But there is a risk of dependence that must be watched out for, especially when using sleeping pills without a doctor’s prescription. The key to preventing sleeping pills dependence is to consult a doctor to get the appropriate dosage of the drug according to the condition.
The doctor will give tips on choosing the right sleeping pills. Consultation is generally followed by an examination to identify the cause of the sleep disorder that the patient complains about. From here, the doctor can help overcome that cause so that the dose of the drug can be lowered gradually and the patient will be able to sleep soundly without medication.